Editions / Winners / To be a winner /

Below you can read several testimonials about what it means to be an award winner and what this has led to.

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The Sámi Museum Siida, The European Museum of the Year 2024

Sámi Museum Siida, as an indigenous museum, is primarily for the Sámi people themselves. But we are extremely pleased to see how our Sámi story resonates with the entire European museum community and people around the world.

This award belongs to the entire Sámi community, its elders who have supported our work with their knowledge and skills, and the entire staff of the Sámi Museum for their heartfelt efforts. In Siida’s new main exhibition, the Sámi themselves tell their own story. Over 300 members of the Sámi community participated in the preparation of the exhibition on Sámi culture.

We want to thank also our ancestors for their strength, love and support.

We hope that this award gives us strength to continue our important repatriation work for our community. For this work, we need the support of the entire European museum community so that the artifacts of our ancestors return home to Sápmi.

We want to extend our warm congratulations for all the museums awarded at EMYA2024!

Giitu! Takkâ! Späʹsseb! Thank you!

Taina Pieski, Director & Taija Aikio, Head of Marketing, Sámi Museum Siida
Author: João Matos/CMP

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Kalamaja Museum, the winner of the Silletto Prize for Community Participation and Engagement 2024

The members of the Kalamaja Museum community are very proud and happy that their own museum has received such great recognition. It gives everybody strength and courage to go forward! The photos were taken in Kalamaja Museum during celebrations of the Silletto Prize.

Thank you again so much!

On behalf of Kalamaja Museum and its community members, friends, partners.

Kristi Paatsi
Kalamaja Museum

Kalamaja Museum during celebrations of the Silletto Prize
Kalamaja Museum

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Salt Museum, the winner of the Portimão Museum Prize for Welcoming, Inclusion and Belonging 2024

How can I convey our joy for the Portimao Award at the Salt Museum? Our entire city, Messolonghi, is celebrating with us! People stop us on the street, embrace us, call us, send messages, flowers, and sweets, all conveying their excitement and pride.

This award isn’t just for a museum; it’s for the residents of an entire city. Giannis Markakis, the national representative of EMF who discovered us, all the award nominees with their presentations, the EMYA judges, past winners, the organizing city of Portimao, and all participants have enriched our experience. They’ve guided us on a path of knowledge, continuous improvement, and contribution to society.

Participating in EMYA has been a wonderful journey!

Despina Kanelli
Manager of Salt Museum

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The Museum of the Home, the winner of the Meyvaert Museum Prize for Environmental Sustainability 2024

The Museum of the Home team takes huge inspiration from this award – which speaks to our collective hope for the future, as well as celebrating past achievements. This recognition has reaffirmed our dedication to this planet we call home, as we strive to live by the values that this prize embodies.

Huge thanks and gratitude to the EMYA24 judges and Meyvaert for their valued support – and congratulations to all the change-making nominees this year.

Museum of the Home Entrance

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L'ETNO, Valencian Museum of Ethnology, The European Museum of the Year 2023

"Receiving the EMYA award is being a massive thing for L’ETNO, probably the best that has ever happened to our museum. Only a few days after the announcement, we are already feeling a big change. As a museum L’ETNO has always suffered from invisibility and some lack of understanding among our own people/authorities. It is somehow normal, we are not one of the region's big museums, and we work with a type of heritage -ethnographic- not too glamorous. What is happening after the prize is a revolution. Media attention is being massive, and, suddenly, there is a kind of sense of pride all around us. What seemed difficult, seems easy. The team, of course, is happier than ever. This is a game changing experience."

© David del Val, MUHBA

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The Workers Museum, the winner of the Council of Europe Museum Prize 2023

"Absolutely amazing and completely unreal! 

The Council of Europe Musem Prize 2023 confirms us in our effort to communicate the history of the labour movement in a way that strengthens democratic participation and motivates debate in the future of democracy. We are grateful to the Committee for Culture and the European Museum Forum for acknowledging our work and for raising awareness about the value of museums"

Søren Bak-Jensen
Museum Director

© CoE - PACE

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23.5 Hrant Dink Site of Memory, the winner of the Kenneth Hudson Award for Institutional Courage and Professional Integrity, 2023

"Thank you very much for acknowledging our work by honoring us with this meaningful and prestigious award. Each award is a celebration, however for us each award also represents a dilemma. We wish we lived in a world where we only built and created museums that would celebrate life, cherish diversity, co-existence, human rights, peace and acknowledge the courageous efforts of wonderful people while they were alive.

