This is the year of big arts anniversaries with blockbusting exhibitions to match. First, the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth in Salzburg (January 27) has been met with whoops of joy both in his native city and in Vienna (www.mozart2006.at).
In Salzburg a year-long exhibition, Viva! Mozart, will complement the annual Salzburg Festival (July 21-August 31, www.salzburgfestival.at, general booking opens January 11), which will for the first time include performances of all 22 of his works for the musical stage. Not to be outdone, Vienna is opening Domgasse 5, where he wrote The Marriage of Figaro, to the public for the first time (www.mozarthausvienna.at).
The Netherlands is, if anything, putting even more effort into Rembrandt's 400th anniversary (www.rembrandt400.com) while the city of Aix-in-Provence is the focus for a year-long reappraisal of the life of Cezanne, who died a century ago (www.cezanne-2006.com). More than a hundred of his works will be on show at the Musee Granet from June 9 to September 17, and other events will take visitors into the landscape he loved.
Last but not least, the Greek city of Patras (www.patras2006.gr) begins its reign as European City of Culture 2006, with a series of carnival days (until March 5) which include the un-Mozartian sounds of the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra ,who play instruments made from carrots, cucumbers, aubergines and pumpkins.