Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

January 27, 2022

© Philip Horak

Bookmark and Share

Razzle dazzle 'em

The boldest, brightest and newest attractions hit the old country in 2011

Each year, the attractions and events in each European country could easily fill a calendar. The challenge is to narrow down the bounty of options for the Euro-bound traveller, so here’s a selection of the best fests and the newest attractions for the summer and fall.

Austria: Rapture and rhapsodies

Given Austria’s storied musical past it’s no surprise that nearly every year offers an opportunity to celebrate. In 2011, the nation observes the 200th birthday of Franz Liszt ( with a series of concerts, exhibitions and special projects all devoted to the life and work of the prolific composer and player. Events run through October.

For lovers of opera, the Bregenz Festival ( is a chance to savour an intermezzo in the open air during the four-week festival (July 20 to August 21) set in a spectacular castle setting on the eastern shores of Lake Constance.

Meanwhile, classical concerts, seminars, music workshops and tours of the magnificent Grafenegg Castle are all on tap during the celebrated Musikfestival Grafenegg ( (August 19 to September 7).

Denmark: Dining in

For people who follow this sort of thing, the world’s top restaurant according to The Restaurant magazine is now Noma in Copenhagen, which ousted long-standing favourite El Bulli in Spain. Denmark's patriotic food movement is now all the rage: it has recaptured Danish culinary and agricultural tradition and given it an entirely contemporary feel. The Copenhagen Cooking Festival ( is so popular they even added a winter edition before the regular end-of-summer event August 19 to 28. This year will feature food from the Swedish side of the Øresund as well as from Copenhagen. Make sure to take in cooking classes, special menus and wine tastings.

Estonia and Finland: Capitals of Culture

The 2011 Euro Culture Capitals of Culture are the historic cities of Turku, Finland ( and Tallinn, Estonia ( Located less than 200 kilometres apart, they are the closest of any previous concurrent European Capitals of Culture, and also the first to share similar history, culture, values — and a connecting sea.

This year’s Capitals celebrate all things to do with the Baltic Sea and many of the programs are co-themed so visitors will want to take in both cities. Travelling between the two is easy: it’s 40 minutes by air, or half a day by rail, bus or sea. And as of January 1, Estonia joined Finland inside the Euro zone so you won't have to hit a currency exchange on your way between the two.

Germany: Hot Wheels

It’s been 125 years since the gasoline-powered automobile was invented by German mechanical engineer Carl Friedrich Benz — think Mercedes-Benz — and the country is mounting an ambitious, year-long program of celebrations. A highlight is the Summer of Cars (, with a multitude of events and tours. The country's 40 car-related museums are also in on the action.

In Stuttgart, the Porsche Museum (, has impressive architecture and car displays. Just outside the city is the Meilenwerk (, a museum, sports car exhibition and workshop rolled into one complete with a 10-room, themed hotel.

BMW World ( in Munich, just beside the BMW Museum ( is futuristic and impressive creation in itself. The Audi Forum ( in Ingolstadt, Bavaria, attracts more than 500,000 visitors each year. The VW Transparent Factory ( in Dresden unveils all that goes into the production of the premium-class Phaeton. And, last but not least, Europe's biggest Formula 1 exhibition is at the Car & Technology Museum (, south of Heidelberg.

Great Britain: Royal Shows

There’s a wealth of events in the UK this year. Royal-watchers will have plenty to choose from. After the biggest, splashiest Royal Wedding since Di and Charles took that historic walk down the aisle 30 years ago, Westminster Abbey in London will be the site of Will and Kate’s nuptials on April 29.

Theatre lovers can seek out royalty of the thespian variety by visiting the newly refurbished Royal Shakespeare Theatre ( in Stratford-upon-Avon. This year is the RSC's 50th birthday, and the prestigious ensemble will return to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Swan Theatre stages with full productions.

Or watch musical pros strut their stuff in London's West End in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Wizard of Oz (, now playing at the Palladium or in the much-anticipated musical version of the 1990 film Ghost (, directed by Matthew Warchus, which premieres in June.

Ireland: Do-able Dublin

Dublin’s Celtic Tiger economy has been declawed, which means discounts and deals in an otherwise notoriously expensive city. So it's a good opportunity to check out ABSOLUT Fringe ( This two-week festival is, hands-down, Dublin’s most ambitious with more 450 performances of up to 100 shows (September 10 to 25). Hundreds of thousands attend and the shows are often held in extremely unusual venues.

For those who will be in town in June, be sure to check out the Street Performance World Championships, where inventive, funny and often jaw-dropping performances will hit a street corner in the old city from June 16 to 19.

Netherlands: Dutch Design

Dutch DNA 2011 ( is a year-long showcase of the singularly Dutch creative achievements in fashion, design, architecture and heritage. Amsterdam, ground zero for Dutch cool, will be the site of multiple exhibits and happenings.

Those inclined towards the design arts might also want to visit in September and October, when Amsterdam and Utrecht unite to host a wide variety of internationally oriented design events during the Dutch Design Double (

And to see where that cutting-edge architecture all started, take a trip back in time at the newly re-opened Canal-House Museum (, a 17th-century mansion, designed by the country’s top architect from the Golden Age, Philips Vingboons.

Slovakia: Shoots and Scores

At the top of the sports calendar is the 75th International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship ( from April 29 to May 15, which will take place in Bratislava and Kosice. Sixteen international teams will be competing in the tournament which runs for 56 games.

After the tournament, take the time to explore Eurovea (, a new residential, business and retail development in the heart of Bratislava. It was formerly an abandoned neighbourhood, much of which was destroyed during Communist rule in the '60s and '70s. Attractions include the new Danube promenade, a kilometre-long walkway along the riverfront and a hip shopping mall.

Spain: The new Bilbao?

The industrial town of Avilés in Asturias hopes to become the country's next Bilbao with the opening later this year of a multi-arts centre designed by celebrated 103-year-old architect Oscar Niemeyer. The Centro Cultural Internacional ( has gallery and theatre spaces, a concert hall, cinema and conference facilities. The draw is as much the architecture by this icon of 20th-century design as it is anything that might be on show within the walls.

Meanwhile, those heading to the sunny coast of Malaga can take in high art in their flip-flops. The famed beach town is now becoming a magnet for major art collections, with a renowned Picasso Museum as well as a Contemporary Art Center. Now part of Madrid's famed Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection ( will get permanent digs in a 16th-century palace. The collection is set to launch this spring; 200 works will be displayed with an emphasis on 19th-century Spanish painters.

Switzerland: The Hills are Alive

Every five years, the pretty town of Interlaken is a magnet for all lovers of yodeling — and this is serious stuff. The 28th National Yodeling Festival ( will bring together 12,000 participants and 250,000 visitors for a celebration of Alpine culture, music and games from June 16 to 19.

For the more classically minded, the prestigious Lucerne classical music series ( has grown since its origins in 1938 to encompass three concert series: The Easter Festival (April 9 to 17), the Summer edition (August 10 to September 18) and the marathon Piano Festival (November 21 to 27) — all good reasons to visit this picturesque lakeside town in the mountains.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.


Showing 1 comments

  1. On April 13, 2011, Prem Chengalath said:
    Great info on Europe.THQ

Post a comment