Remembering and dealing with the past is a sort of resistance and a different form of activism that sparks transformative change within communities. 23.5 acts as a space that encourages people to deal with the past while also functioning as a space for dialogue, communication and comprehension. Since January 19th 2007, which marks the day when Hrant Dink was killed, our hearts are wounded and we are trying to heal our wounds through our mission and work. 23.5 offers a unique life story - not every life story can be exhibited. But at the same time killing someone doesn’t mean that that person is dead. As Hrant Dink’s wife Rakel Dink said, each death is a journey to eternity and we are aware how his death produced thousands of seeds.

As Iranian poet Füruğ Ferruhzad said, the bird may die, keep the flight in mind. Hrant Dink’s flight is still continuing, through the work of the Hrant Dink Foundation, through the work of the 23.5 Hrant Dink Site of Memory. His vision and the values he endorsed are inspiring, encouraging many minds and many hearts.

This award is very meaningful as it has ‘courage’ in its name. Horatius once said Sapere Aude, which means “dare to know”, “be brave to know”. We should be courageous and be unafraid of the truth, because the more we are afraid of it, we know that the ghosts of the past will haunt us forever. We should not deny it.

We would like to express our thanks to our entire team at the Hrant Dink Foundation, our board members, advisory board members and our team members who worked very hard, day and night for the creation of our memory site despite all the challenges and despite all the difficulties. And most importantly I would like to thank Hrant Dink’s family for harnessing their incredible pain into power and into action."

Nayat Karakose
Program Coordinator, Hrant Dink Vakfı/ Hrant Dink Foundation

© David del Val, MUHBA

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Museo Chillida Leku, the winner of the Portimão Museum Prize for Welcoming, Inclusion and Belonging, 2023

Receiving the Portimão Museum Prize for Welcoming, Inclusion and Belonging at the European Museum of the Year Awards, EMYA 2023 has been very gratifying for the museum and a confirmation that we are on the right track with our social and educational programme, which fills us with joy. This award reaffirms our desire to be an inclusive museum for the community, an active meeting place where every visitor is at the centre, regardless of their age, origin or background. Chillida Leku is the space designed by Eduardo Chillida, and the artist's thought and work inspire us to make the museum a welcoming place, a refuge for the soul where we can feel good, comfortable and safe, surrounded by art and nature, but it is also a place for reflection, where through art, we can dream of new ways of inhabiting the world in which we live.

General view of the museum with Arco de la Libertad (Arch of Freedom) in the background. Courtesy of the Estate of Eduardo Chillida and Hauser & Wirth. © Zabalaga Leku. San Sebastian, VEGAP, 2022. Photo: Mikel Chillida

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Museum of the mind, the European Museum of the Year Award 2022

This European prize is of unprecedented value and an important recognition for our renovated museum. Based on personal stories, historical objects, art and science, we challenge you to look openly at your own mind and that of others. To belong and participate, regardless of how you feel, look or behave is the foundation of our new permanent exhibition. With this, we as a museum, want to contribute to an inclusive society.

Hans Looijen

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Nano Nagle Place, the winner of the Council of Europe Museum Prize 2022

"We are so honoured to be awarded the Council of Europe Museum Prize 2022 for celebrating human rights, democracy, and intercultural dialogue. Our mission is to take Nano’s values of education and social justice into the twenty-first century. To be recognised at the vanguard of museum practice in our work across heritage and community development, particularly the Lantern Project and the Cork Migrant Centre, confirms our belief that museums really can change the world."

Shane Clarke
CEO of Nano Nagle Place

"Nano Nagle Place has given a new meaning to the concept of the museum. It uses Nano Nagle, a powerful figure from the past, reinterpreting her call for the 21st century to create meaningful change in the present. Nano Nagle’s core mission of outreach and education sits at the centre of the museum, in the form of Cork Migrant Centre and The Lantern Community Project, and that is what makes Nano Nagle Place a museum with a difference, making a difference."

Sr Julie Watson
Presentation Sisters Congregational Leader

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Naturalis Biodiversity Center, the European Museum of the Year Award 2021

It's great that our museum is internationally recognized through this prize. Thank you so much! 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!

Edwin van Huis
General Director

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Stapferhaus, the European Museum of the Year Award 2020

What an honour to have won the EMYA2020! Many thanks to the European Museum Forum and the EMYA jury for this important award. It honours the Stapferhaus, the changeable new building and our exhibition work. In our house the big questions of the present stand at the forefront, the constructive dialogue and thus the audience - old and young, conservative and progressive, experts and laymen. The prize thus also stands for all museums that are not afraid to take on social responsibility. We are looking forward to an exchange with them and the audience!

