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MUSEUMS

Which museums, zoos and galleries are open in Denmark this weekend?

Denmark's political parties agreed to speed up reopening on Wednesday night, giving the green light for museums, art galleries and zoos to open their doors. Here's what you need to know.

Which museums, zoos and galleries are open in Denmark this weekend?
People visit the Hot Pink Turquoise exhibition by Belgian artist Ann Veronica Janssens. Photo: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
Will I just be able to turn up and buy a ticket on the door? 
 
Not necessarily. Inder the guidelines from Denmark's culture ministry, cultural institutions are asked to minimise the contact between staff and visitors so many will switch to online payment only. 
 
There may also be an online time slot system to reduce the risk of queues. 
 
How much control will there be when I get there? 
 
Quite a bit. Institutions are asked to limit the number of guests in each area according to its size and capacity, and also to control customer flow, so you may find yourself forced to visit rooms in a certain order or prevented from spending too much time in front of a single exhibit.  
 
 
Will I be able to go on a guided tour? 
 
No. The advice to cultural institutions is that they should cancel activities that cause people to jostle together, so there will be no guided tours, lectures or performances. 
 
What hygiene measure will be in place? 
 
There should also be extra hand-washing facilities or dispensers with alcohol gel placed around the institutions. 
 
Exhibits or customer satisfaction monitors which involve touching will probably have been removed. 
 
What institutions will be open this weekend? 
 
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
 
 
Denmark's Prime Minister chose to celebrate Wednesday's deal with a visit to Louisiana Museum of Modern Art on Thursday morning.
 
The museum only opened to the general public on Friday, however. 
 
It has put in place extended opening hours and a new time slot system to prevent overcrowding. Time slots can be booked here. When we wrote this article, it seemed like it was still possible to book slots for Saturday and Sunday. 
 
The gallery currently has exhibitions on the American feminist artist Nancy Spero, the Belgian light artist Ann Veronica Janssens, and the Danish sculptor Per Kirkeby. 
 
The zoo tower at Copenhagen Zoo. Photo: Copenhagen Zoo. 
 
Copenhagen Zoo 
 
Copenhagen Zoo is open from Saturday, but with heavy restrictions in place. 
 
All lectures and tours are cancelled, and the enclosures housing Tapirs, nocturnal animals, and sea lions are all closed as is the the popular petting zoo area with pigs, cows and rabbits. 
 
The Zoo Tower (above), Villa, and Zoolab, will also be closed, and there will be a one way system across much of the zoo. The zoo train will not be running.  See full restrictions here
 
It will be possible to buy a ticket on the door, but there will be a special queuing system with distance markers. 
 
 
 
The ARoS Aarhus Art Museum
 
The ARoS Aarhus Art Museum was one of the first to open, managing to be ready to accept visitors on Friday morning, with some new visiting guidelines
 
The gallery has put in place a one-way system, distance markers in key positions, alcohol gel dispensers at key locations, as well as signs indicating the maximum number of people in part of the gallery, and in the museum shop. 
 
The gallery has also closed ARoS Public, the auditorium and the children's dining area.
 
 
Den Blå Planet 
 
Denmark's national aquarium is set to open on Sunday, May 26 with a new two-hour 'listening experience'. This audio tour which will replace lectures and guided tours which might lead to too many people jostling together. 
 
“Instead of touch screens and lectures, guests of Den Blå Planet can now listen to lots of information about ocean life via their own phone. We are premiering on the audio guide on Sunday, when we look forward to welcoming all our guests and getting more life in the house,” Jon Diderichsen, the aquarium's chief executive, said in a press release
 
 
 
The Hirschsprung Collection
 
This popular Copenhagen gallery is opening on Saturday May 23 at 11am. The museum is only letting in 30 visitors every half hour and is limiting each visitor to one hour inside. The guidelines are here.   
 
The gallery has an exhibition on the Danish artist Kristian Zahrtmann, called “Queer, Art and Passion”, profiling his depiction of beautiful male bodies, and also an exhibition on the portrait painter Christian Horneman. 
 
