Planning a trip to Europe for their summer months? Add one of these must-see museums to your itinerary.
is in Amsterdam's Museum Square and is one of the most beautiful museum buildings in the world. More than 200 years old, it was originally founded in The Hague and hosts a great variety of Dutch and international masterpieces, including Rembrandt's
. There's much to see here, with 8000 objects of art and history on display, from a total collection of 1 million objects from the years 1200 to 2000. It also includes a small Asian collection, on display in a separate pavilion. The museum's location means you can easily walk to the nearby Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Concertgebouw.
THE STATE HERMITAGE MUSEUM
St Petersburg, Russia
One of the most influential art museums in the world, The Hermitage Museum is a historic landmark that no traveller should miss when visiting St Petersburg. Once the imperial Winter Palace, the museum occupies six buildings on the banks of the Bolshay Neva River, so you'll need a full day to see it all. Its collections consist of more than three million items, with only a small part on permanent display — and it holds the largest collection of paintings in the world. You'll be able to see important items from Greek and Roman antiquity, archaeological artefacts of Eastern Europe and Siberia, European fine art from the 17th to 20th centuries, ancient Egyptian artefacts and much more. Entry is free for children.
THE BRITISH MUSEUM
Dedicated to documenting the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present, the permanent collection of the British Museum numbers some 8 million works — putting it among the largest most comprehensive in existence. Containing objects and artefacts from all continents, a full day can easily be spent within its walls. While museums can be a bit boring for the younger members of the family, the British Museum's famous collection of Egyptian mummies is sure to cast a spell on them. There are also activity backpacks and age-appropriate audio guides on offer. And best of all, entry is free for everyone.
MUSEUM OF BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS
For a museum experience that truly breaks the mould, Croatia's Museum of Broken Relationships is one of the more unique offerings in Europe. Its collection can be traced to a real-life breakup between the co-founders of the museum, Olinka Vistica and Drazen Grubisic, in 2006. After the couple broke up, they weren't sure what to do with a special wind-up toy they'd acquired together — and the idea for the museum was born. It now accepts submissions from all over the world, with objects ranging from mobile phones and clothing, to more unusual items like a prosthetic limb and a parachute rig — all of which once held special meaning in a relationship. This one is a good museum to visit if you're recovering from a breakup ... it will hopefully bring a smile back to your face. Or at least let you have a good cry with no judgment.
CITE DES SCIENCES ET DE L'INDUSTRIE
The biggest science museum in Europe, the ultra-modern Cite des Sciences et de l'Industrie is also one of the most kid-friendly museums in Paris. Featuring a large playground to keep them entertained, there's also an Imax theatre in a huge silver globe, a submarine they can climb into and a planetarium. The exhibits are all highly interactive and based around 11 themes: Light, Sound, Maths, Genetics, Image, the Ocean, Space Exploration, Transportation, Energy, Rocks and Volcanoes, Stars and Galaxies. The lower levels of the museum are aimed at younger kids, aged 2 to 7, with more than 100 activities to try out. It's also known for accessibility and entry is free for people with disabilities and accompanying visitors.
Immerse yourself in Viking culture at Denmark's national museum, which tells the story of how the Vikings navigated ships across vast oceans, at a time when most people believed the Earth was flat. The Nationalmuseet gets first claim on just about every antiquity discovered in Denmark, with objects including Stone Age tools, Viking weapons, rune stones and medieval jewellery. Its star piece is a 3500-year-old Sun Chariot, discovered in a bog in the early 20th century. But its collections are not limited to Danish history — it also includes classical and near-eastern antiquities and other items from around the world. And a new exhibit, Cosplayer! — Manga Youth, explores the growth of Japanese popular culture in Denmark.