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"Queen Fabiola of Belgium, Madrid, 1928 - Stuyvenberg Castle, Belgium, 2014. Personal Recollections"

The following are short tributes for Queen Fabiola. She was the royal patron of the European Museum Forum for many years. She is remembered by all who met her with admiration. We have collected some of our thoughts here to celebrate her life. If you would like to add your own, please contact us.

In 2005, I took a photo of Queen Fabiola visiting the Natural History Museum in Brussels. She was an inquisitive museum visitor, eager to know, always asking many questions. She was genuinely interested in all things and, especially, people around her. Queen Fabiola was, herself, a good storyteller. She once recalled that as a child she dreamt of becoming a policewoman, directing road traffic at a busy crossroads, and of selling pastries and coffees at a railway station cafe.

She took her position as EMF Patron very seriously, reading through the EMYA brochures and listening to candidates' presentations when she attended the sessions. After the final awards ceremony, she made a point of speaking with representatives of the winning museums, expressing her natural curiosity towards their work. In 2008 EMF presented her with a Russian church bell for her birthday, which I carried all the way from Moscow to Dublin. Months later I saw it in her Brussels palace, where she told me she rang it regularly when children came to stay with her to summon them to dinner. I don't have monarchist leanings nor sympathies but I was a true admirer of Queen Fabiola. (Personal memories of an EMF Trustee)

A slight but tremendously forceful lady, whose style - almost of another era - never took away from her sense of humour. She recalled quietly one time how exciting it would have been to have married a policeman rather than a king - a comment that showed her natural curiosity and rarefied understanding of the "real" world.

(Personal memories of an EMF Trustee)


During the EMYA meeting that was held in Barcelona in 1995,  Kenneth Hudson approached Queen Fabiola asking her to become a patron of EMF. She accepted graciously.

Queen Fabiola was a gentle person. She had genuine cultural interests and was a supporter of heritage and museums.

I met her during a holiday she spent on the island of Tinos in the Cyclades, as a guest on the Van der Stoel estate.  She was visiting Greece for her vacation, and I had the chance of meeting her and appreciating her knowledge of Greek history.

Tinos, shaped for centuries by its Venetian rulers, has both Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic communities. I imagine, as a fervent believer herself, she appreciated the religious mix of the islanders. Queen Fabiola would visit the city port of Tinos and became known and appreciated by the islanders for her simplicity. She visited the Church of Panagia Megalohari which houses the reputedly miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary, the archaeological Museum of the island with collections dating back to the Mycenean period - all tourist landmarks which, surprisingly, she visited unescorted.

Her interest and admiration of classical Greek culture accompanied her throughout her life.

(Personal recollections of an EMF Trustee)

EMYA 2015 Nominees



The European Museum Forum is delighted to reveal the 42 nominees for the European Museum of the Year Award 2015. The judging panel received applications from 21 member countries of the Council of Europe.




European Museum of the Year 2015 Award – Nominations

Alpinarium Galtür Documentation GmbH, Galtür, Austria

Vorarlberg museum , Vorarlberg, Austria

Maiden Tower, Baku, Azerbaijan

Museum on the Yser, Diksmuide, Belgium

Red Star Line Museum, Antwerpen, Belgium

Faust Vrančić Memorial Centre, Prvić Luka, Croatia

Danish Maritime Museum, Helsingør, Denmark

Forssa Museum, Forssa, Finland

The Finnish Nature Centre Haltia , Espoo, Finland

Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations, Marseille, France

MuPop, Montluçon, France

The Familistère at Guise, Guise, France

"Wind Force 10" Shipwreck and Fisheries Museum, Cuxhaven, Germany

LIMESEUM at Ruffenhofen Roman Park, Wittelshofen, Germany

Kaufbeuren Museum of Local History , Kaufbeuren, Germany

State Museum of Egyptian Art, Munich, Munich, Germany

Tchoban Foundation. Museum for Architectural Drawing, Berlin, Germany

Byzantine and Christian Museum, Athens, Greece

MUSE – Science Museum, Trento, Italy

The Fram Museum, Oslo, Norway

National Maritime Museum, Gdansk, Poland

Perm Regional Museum: Museum of Permian Antiquities, Perm, Russia

Federal State-Financed Institution of Culture The State Historical Museum, Moscow, Russia

Cultural institution of national importance, Loznica, Tršić / Loznica, Serbia

National Museum in Zrenjanin, Zrenjanin, Serbia

Ene.térmica , LEÓN, Spain

VINSEUM, Museum of the Wine Cultures of Catalonia, Vilafranca del Penedès, Spain

Naval Museum, Karlskrona, Sweden

Sasso San Gottardo, Airolo, Switzerland

Swiss National Museum – Château de Prangins, Prangins, Switzerland

Watch Museum – Joux Valley, Le Sentier, Switzerland

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, Geneva, Switzerland

The Olympic Museum, Lausanne, Switzerland

National Archives of the Netherlands , The Hague, Netherlands

Portuguese Synagogue and Ets Haim- Livraria Montezinos, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Dutch Resistance Museum , Amsterdam, Netherlands

Aydın Archaeology Museum, Aydin, Turkey

Pavlo Tychyna Literary Memorial Museum-Apartment, Kiev, Ukraine

National Football Museum, Manchester, United Kingdom

Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth, United Kingdom

Titanic Belfast, Belfast, United Kingdom

EMYA 2015 Judging Panel Meeting in Paris

The Judging Panel of the European Museum Forum held its meeting on 21-22 November at ICOM Secretariat Office in Paris to determine the nominations for the European Museum of the Year Award 2015 (EMYA).

The winners will be announced at the Award Ceremony traditionally closing the Annual Assembly of the European Museum Forum which will take place on 13-16 May 2015 in Glasgow, United Kingdom.


European Museum of the Year Award 2014

Museum of Innocence: Turkish Museum is the European Museum of the Year 2014

The 2014 European Museum of the Year Award goes to the Museum of Innocence, Istanbul, Turkey . The European Museum Forum presented three further awards and five special commendations to museums demonstrating excellence and innovation in delivering public quality.

Tallinn, Estonia, 17 May 2014 - The European Museum of the Year Award (EMYA) organised by the European Museum Forum (EMF), has been presented this year for the 37th time, with the 2014 Award Ceremony hosted by the Art Museum of Estonia in Tallinn.

Read about the full results below.