All but a handful of museums in Flanders will remain closed on Tuesday, despite an announcement by the Consultative Committee on Friday that they are authorised to reopen from the 1st of December.
Most of the institutions say they need more time to reopen, including the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres, and its counterparts in Bruges.
“I was a bit surprised when I heard museums could reopen to the public from Tuesday,” Peter Slosse, director of In Flanders Field Museum, said. “The sector had asked, in fact, to be allowed to reopen after the end of the lockdown, that is, from mid-December. That’s why we’ve decided to keep the date of 15 December.”
“People will need to reserve, and we can only take in 25 persons every quarter of an hour,” Slosse explained.
Bruges’ alderman in charge of culture, Nico Blontrock, said the city would study the situation early this week to see what can be done.
“We’re very happy at the decision because something will once again be happening in the city and that will also benefit local businesses, but we won’t open the city’s 13 museums right away,” Blontrock said.
“We are aiming first at the most popular sites, like the belfry, the Groeninge Museum and Saint-Jean Hospital, where the ‘Memling Now: Hans Memling in de actuele kunst’ exposition should normally have opened on the 1st of October,” he added.
In Ghent, too, the 1st of December looks far from feasible. The city’s museum of contemporary art, the S.M.A.K., will remain closed on that day, while the STAM – the municipal museum – and other museums in the city will hold discussions with the alderman for culture before reopening their doors to visitors.
Similarly, in Leuven, joy at the decision by the Consultative Committee is tempered by the realisation that 1 December is not feasible.
Notable exceptions, though, are Hasselt, where the Jenever Museum, the Municipal Museum and the Fashion Museum will reopen on Tuesday, and Tongereren, where the Gallo-Roman Museum is also ready.
In Bokrijk, the Open Air Museum, which has been hosting visitors free of charge since October, will remain open until the 3rd of January.
Finally, Tervuren’s Africamuseum has also announced that it will reopen on the 1st of December.