In other countries, museums have started to reopen. In Germany, many smaller museums re-opened over a week ago. In Belgium, many museums welcome visitors again – though not all museums are reopening this week. In the Netherlands, museums will reopen at the beginning of June.

However: most museums are reopening for locals. For there are still (international) travel restrictions in place.

Most of you may have heard it already: to visit a Dutch museum one needs to book tickets in advance, through museum websites. So you reserve your date and time-slot and if sold out: nothing to be done about this.

I tried the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum website on 19th May. No joy – museum closed, with no information on booking online tickets. Amsterdam van Gogh Museum? Same problem; though this museum website states visitors who booked tickets for a visit during the Dutch lock-down (13th March – 1st June ) can contact the museum for a refund.

Being disappointed by two large, major Amsterdam museums, I did not bother trying any other Dutch museum website. Perhaps one needs to try an advance booking closer to the reopening date? Perhaps fans can not possibly know they want to visit say, 6 weeks from today?

Most Dutch museums offered disinfectants, hand-gels, liquid soaps to visitors before lock-down? At the moment, it is unclear if this will be the case again. Most Belgian museums explicitly mention online, they offer disinfectants to visitors – free of charge.

In Germany and Belgium, museum visitors have to wear face masks? It is not clear yet, if this will be the case for visits to Dutch museums, but I wouldn’t be surprised. If unlike me, you have not made your own stash by now, masks are on sale at several shops. Before using an approved pattern to make my stash of non-medical face masks, I had a look at what’s on offer online? A local shop where I bought a few ready-made masks, was way cheaper. 

In Germany, museums mention they offer “… no guided tours, and no audio guides; instead, visitors can download an info app on their own mobile phones.” In Belgium, Antwerp’s Rubenshuis explains online, visitors who have no smartphone will get ” … a visitor’s guide at the museum. It has not been used by previous visitors and will not be reused when you are finished with it.”

Plenty of Dutch museums offered downloadable apps well before COVID19 struck. This likely won’t change when these museums reopen. So check if the museum you want to visit metions a downloadable visitor-app. No smartphone: do not bank on Dutch museums offering you audio-tours or guides, while COVID19 is still around.

By now, you should be familiar with social distancing. So of course, you will also social distance while visiting museums and exhibitions. Brussels’ Jewish museum states some smaller rooms may have a maximum number of visitors. Staff will instruct visitors to wait.

This will likely also be the case in Dutch museums; especially the ones located in period buildings. A few Dutch museum directors already told press, that smaller spaces in their museums will remain closed for the time being.

Antwerp’s Plantin-Moretus museum lists its visitor-instructions on its website: stick to the route and heed staff’s instructions. At this museum, touchscreens are unavailable. In some German museums touchscreens remain available, but are regularly cleaned. Likely each Dutch museum will decide what is best in your interest.

Belgian museums also mention on their websites they do not accept any form of cash, advise to limit use of lockers and … allow staff plenty room and time to clean banisters, doors and other surfaces. In Germany, a few museums mention a maximum number of visitors (30) and per floor (15). This will likely also be the case in many Dutch museums.

Not discouraged and looking forward to visit a Dutch museum in June? Museums in Belgium and Germany often have a separate link to their COVID19 visitors-information. The Dutch museum websites I visited, did not have this yet.

Best advise: like me, check your favourite museums’ websites regularly, to see when they offer advanced bookings, check their COVID19 rules and … be fast … As with shops, hair-dressers and all the other venues reopening: there may be a rush during the first weeks.  Kate   19th May 2020