Dutch museums expand online content during coronavirus shutdown

Axel Ruger, Ella Hendriks and Rene Boitelle with Vincent van Gogh's Sunflowers (1889) at the Van Gogh Museum's conservation studio
Axel Ruger, Ella Hendriks and Rene Boitelle with Vincent van Gogh's Sunflowers (1889) at the Van Gogh Museum's conservation studioPhoto: Van Gogh Museum

Museums all around the Netherlands have begun offering content online to give patrons a taste of culture while facilities remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Several others have added a variety of children's content to entertain and educate young students forced to stay at home while their schoolhouse doors stay shut.

The Rijksmuseum van Oudheden and Museum de Lakenhal in Leiden and the Dordrechts Museum have the option to do a virtual tour through the museums on their websites. The Stedelijk Museum of Alkmaar has followed a similar idea, with a virtual audio tour available on their Facebook page.

Many museums have attempted to make content available for children after it was announced that all the schools will be closed for the time being, with Amsterdam's Nemo science museum and the railway-focused Spoorwegmuseum in Utrecht putting experiments online for children to try at home.

The famous Van Gogh Museum also has downloadable colouring sheets, along with school lessons to be followed at home and extra podcasts. The Hague's excellent Mauritshuis has a quiz online about the 17th century. Games for kids are available on the sites of Geofort and the Museumkids. 

Some museums had new temporary exhibitions which launched just before the closure, like the "Miracles All Around Us" exhibit investigating the depiction of mirales in artwork at the Museum Catharijneconvent in Utrecht. Those interested can call a special hotline set up by the museum to hear "a miracle tale" as a preview of the exhibit.

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