The column that gives you the European picture

Destination of the week: Waterloo wonders

From next Tuesday, London's South Bank gets a degree more dazzling. For the next few months, visitors to the capital can witness a phenomenon akin to the aurora borealis, or northern lights. The Shell Electric Storm installation stretches for about half a mile from Jubilee Gardens (close to the London Eye) to the Oxo Tower. The website at has more details.

Also in the area, the Hayward Gallery has reopened with an expanded foyer (complete with Starbucks) and a mirrored glass pavilion called "Waterloo Sunset at the Hayward Gallery". For more details, call 020-7960 5226.

Across Waterloo Bridge at Somerset House, the ice rink opens for the winter on 27 November; it will open every day until 25 January, except Christmas Day. Booking is on 0870 166 0423 or on the web at; from 27 November, you will also be able to book at Somerset House itself. Admission for adults is £9.50 (£1 more after 6.30pm), and £6 for under-12s.

Warning of the week: Art lovers' deadline for Amsterdam

Three weeks from now, Holland's leading art museum will be closing down in its present form for a five-year refurbishment programme, aimed at restoring it largely to Cuypers' original design while installing 21st-century facilities. The last date for paid admission is 5 December. Over the weekend of 6 and 7 December, admission will be free - expect big crowds saying farewell to the old building. From 8 to 19 December, the Rijksmuseum will close completely. But on 20 December, the Philips wing re-opens, containing many of the masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum's collection, including Rembrandt's Night Watch.

For more information, call 00 31 20 674 7000 or visit