One of the largest baroque buildings in Germany to survive in its original condition, Ludwigsburg Residential Palace, near Stuttgart, was built between 1704 and 1733 by Duke Eberhard Ludwig as a refuge for himself & his mistress, Wilhelmine von Grävenitz. His cousin Carl Alexander, who succeeded him as the next Duke of Württemberg, cared more for the military than for architecture, but Carl Eugen, who took over the duchy after his father died, completed the still-unfinished interior of the palace, adding playful rococo elements to the lavish baroque style. In the early 19th century, a new splendour took hold of Ludwigsburg, a royal palace by that time, when King Friedrich I, Carl Eugen’s nephew, had many rooms luxuriously updated in neoclassicist style.
Last September, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, one of Belgium’s most prestigious & important museums, reopened after an 11-year closure. During this period, the 19th-century building was renovated and augmented by an entirely new museum, built within the four courtyards of the old structure, invisible from the outside. The original museum was beautifully restored to its old grandeur, and the new one is of ethereal elegance. The collection spans seven centuries, from Flemish Primitives to expressionists, featuring works by artists such as Jan van Eyck, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, and James Ensor, the greatest Belgian modernist.
There are few things more iconic to the city of London than its world-famous open-backed double-decker buses, resplendent in red livery. Built between 1954 and 1968, these Routemasters were in regular service for over half a century, until they were replaced with low-floor buses. If you want to jump on a Routemaster these days, the place to go is the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden, which is one of the coolest public transport museums in Europe. Some older double-deck vehicles on display are an 1882 horse-drawn tram, a horse omnibus with two lengthwise rooftop seats from around the same time, and a 1914 B-type bus, from the first mass-produced motor-bus series in the world.
London is home to the world’s first underground railway, which opened in 1863. Among the Tube highlights are an A-class steam locomotive from 1866, in use until the electrification of the Circle line in 1905, a windowless deep-level coach from 1890, and a 1938-stock motor car, the first Tube train to have its motors & electrical equipment housed beneath the floor. The presentation also looks at the growth of London after the railways were extended further out from the city centre, and at the role London’s transport system & its staff played in keeping the city moving through both world wars. A special section is dedicated to London’s transport design heritage, including the Tube map, signage & posters.