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Gulag History Museum, the winner of the Council of Europe Museum Prize 2021

On behalf of the GULAG History Museum team I would like to thank the Council of Europe for the prestigious prize. The recognition from international museum community encourages us to continue carrying out the mission that we have projected for our institution - telling the history of the mass repression and thus encouraging reflection on the value of human life.

It is with great sorrow we have all been following the news on how the pandemic has affected lives of millions of people. As we all know, many cultural institutions were forced to dismiss members of staff, sell valuable pieces from their collections and overall rethink their plans. So the prize of the Council of Europe is even more valuable for us in the time when we all have to collaborate and reinvent our role for the community.

Roman Romanov
Director of the GULAG History Museum (Moscow, Russia)

Gulag History Museum, 2021 Winner of the Council of Europe Museum Prize, Museum's expedition to the Butugychag Uranium camp (Magadan Oblast) in 2015

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CosmoCaixa, the winner of the Kenneth Hudson Prize 2021

Here at CosmoCaixa, we want to share just how overjoyed and grateful we are to have received the 2021 Kenneth Hudson Prize from the European Museum Forum, in recognition of our “ability to reinvent ourselves and our interminable contribution to society.” We will keep on working with the same enthusiasm to contribute towards bringing science close to people and building a better society. Thank you to everyone who helps make this possible!

Valentí Farràs
CosmoCaixa Director

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Kenan Yavuz Ethnography Museum, the winner of the silletto Prize 2021

We’ve started with telling the story of our family and now awarded by one of the most prestigious organisations in the world. We are incredibly happy and honoured!

Sincerity, authenticity and simplicity have been at our core, while always continuing to dig deeper into the cultural values of our region. Having won the Silletto Prize, we now will be able to strengthen our institutional structure and have greater support from the public. Our messages will be delivered more effectively and the impact we wish to make locally will be supported by this wonderful international recognition we’ve received.

We will work with all the previous winners of the Silletto Prize as well as its future winners to become solution partners and create synergy through initiating projects together. We will also make sure to grow our network with European museums.

We are looking forward to leveraging every opportunity and guidance that is provided by EMYA and EMF and make sure that we always embody and represent the award we have won at EMYA 2021 in the best ways possible.

Watch the video message from Kenan Yavuz Ethnography Museum

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Gruuthusemuseum, the winner of the Portimão Museum Prize 2021

We are very proud that the Gruuthusemuseum is The Winner of the Portimão Museum Prize 2021! It is an honour for the whole museum staff of Musea Brugge, for all the colleagues and the council of the city of Bruges. 

The museum's high-quality renovation has transformed it into a fully accessible heritage site which now feels like an open welcoming house, designed to serve the needs of all of its guests. We are happy the jury could appreciate this.

Musea Brugge would like to thank the European Museum Forum and the EMYA jury for for the prestigious prize. We will cherish the award, also as an inspiration for next projects. And we are looking forward to a further exchange of our experience with the museum world and our public. 

Welcome in Bruges!

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Museum Walserhaus Bosco Gurin, the winner of the Meyvaert Prize for sustainability 2021

To have won the Meyvaert Prize for Sustainability makes us very proud, and we are thankful to all the EMYA staff, judges and referees. The prize shows us that we are on the right track, it gives us the impetus to continue, it strengthens even more the feeling of togetherness in the whole village and arouses more interest on the part of the public.

Everyone was extremely happy, especially because they are all part of the museum, each according to his or her abilities, and because all have contributed in one way or another to making it possible. What characterises our museum is the lifeblood, the bond with the village and the "people", the passion, the friendship and mutual appreciation, the modesty. To us, every action, decision and activity must show respect for history, tradition, landscape and for the people. It must pursue the goal of contributing to peace-building in the most diverse ways, promoting tolerance and mutual appreciation and showing openness towards the "other".

We will continue in this direction: thank you for sustaining us by this great appreciation.

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Museum of Krakow - Thesaurus Cracoviensis, Special Commendation 2021

Ten months ago, we registered Museum of Krakow – Thesaurus Cracoviensis to European Museum of the Year Award. Almost one year later, I can now say that the dreams really come true. Maybe it just takes some time but the most important thing is to give oneself a chance!

I am really proud of this special commendation which is, in my opinion, a microcosmic reflection of our international museum community. We are citizens of Europe, we are citizens of the world!

