Exciting European Exhibitions Worth Travelling For in 2024

Which are the best European Art Exhibitions 2024?  Is a question I am often asked so here are my Exhibitions worth Travelling for in 2024.

Graphic showing words Exhibitions Worth Travelling For

Cultural Wednesday’s Pick of Exhibitions Worth Travelling For in 2024

2024 is a Venice Biennale year. 250 years since Casper David Friedrich was born and 75 years since James Ensor died are being marked in Germany and Belgium with a whole slew of exhibitions. When going away for a weekend I prefer not to get on a plane, so most of the destinations here are accessible in a few hours by train or car. 

Austria

The Cultural Wednesday family headed off to Austria on our holidays this year. So many fabulous museums and galleries.

Chagall at the Albertina, Vienna

In my dreams, my dreams would be like a Chagall painting.  Horses, people, flowers would float by all in glorious, harmonious colour.  Vienna is always enticing but an exhibition devoted to Chagall makes a an autumn weekend sound very tempting.

Belgium

Pick almost any Belgian city at random and you will probably find that it has an abundance of interesting art and architecture to keep you busy for a weekend.  Bruges is the Flanders city that springs to mind but take a look at Ghent and Antwerp too.

Beaufort 2024

Once every three years the Belgian coast stages Beaufort, A Triennial by the Sea featuring sculpture along the entire length of the Belgian Coast. 2024 will see the existing 42 sculptures joined by 18 more. You can explore by walking, cycling or tram (you can by car but the others are more fun). All free!

  • Beaufort 24
  • Open: March 27 – November 3 2024
  • Admission: free
  • Getting there: Eurostar to Brussels, change platform, to Gent, change to Ostend

Self Portraits at the James Ensor at James Ensor House, Ostend

James Ensor, the Surrealist and Expressionist painter, lived and worked in Ostend, you can visit his house which is the perfect place for an exhibition of his self portraits. 

  • James Ensor House
  • 21 March – 16 June 2024
  • Admission: €13
  • Getting there: Eurostar to Brussels, change platform, to Gent, change to Ostend

In Your Wildest Dreams- Ensor Beyond Impressionism at KMSKA Antwerp

It is 75 years since Ensor died to mark the occasion the Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp is staging an Ensor blockbuster.  In Your Wildest Dreams will show Ensor how started in the Impressionist era, took all those artistic tools and then created completely different work.

  • Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, KMSKA
  • Open: 28 September 2024 – 18 January 2025
  • Admission: €20
  • Getting there: Eurostar to Brussels and then 30 minutes on a local train to Antwerp

James Ensor’s Search for Light at Plantin-Moretus Museum, Antwerp

UNESCO world heritage site, industrial history, domestic interiors and leather wall paper, just a few of reasons why the Plantin-Moretus is one of my favourite museums in the world. Visiting will be just that bit more exciting in Autumn 2024 with an exhibiton looking at how Ensor made his prints and where he found his inspiration. 

  •  Plantin-Moretus Museum
  • Open: 28 September 2024 – 5 January 2025
  • Admission: €12
  • Getting there: Eurostar to Brussels, change platform for local train to Antwerp.

France 

Paris 1874 Inventing Impressionism at Musee D’Orsay

On 15 April 1874 Monet, Renoir, Degas, Morisot, Pissarro, Sisley and Cézanne put on an exhibition that changed the art world. Impressionism was invented. To celebrate the Musee D’Orsay has 130 works and what it promises to be a fresh eye on the ever popular Impressionists.

  • Musee D’Orsay
  • 26 March – 14 July 2024
  • Open:Tuesday – Sunday 9.30 am – 6pm (9.45 pm on Thursday)
  • Admission: €16
  • Getting there: Eurostar Paris to London takes just over two hours

Normandy Impressionist Festival

Normandy is styling itself as the place where Impressionism was invented this summer, certainly many of the Impressionist artists lived and worked there. Exhibitions, footsteps to follow in, concerts, lightships, street art and many other things are planned.

  • Normandy Impressionist Festival
  • 22 March – 22 September
  • Getting there: our chosen route to Normandy is by ferry either to Caen, Dieppe, Cherbourg or Dieppe depending on where you are starting your journey and where you want to end up.

Germany

Germany is celebrating the 250th anniversary of Caspar David Freidrich in 2024. He is one of the big beasts of the German Romantic Movement along with Goethe, Beethoven, Brahms and Wagner. I’m hoping to persuade MR CW that this year is the perfect year to visit Rugen on Baltic coast near where CDF was born and a place he visited many times.  Big exhibitions will be taking place in Hamburg, Berlin, Dresden and Griefwswald. 

Caspar David Friedrich. Art for a New Age at the Hamburg Kunsthalle

Blockbuster to kick off a year of celebratations.  50 works looking at the relationship between nature and humans. Ending with the work of 20 modern artists reacting to the same themes that inspired CDF.

