With declining infection numbers, European museums are reawakening after a months-long slumber brought on by the global COVID-19 crisis. In mid-May, The New York Times outlined the early efforts of German cultural institutions to reopen, and the cautions put in place to ensure visitor safety. What does the ‘new’ museum experience look like? To visit one of the numerous destinations in Amsterdam these days, for example, you need to make an appointment ahead of time. The use of masks, disinfecting stations, and social distancing are part of the entry agreement pretty much everywhere. Some institutions are taking more careful measures, like the implementation of guided pathways, temperature screenings and request of travel and health declarations. Yet all certainly are a small price to pay for public safety – considering the heavy foot traffic the world’s most popular museums can attract – and the opportunity to be back in exhibition spaces. ‘I think the joy that people will get from being back in the museum will be bigger than the inconvenience,’ Berlinische Galerie director Thomas Köhler astutely told the Times.

From Helsinki to Singapore, here are institutions with design-focused exhibitions that have reopened their doors to the public. At long last.


Header: Verner Panton, Fantasy Landscape, Visiona 2, 1970, partial reconstruction, Vitra Design Museum, 2000. Photo: Ludger Paffrath, courtesy of Vitra Design Museum and Verner Panton Design AG, Basel | Above photo: Ludger Paffrath, courtesy of Vitra Design Museum

VITRA DESIGN MUSEUM in Weil am Rhein, Germany

Home Stories – 100 Year, 20 Visionary Interiors

8 February 2020 – 28 February 2021

Reopened on 11 May 2020



The Woman and the Blacksmith by Le Corbusier, 1967. Manufacture de Beauvais 217 x 362 cm, wool. Collection Mobilier national. Photo: Isabelle Bideau, courtesy of Fondation Le Corbusier, c/o Pictoright Amsterdam 2019

KUNSTHAL in Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Extra Large – Tapestries from Picasso and Le Corbusier to Louise Bourgeois

28 March 2020 – 3 January 2021

Reopened on 1 June 2020



Photo: Courtesy of Red Dot Design Museum

RED DOT DESIGN MUSEUM in Singapore, Singapore


Until September 2020

Reopened on 1 June 2020



Photo: Courtesy of Stedelijk Museum

STEDELIJK MUSEUM in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Nam June Paik – The Future is Now

14 March 2020 – 23 August 2020

Reopened on 1 June 2020



Photo: Culturespaces / E. Spiller


Yves Klein: Infinity Blue

28 February 2020 – 3 January 2021

Reopened on 26 May 2020



Photo: Courtesy of Design Museum Ghent

DESIGN MUSEUM in Ghent, Belgium

Kleureyck – Van Eyck’s Colours in Design

13 March – 21 February 2021

Reopened on 17 May 2020



Not pictured:

DESIGN MUSEUM in Helsinki, Finland

Travel as a Tool

1 June 2020 – 7 March 2021

Reopened on 1 June 2020