Fairs Museums Disasters Germany

European museums rise above threat of floods

Institutions due to reopen after a week of heavy rainfall caused river waters to rise

The Staatliche Bücher- und Kupferstichsammlung (the state book and print collection, below) in the 18th-century Summer Palace in the east German town of Greiz has been closed since 1 June due to the flooding of the Weisse Elster

As the threat of floods continues across Europe, the Otto Dix Museum in the German artist’s home city of Gera, on the river Weisse Elster, is due to open again today after a flood temporarily closed the institution. Staff were able to protect the works by moving them to a higher level.

The Essl Museum (owned by Karlheinz Essl, the Austrian collector who is frequently seen at Art Basel) in Klosterneuburg, near Vienna, Austria, reopened to the public on Friday after the fire brigade helped to protect the museum from the rising waters of the Danube. However, the Staatliche Bücher- und Kupferstichsammlung (the state book and print collection, pictured) in the 18th-century Summer Palace in the east German town of Greiz has been closed since 1 June, also due to the flooding of the Weisse Elster. According to a statement from the museum, the water on the ground floor was 40cm deep and its outdoor space, the recently restored 19th-century Greiz Park, has been almost completely destroyed. The museum’s collection was saved by early flood warnings, which meant that staff were able to move works to the first floor. Its director, Eva-Maria Mariassy, hopes that the building will reopen by the end of this week.

A week of heavy rainfall has caused major European rivers to overflow. The flooding, which has so far claimed 18 lives and could cost billions of euros in damage, is reported to be moving north, with some parts of Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg under threat. Fears in Budapest have calmed after the Danube reached its peak yesterday and the city’s flood defences held.

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