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Swiss museums can reopen from 1 March as country eases lockdown restrictions

Fondation Beyeler will shows Arp and Rodin while Kunstmuseum Bern has a show on Latin American political art

Fondation Beyeler in Basel is celebrating its reopening by offering visitors free admission on the first two days of March Photo: Mark Niedermann. Courtesy of Fondation Beyeler

Swiss museums are permitted to reopen from 1 March in a cautious easing of the second pandemic lockdown imposed in mid-January, as the country’s rate of new infections continues to decline gradually.

The reopening of museums, shops, zoos, botanical gardens and sports facilities is the first stage in a gradual loosening of restrictions approved by the government this month. Bars and restaurants remain closed and indoor private gatherings are limited to five people.

“We are delighted that we can finally be there for our visitors again,” Nina Zimmer, the director of the Bern Museum of Fine Arts says in a statement. The museum will show Tools for Utopia (until 21 March), an exhibition examining how art is a tool for cultural, social and political change in Latin America. The show was installed just days before the Canton of Bern ordered all museums to close on 22 December.

Fondation Beyeler in Basel is celebrating its reopening by offering visitors free admission on the first two days of March. Its show Rodin/Arp—comparing and contrasting the sculptors Auguste Rodin and Hans Arp—that closed a week after opening in December, has been extended to 16 May. The museum recommends booking tickets online, even for the admission-free days, to avoid waiting for a time slot.

A big exhibition at the Basel Museum of Fine Arts, Rembrandt’s Orient, ended during the lockdown. The museum reopens on 2 March; its next temporary exhibition, focused on Sophie Taeuber-Arp, opens 20 March.

The Swiss government has warned that new coronavirus variants pose the risk of a third wave. Its goal is to vaccinate around 70 percent of the population by the summer. More than 9,000 people have died as a result of the coronavirus pandemic in Switzerland, which has a population of 8.6 million.