Naturalis, Netherlands' national institute for biodiversity, opened its new museum building in August 2019 and was visited by 275,000 people in its first four months. It has one of the world's largest natural history collections and employs 820 staff.
The Emya jury said of Naturalis: “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, said: “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.”
The 2021 Emya winner, Stapferhaus, was founded in 1960 but only moved into its first permanent home in 2018. Its building at Lenzburg railway station has exhibition spaces and offices under one roof. The organisation uses interactive displays to explore contemporary issues. Its current exhibition looks at gender and sex.
The Emya jury said of Stapferhaus: “The main award for 2020 goes to a museum which asks difficult questions, explores big ideas, and fosters a culture of debate. They choose themes based not on a collection but on rigorous research about what is important to their community, themes which most museums would not dream of addressing. Through its innovative, creative, and future-oriented approach, it offers a model for the museum as laboratory for the art of living – as all museums should be.”