Sonri Naidoo
4 minute read
7 Nov 2020
12:20 pm

European museums take a hit as visitors numbers down due to virus

Sonri Naidoo

Almost all European museums are suffering from visitor losses, but their ability to cope depends almost entirely on how they are funded.

The Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany, with people in front of the museum. It started in 1976 after the chocolate magnate Peter Ludwig endowed 350 modern artworks. Picture: iStock

Visitors to the Rijks museum’s vast, vaulted galleries of Dutch old master paintings can feel as if they’ve got the whole place to themselves these days. Before the pandemic, around 10 000 people used to crowd in each day. Now, it’s about 800. In theory, even with strict social distancing guidelines – visitors must book ahead, wear a mask, follow a set path and stay at least two meters apart – the Dutch national museum could accommodate as many as 2 500 people a day. But the public isn’t exactly jostling for those limited tickets. Across town, the Hermitage Amsterdam...