There is something inherent in memories that make them so important to all of us – as people from different races, creeds, and backgrounds. They are repositories of all we hold good in our society – and because they hold certain truths that are important to our ancestral history, regardless of whether they are seen or interpreted as negative or positive in the zeitgeist that we currently exist in.
They are, in fact, a part of our ancestral DNA, a type of ancient cognizance we carry with us for as long as we exist; and regardless, we should learn from them, understand them, and above all, celebrate them.
Think about it – we do this instinctively as a human race. How many photographs, mementos, souvenirs, and remnants do we keep from our loved ones who have gone on before us? Cultures all over the world, regardless of whether being stone-age or otherwise have had a history of worshipping ancestors. The same is true for certain cultural events that meant triumph. Because they inherently encapsulate the good times we’ve had, those times in our lives that brought us happiness. And they will always trigger nostalgia of past times – regardless of whether they were pleasant, or traumatizing and scarring. Because that is how much important memory is.
And in some way, help us come to terms with our own existence. It is a part of our identity, individual, cultural, racial, and historical – and in a world that is lost for meaning, they can serve as a foundation from which to draw and exert our efforts towards. They inevitably belong to us – and the sooner we come to terms and accept this, then the better it shall be for the human race.
Europe holds on to these memories, and rightfully so – thousands upon thousands of years of history are so important for a region that has seen its share of triumphs, defeats, destruction, and war. And the same is true for the present – Europe is undergoing a terrible identity crisis, which makes these memory institutions even more important to this day.
Because they will always be a part of each and every European and where he or she is going, where he or she came from, and what it means for the future. That being said, let’s take a look at some of the most important ones in Europe – and celebrate them while they are still here.
1. The Louvre: Paris, France
What else needs to be said about the Louvre being one of the most important things to check off everyone’s bucket lists? After all, it is considered as the largest museum in Europe. Thousands upon thousands of art and culture is on display, and remains the best part to start off with the study of European culture.
2. Natural History Museum: Vienna, Austria
Vienna is just as rich in museums and cultural artifacts as any big European city – and nowhere is this more evident than its own Natural History Museum. Established in 1889, the museum’s interiors are already in themselves an extension of European identity and culture, designed with gold leaf, marble, and littered with some of the most valuable paintings and sculptures the world has to offer.
3. The Vatican Museums: Vatican City
Nothing needs to be said about the history of the Catholic Church’s 2000-year existence – and the Vatican Museums are the custodians of its splendor. In here you will find exquisite and rare tapestries, sculptures and crucial Egyptian artifacts and relics from a distant time – and the highlight is of course the famous Sistine Chapel. A bonafide must see, apart from gardens so verdant that you would think they were grown with current grow light technology (because the colored bulbs stimulate growth), but they have been tirelessly looked after centuries by its groundskeepers with their hands and sweat.
4. The Rijksmuseum: Amsterdam, Netherlands
There is no better place to start with the beauty of the Reformation’s art history than the Rijksmuseum – not least due to the number of great painters that came from the Netherlands whose works will be found enshrined in its halls. From 1800 onwards, no other place lays claim to being the number one exhibitor of Reformation Art than the Rijksmuseum, built by the legendary Pierre Cuypers himself.
5. The Guggenheim Museum: Bilbao, Spain
Contemporary art also has its place in Europe – and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is one of its finest exponents. Recently opened in 1997 and designed by Frank Gehry, it is one of the most important museums to see contemporary art from Mark Rothko and Andy Warhol, among other leading lights of this movement.
6. Museo Del Prado: Madrid, Spain
Central Madrid is home to the Museo del Prado, which consistsof finest collections of the European art. It currently exhibits over 7,000 paintings, 1,000 sculptures, and over 8,000 drawings.
7. The Victoria And Albert Museum: London, UK
Not to be outdone, London has its own contribution to Victorian-era art and design. It was founded in the year of 1852 and it located in Brompton. One of the studies says that it has permanent collection of the 4.5 million objects; making it the largest repository of Victorian-era culture and history.