Old Masters and the stars of tomorrow: art exhibitions in Germany

The great German poet Friedrich Schiller once said that all art is dedicated to joy. But it is perhaps most joyous of all when great works of art leave the studios, galleries and workshops of the artists to be displayed, admired and contemplated in lavish exhibitions up and down the county.

Early music, contemporary music, musical theatre, installations, performances and film concerts all feature on the diverse programme of the KunstFestSpiele Herrenhausen arts festival, held on the outskirts of Hannover . The focus tends to be on innovative works, premieres and inhouse productions, many of which transcend genres. It all takes place at the Royal Gardens of Herrenhausen , whose Grosser Garten is one of the foremost baroque gardens in Europe.

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The Ostrale showcases the full spectrum of contemporary art incorporating every genre and discipline. This annual event is held on Dresden's Ostrainsel at the former abattoir, a listed ensemble from 1910. which provides exhibition space of 15,000m² indoors and 50,000m² outdoors. The various rooms and buildings offer several hundred artists from Germany and abroad the ideal space to display their art.

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NordArt in Büdelsdorf, Schleswig-Holstein , has established itself as one of the largest annual exhibitions of contemporary art in Europe. It has presented an extensive panorama of modern art every summer since 1999. The former Carlshütte foundry and the historical Sculpture Park provide an impressive and inspiring setting for the exhibition, which features paintings, photographs, videos, sculptures and installations by more than 200 selected artists from around the world.

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Museums Nights are organised on various dates in many towns and cities and provide a great opportunity to discover the wide variety of museums in Germany. Until late into the night, the museums host concerts, performances, shows, live acts, presentations and many other events, offering an entertaining insight into their programme. Shuttle bus services enable you to travel between the museums without the need of a car.

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Since 2005 a special festival has taken place in honour of Germany's UNESCO World Heritage sites , of which there are now 38. On the first Sunday in June these places of outstanding historical or natural interest open their doors to the public, raising awareness of Germany's rich cultural heritage with a host of informative and entertaining activities. The main event is organised by a different World Heritage site every year.

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Artists from Hamburg and its twin cities of Shanghai, Marseille and St. Petersburg turn the Hanseatic city into a hotbed of creativity during Hamburg Art Week. For ten days, the city is transformed into a huge public exhibition showcasing current art projects ranging from sculptures, paintings and installations to performances, videos, photography and design.

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