Which museums will only open next week?
 
National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen is opening on May 28 
 
Den Gamle By, the popular open air historical museum in Aarhus, is opening on May 25. 
 
The Moesgaard Museum in Højbjerg, home of the Grauballe peat bog man, is opening on May 26. 
 
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, the popular Copenagen art gallery, has not yet published information on its reopening. 
 
 

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TRAVEL

Spain’s scrap cathedral: A monk’s 60-year self-build labour of faith and devotion

About 20 km east of Madrid, in the small town of Mejorada del Campo, stands a building that testifies to a former monk's lifetime of devotion to the Catholic faith. Paul Burge explores the Don Justo Cathedral, a religious edifice like no other.

Spain's scrap cathedral: A monk's 60-year self-build labour of faith and devotion
Don Justo's Cathedral in Mejorada del Campo, Madrid. Photos: Paul Burge

The structure has been built by 95-year-old former monk, Don Justo Gallego Martinez, using nothing but recycled, scavenged and donated materials giving the building chaotic, eclectic and perplexing, if not impressive style.


Don Justo pictured here at the age of 73 in August 1999. Archive photo: AFP

Visitors are free to explore, stepping over bags of cement, buckets and tools which are strewn across the two-floor monument. Downstairs there is a shrine to Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary. Chillingly Don Justo has already also dug his own grave in the basement, where he will finally be laid to rest at the heart of his labour of faith and devotion.

Don Justo, as he is known, is 95 years old. The cathedral still needs at least ten years' work, years that its creator simply doesn’t have. Yet, such is his devotion that he still works on its construction every day, except on Sundays of course. You may catch a glimpse of him in his dusty blue overalls, white shirt and trademark red beret. But as the notices pinned to the wall advise, he is not open to speaking to members of the public.

What inspired Don Justo to build it?

After eight years in a Trappist order at Soria‘s Santa Maria de la Huerta monastery, Don Justo Gallego Martinez was ordered to leave, for fear of infecting the other monks with tuberculosis that he had been diagnosed with.

When his mother died in 1963 and bequeathed to him a large plot of land, including an olive grove in the center of the town, Gallego had an idea. If he would never again be allowed to enter a Catholic church as an ordained member of the faith, then he would express his devotion in a magnificent way. He would build his own church. In fact he would build his own Cathedral from scratch and make a shrine to “Our Lady of the Pillar”, or Nuestra Señora del Pilar.

The future of the cathedral

Set amongst monotonous 1960s apartment blocks, the frame of the huge structure, with its 50-meter-tall dome modeled on St. Peter’s in Rome, towers over the town of Mejorada del Campo. Like the cathedrals of old, it will not reach completion during Don Justo’s lifetime.

What will happen to the building after Gallego’s death remains an open question and its future is uncertain. No one has yet stepped up to take over the project, nor is his cathedral recognized by the Catholic Church. What is more, Don Justo never applied for planning permission to build the cathedral and the structure does not conform to any building regulations.

There are rumous that it could be pulled down after Don Justo passes away but there is a concerted campaign to preserve it.

How to get there

Catedral de Justo is located in Mejorada del Campo, a small town just 20km from Madrid. To get there, there are two public buses from the centre: Avenida de América (line 282) and Conde de Casal (line 341). 

The bus stop in Mejorada del Campo is called Calle de Arquitecto Antoni Gaudí and is located right in front of the cathedral. However, going by car is a better option, so you can continue your day-trip to Alcalá de Heneres, Cervantes’ hometown, which is about half an hour away.

Listen to the When in Spain podcast episode for an audio tour around the cathedral with Paul Burge. HERE

Paul Burge is a former BBC journalist who moved from Oxford, UK to Madrid in 2013 where he now hosts the highly entertaining When in Spain a weekly podcast show about life in Madrid and beyond.  Follow Paul's observations and advice about living in Spain on FacebookInstagram, Twitter and his new YouTube channel.

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