The June 2009 re-opening of Hermitage was attended by royals and politicos from the top tables of Russia and The Netherlands, including Queen Beatrix and President Medvedev. The reasons for the red carpet hoo-ha were the wonderful art and artifacts in this staggering building. Linked to St Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum, this is the only place in the west where you can see such a detailed collection of the Russian museum’s works. The opening exhibition, At the Russian Court, offered more than 1,800 pieces from the pomp and pageantry of the court in the nineteenth century. These spanned the reigns of six tsars, from Paul I, son of Catherine the Great, to the last Tsar, Nicholas II, who was toppled in the Russian Revolution. Displays included vast paintings, elaborate clothing and enough treasures to raise the ire of the proletariat. Two similarly large exhibitions are planned each year.