I would like to express my appreciation to the European Museum Forum board of trustees, European Museum of the Year Award jury and everyone involved in the organisation of the EMYA 2020-2021 Award Ceremony. Finally, I would like to thank to the whole team of Museum of Krakow that was engaged in creating Thesaurus Cracoviensis. Thank you!

Michał Niezabitowski
Director of the Museum of Krakow

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Rijksmuseum Boerhaave, the European Museum of the Year Award 2019

Rijksmuseum Boerhaave in the Netherlands is honoured to be the winner of the prestigious European Museum of the Year Award 2019. It is a tremendous compliment. Every day we are told by visitors how greatly they appreciate our renewed museum, something we are incredibly proud of. We also welcome many representatives of the museums who come to us for inspiration to introduce innovations in their own museum. This award is really the cherry on the cake.

We have celebrated the award with our staff and visitors and used a wide variety of our communication tools to spread the news. This resulted in many extra visitors in the past few months.

Watch the video message from Rijksmuseum Boerhaave

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Interview on EMYA2013 Kenneth Hudson Prize: Batalha Community Museum

Several months after their prize we wanted to know how they were getting on; we met Ana Luisa Moderno and Cintia Manuela. Located in Batalha town, near Bathalha’s Monastery, a UNESCO monument, the MCCB is seen as an innovative cultural centre, which promotes cultures, knowledge and heritage, in one of the main tourist destinations of Portugal. Kenneth Hudson wanted museums to make a difference to people and for museums to put people first. In this aim, the MCCB won the Kenneth Hudson Prize in 2013 for its work in providing museum experiences for blind and partially-sighted visitors which normalises their experience and addresses an important aspect of equality.

What was your first impression you heard that you won the EMYA 2013 Kenneth Hudson prize?
I remember we were in Tongeren, Belgium and the Kenneth Hudson was the first prize announced; a few seconds before I thought in my head « it’s for us « and we heard our museum, we jumped off our chair ! The second we received the prize we had several phone calls from Portuguese journalist who wanted to have information on us, we hadn’t prepared it and we had to manage a huge amount of demand, it was such an accomplishment.

How was your prize received in Portugal?
As we were the first Portuguese museum who won the Kenneth Hudson Award, we received a lot of solicitations from Portuguese newspaper, radio, television not only specialist magazines but general media. “We were everywhere”. This was a strong feeling of being so proud for the Portuguese museum and Portuguese people.

Did you increase your number of visitors?
Of course we did! But funny enough it was very effective we welcome a large number of visitors only few days after the prize. Everybody wanted to visit us! We also increased our number of visitors in the long term, something like 5000 people more in 2013; this prize is a recognition from the public.

Did this prize change anything in your work?
Clearly not! By receiving this prize we understand that we were working in a good way and we should continue in this direction, this recognition permitted us to be more confident and continue on this way. Receiving an award from a European organisation of museum professionals is a huge breathes for us. It reassures us in our work and our future projects; we won credibility in front visitors and with collaborators. It makes us confident but even more ambitious in developing new projects, to attract the public as much as possible.

Did anything change with the local community?
Since the prize, we won credibility with the schools located around Bathalha, before it we received school group two months a year around March and April but now we have a big demand from the teachers and we organise two or three workshops per month in our museum.

Do you have any anecdote related to the European Museum Forum?
Yes! We received our EMF judge Shirley Collier who stayed two days in Bathalha and we knew that in the EMF model, we could receive a second anonymous visit. One day, during the competition, we received a man who presented himself as a Japanese tourist , he stayed 3 hours in our museum watching everything object by object, we started to be suspicious and thinking maybe it’s a EMYA Judge! Today we still don’t know if it was an anonymous judge or a simple visitor, but EMF doesn’t want to reply to keep the mystery alive!

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Adelheid Ponsioen, Open Air Museum, Arnhem (The Netherlands)

Winning the European Museum of the Year Award (2005) is a great honour. As director of the Open Air Museum in Arnhem, I once experienced it myself and the exposure was great. That year the number of visitors increased considerably.

The EMF, which organises the award of this prize annually, is an important organisation, which once a year brings together a large part of the European Museum World to get to know new developments in the museum world and to see the presentations of the nominees.

The congresses are organised throughout Europe, making it possible to visit a number of museums in the organising country and to get to know the culture of the country. In short, this price and the related prices must remain and the EMF as an organisation, mainly consisting of volunteers, must remain and be supported.