Many museums are not just amazing places to explore from the inside, but also architectural masterpieces on the outside. Sure, classic examples of iconic European museums would be the Louvre or Guggenheim, but there are so many more underrated museums in Europe I’ve been able to visit in the last few years. It’s finally time for me to share my personal top three; hidden gems with simply amazing architecture. How many of them have you already heard of?
3 Underrated Museums in Europe
1. NEMO in Amsterdam
NEMO is a science museum in the centre of Amsterdam, basically shaped like a giant UFO. Quite the eye-catcher, if you ask me! NEMO is a great place for kids and teens to learn about science and technology through simple experiments. I used to visit the museum when I was a child and still remember how I played with huge soap bubbles and explored the chemistry lab.
But that isn’t even the best thing about the building. There aren’t many skyscrapers in Amsterdam, so it’s hard to get a great view of Amsterdam’s urban landscape. Luckily, NEMO has an amazing rooftop terrace that is freely accessible to anyone!
2. CosmoCaixa in Barcelona
CosmoCaixa is another one of thos underrated museums in Europe, found on the edge of Barcelona. The 30,000 m² science museum features exhibitions and displays about fascinating processes in nature, like the story of evolution and space exploration. Fair enough, CosmoCaixa doesn’t look particularly incredible from the outside. But the absolute pièce de résistance in the museum is the flooded forest, inside the building.
This incredible greenhouse-like structure lets you walk around a simulated piece of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. Inside the greenhouse live over 100 different animal species, including piranhas and capybaras. The flooded forest doubles as an aquarium when you step out of the greenhouse, as the glass walls allow you to see alligators, tortoises, and more.
3. Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris
Even if you’ve been to Paris before, there is a big chance you’ve never visited this place. The Fondation Louis Vuitton is a new museum in Paris for contemporary art. It officially opened in 2014 and most of the exhibited works belong to the Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) collection. This also explains the name of the museum.
The views of the cityscape from the museum’s upper terrace are simply amazing. The building’s designer was architect Frank Gehry, best known for designing the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. The colourful stickers all over the exterior were a temporary feature, but the design is already spectacular as is.
What do you think of the designs of these museums? If you ever find yourself in Amsterdam, Barcelona, or Paris, you should definitely go and have a look. Personally, I really like it when museums have transparent designs with open floors and glass material. Are you a fan of contemporary architectural styles, or do you prefer more classical styles of architecture, like the Petit Palais or Rijksmuseum? Do let me know!