Naturalis Biodiversity Center has been named European Museum of the Year! The European Museum of the Year Award is the oldest and most prestigious museum award in Europe. On Thursday afternoon, during the online 'Award Ceremony', the joyful news was announced to Naturalis, and we are so proud!
With this victory, there is once again a Dutch museum from Leiden that won the prize. In 2019, Rijksmuseum Boerhaave had the honor to call itself European Museum of the Year. This year, the international jury chose Naturalis, calling the museum the largest of its kind, with an impressive research record and diverse collections that focus on topics with universal appeal.
The international jury: “It is not only an organisation with a long history but also with an agile ability to get transformed. It is a very resourceful museum with beautiful exhibitions and a multitude of public services and events. As such, it is a very popular museum that engages visitors with compelling ways and invites us to feel strong emotions about the world that connects us all and reflect on how we can protect its beauty, preserve its biodiversity and be informed and responsible citizens regarding climate change.”
Edwin van Huis, General Director of Naturalis Biodiversity Center: “It's great that our museum is internationally recognized through this prize. Thanks! Fascination for the beauty and diversity of nature, that is the foundation of Naturalis. Thanks to our museum, we can share our love and passion for nature with the public. If people embrace nature, they will also take better care of it. And that is now more necessary than ever!”
Naturalis opened the doors of the new museum building in August 2019. In just 4 months, 275,000 people already visited the new Naturalis. The museum was closed in the years before, 2015 was the last full year that the museum was open in its old form. In that year, 345,000 people visited the museum, a record number at the time. Unfortunately, Naturalis had to close its doors again shortly after the opening of the new museum building, as a result of the corona policy. Van Huis: "We can't wait to receive visitors again and show the beauty of our collection to the public again."
Prestigious museum award
The European Museum of the Year Award (EMYA) was established in 1977 under the auspices of the Council of Europe. EMYA is the longest-running and most prestigious museum award in Europe, helping to showcase innovations in the museum sector across the continent. Due to close links with the Council of Europe, EMYA is embedded in a system of values of citizenship, democracy and human rights.
This prize goes to a museum that succeeds in attracting (diverse) target groups, manages to create a unique atmosphere and experience and / or attaches great importance to education and social responsibility. Previous winners have included the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.