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 the Mayor of Debrecen László Papp indicated in May 2019 that the city would welcome the museum, which would be 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 museum’s new location.
At a press conference on the details on the 7th of January 2022, László Papp said that a grant agreement had been signed with the government at the end of December 2021, with the government providing HUF 2.4 billion in funding to enable the city to carry out the preparatory works necessary for the realization of the Natural History Museum. As part of this, a detailed feasibility study will be carried out, based on which the government will have the final say. It will be followed by a tendering process, which, if successful, will lead to the preparation of the plans for the permit and the construction plans.
The mayor stressed that it will take several years of preparation. They were initially looking at two sites and proposed Oláh Gábor Street as the museum’s new location. He said that there are several arguments in favour of the Oláh Gábor Street site over the alternatives. It is a sizeable disused facility, which the Nagyerdei Stadium took over in 2014. It is a state-owned site, which the state does not need to purchase. Furthermore, it is surrounded by woodland, which would fit in nicely with the museum’s profile, and it also has a direct link with the zoo, so the two institutions will be able to communicate well with each other in the future.
It is also close to the Főnix Aréna, and it is easily accessible from the main road 4, by public transport. Several buildings of the University of Debrecen are nearby.
“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 building with storage functions would be located along Highway 4, at the municipal area around the Apafa shooting range, he said.
Member of the Parliament Lajos Kósa said that the Natural History Museum should look for new ways and move towards interactivity. The MP added that Debrecen has all the key points for a successful museum. The aim would be that more and more families will feel that they want to bring their children to this institution, he added.