We travel from all over the country to visit a special exhibition at the British Museum in London, or even hop across the Channel to Paris and Brussels. The journey to Copenhagen is not that much more of a stretch, and it is certainly worth the trip to visit the fabulous National Museum of Denmark, a stone’s throw from Copenhagen airport.
Their new exhibition, Europe Meets the World, housed in the elegant 18th-century rococo Prince’s Palace, explores Europe’s contact with other cultures. Themes include the mythological ‘monstrous races’ once believed to inhabit the lands beyond the known world, and the voyages of Columbus and his contemporaries that opened up these uncharted lands to exploration – and economic exploitation. European expansion is examined, from the influence of ancient Greek democracy, politics, and philosophy, and the impact of the Roman Empire, to the Crusades and 19th-century colonisation. The exhibition explores the spread of ideas through Europe and beyond, from the Enlightenment to industrialisation, as well as cultural imports received from other peoples such as chess, which was introduced from Asia.
Displays covering the seismic events of the 20th century reveal the very best and the very worst of European interactions with the wider world and each other: the horrors of the two World Wars and the near-apocalyptic consequences of the Cold War, but also the growth of international co-operation and the birth of the EU.
Europe Meets the World runs until 3 June. Admission is free.
This article is an extract from the full article published in World Archaeology Issue 51. Click here to subscribe