  • Hamburg Kunsthalle, Glockengiesserwall 5, Hamburg
  • Open: until 1 April 2024
  • Admission: €16, booking essential
  • How to Get There: You can leave London at breakfast and be in Hamburg in time from tea changing trains at Brussels and Cologne.

Caspar David Freidrich Infinite Landscapes at the Alte Nationalgalerie Berlin

60 paintings and 50 drawings.  A visit to the Museum Island in Berlin is always a favourite of mine and the promise of a feast of Caspar David Freidrich just makes it even more tempting. Expect lots of huge awe inspiring landscapes.

Greifswald

Caspar David Freidrich was born in Griefswald up in the far north of Germany, so far north that it was in fact Sweden at the time of his birth.  He returned to the area often and his paintings of the island of Rugen are among his most famous.  Griefswald is celebrating its son with three exhibitions, numerous organised walking and painting tours enabling you to try your hand at capturing the same landscapes and a self guided Romantic walking tour. 

Caspar David Friedrich. Lifelines. A Walk in Drawings & Paintings 28 April – 4 August 2024
Caspar David Friedrich. Places of Longing. Chalk Cliffs on Rügen & Greifswald Harbour 18 August – 6 October 2024
Caspar David Friedrich. Hometown. Meadows near Greifswald & Greifswald Harbour 16 October 2024 – 5 January 2025

All three exhibitions will draw on the extensive Caspar David Freidrich collection that the Pomeranian museum have. They will take you on a walk via his drawings, glory in the cliffs of Rugen and meander in the meadows around Greifswald.

  • Pomeranian State Museum, Rakower Strasse 9, Greifswald
  • Open: Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm
  • Admission: €8
  • Getting there: Trains from Berlin take about 2¾ hours

Caspar David Friedrich. Where it all started at the Albertinium in Dresden

Caspar David Freidrich lived and worked in Dresden for more than 40 years.  It was here that he learnt his craft and produced many of his most famous paintings.

  • Albertinium, Tzschirnerplatz 2, Dresden
  • Open: 24 August 2024 – 5 January 2025
  • Admission: €12 included in museum entry
  • Getting there: trains from Berlin take 1¾ hours or from London via Paris on a sleeper leave at lunch time arrive for breakfast

Italy

Venice Biennale 2024

Once every two years the art world descends on Venice for the Biennale, 2024 is the 60th edition. There will be 88 national pavilions and another 30 exhibitions around the city. Most of the action is either in the Arsenale or in Giardina

  • Venice Biennale
  • Open: 20 April – 24 November 2024
  • Admission: €30 per day, you can also get three day and weekly tickets

The Netherlands

Fun Fact: The Netherlands has a higher density of museums than any other country. Here are the Dutch shows that I would most like to see this year


Frans Hals at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Visiting this Frans Hals exhibition is like attending the very best party. Every one smiles, not just with teeth but with their eyes. You feel like every single person painted by Frans Hals (and he only painted people, not things or places) would make excellent company. If you missed this blockbuster at the National Gallery in London last year, then grab the chance and visit in Amsterdam this year. Even if you did see it, there are paintings in Amsterdam that didn’t make the journey to London. Even better you can hop on a train to Haarlem to visit the Frans Hals Museum in the city where he lived.

  • Rijksmuseum
  • Open: 16 February – 9 June 2024
  • Admission: Adult €22.50
  • Getting there: Eurostar to Amsterdam, trains to Haarlem take 15 minutes from Centraal station

Joan Miró Sculptures at Museum Beelden aan Zee, The Hague

I have long been an admirer of Joan Miró’s paintings but was not really aware of his sculptures until Mr CW and I visited the Joan Miró Fondation in Mallorca last Spring.  As the title implies, they will be the focus of Joan Miró Sculptures at the Museum Beelden aan Zee right on seafront at Scheveningen.

Fresh Air: Northern Impressionism at the Singer Laren

Summer Evening on Skagen’s Southern Beach by Peder Severin Krøyer is one of my all time favourite paintings.  In my head this is what I look like when I stroll by the tide line.  Summer Evening is making the journey from Skagen in Sweden to Laren, just to the east of Amsterdam, to take part in Fresh Air: Northern Impressionism.   Expect lots of light filled, blue tones works by Dutch, German and Danish artists.

Contains affiliate links, if you buy some ferry tickets the cost will be the same to you but I may get a small payment.

If you are in London check out Cultural Wednesday’s Best London Exhibitions. For more travel dreaming check out my ideas for UK Cultural Travel Destinations

Best Itinerary to Rome for first time visitors

Best Itinerary to Rome for first time visitors View Post

Roman Room with a View

Roman Room with a View View Post

Substack sign up