In December 2018, the government started to examine the possibility of moving the Hungarian Natural History Museum to the countryside. Debrecen was the targeted location, and Mayor of Debrecen László Papp indicated in May 2019 that the city would welcome the museum, which would house the most important public collection in eastern Hungary.
In February 2020, Gergely Gulyás, the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office, confirmed that Debrecen had been chosen as the new location of the museum.
At that event, Minister of Innovation and Technology László Palkovics said at the press conference that the government has approved Debrecen’s development concept for 2030, which aims to make the city the center of Hungary’s eastern region
Discussing the Debrecen 2030 program, the minister highlighted the expansion of the local airport, the continuation of the eastern ring road bypassing the city, and the relocation of the Hungarian Natural History Museum to Debrecen.
At a press conference on January 7, 2022, László Papp said that, at the end of December 2021, the government had agreed to provide HUF 2.4 billion in funding to enable the city to carry out the preparatory work necessary for the realization of the Natural History Museum. As part of this, a detailed feasibility study will be carried out, on the basis of which the government will have the final say regarding the project. This will be followed by a tendering process, which, if successful, will lead to preparations for a permit and construction plans.
The mayor stressed that it will take several years of preparation. Oláh Gábor Street has been proposed as the new location of the museum, as the area is home to a large disused facility. It is a state-owned site, which the state no longer needs. Furthermore, it is surrounded by woodland, which would fit in well with the museum’s profile, and also has a direct link to the zoo.
The proposed site is also close to Főnix Aréna and is easily accessible from Highway 4 and by public transport. Several buildings of the University of Debrecen are nearby as well.
“The University has previously indicated that it can provide the necessary support for its training and research background,” László Papp pointed out.
In addition, a storage building would be located along Highway 4, he said.
Member of Parliament Lajos Kósa said that the Natural History Museum should look for new ways of presenting its collections, including more interactivity. The MP added that Debrecen has all the key points for a successful museum, and the goal is for more and more families to want to bring their children to this institution, he added.