EMYA – European Museum of the Year Award

The European Museum of the Year Award (EMYA) was founded in 1977 under the auspices of the Council of Europe, with the aim of recognising excellence in the European museum scene.

The European Museum Forum (EMF) provides the legal and organisational framework for the annual European Museum of the Year Award scheme (EMYA).


All European museums which are not for profit and have opened or been substantially renewed since January 2020 are eligible to apply. Museums/exhibitions opened for more than 4 years at the time of the application, are not eligible.

Temporary or ‘semi-permanent’ exhibitions can apply but please note that museums/exhibitions need to be open/completed in time for the judging visit (summer – early autumn 2024) and have to remain accessible until at least the end of June 2025.

No individual museum can be submitted for the award within four years of a previous application i.e. in 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 or 2024. (This does not include different branches of a multi-venue museum service.)

All candidates are considered by the EMYA Jury, which is an independent international expert body appointed by the EMF Board of Trustees. Judges are not remunerated by EMF for their participation in the judging process.
Museums applying to enter the competition will be judged in the following way:
A careful assessment of the application form and supporting material. We reserve the right to decline applications if we believe that the criteria for entry have not been met.
The EMYA Jury will agree on a long list of candidates from the remaining applications.
A visit by an EMYA Judge will take place to all long-listed museums during summer/autumn.
Arrangement of the Judge’s visit will be agreed with the museum once the long list has been approved by the Jury.
After the initial visit, another EMYA Judge may visit a candidate museum anonymously for the second time at the discretion of the Jury.
The EMYA Jury meets in November to consider all Judges’ reports and make decisions on the Nominated museums and on the winners.
All Nominated museums are informed about their nomination and are invited to present during the EMYA Annual Conference and Award Ceremony.
Winners are announced on the last day of the Conference in a formal Ceremony and Gala celebration.
The winner of the Council of Europe Museum Prize may be announced earlier, at the discretion of the Council.

A maximum of 20 digital images, in JPEG format. These images should be no less than 300 dpi and be at least 1000×1000 pixels in size. The image files must be of a suitable quality for reproduction and projection. For each image, please specify the following: a unique file name, a title, one line description, a photographer and a copyright holder. The images should include at least one exterior view of the museum and general views of the galleries and activities. We do not require images of individual items.

Please note that these images will be used by the EMF in a number of ways, including publication of a selection in the annual candidates’ brochure. The images must be of a good quality, free of copyright and available for use in the Annual EMYA publications and on the EMF web site.

Any other digital material that you may wish to send to us separately. This could include electronic versions of the museum’s leaflets, brochures or catalogues and a small selection of relevant press cuttings.

If you intend to submit other supporting material via a file-sharing website you should send EMF a notification of the upload (to emf@europeanforum.museum) and also ensure that the files will be available for download for at least one month from the date you upload the files. We would appreciate the upload of complete folders rather than multiple uploads of individual files. A content list of all accompanying material must be sent to us.

Please note: All paper and electronic material will be retained in the EMF Archive after the judging has taken place. The archive is held at the Museu de Portimão in Portugal.

To apply please check HOW TO APPLY section.

The European Museum of the Year Award and the series of related awards are given out each year at the annual conference and awards ceremony.

The rigorous judging process involving visits to up to 60 museums culminates in an annual conference and awards ceremony with the participation of 250 – 300 leading museum professionals, at which the candidates present their museums, the winners are announced, and the underlying values and innovative ideas in the European museum field are discussed, renewed and reinterpreted.

With EMYA’s accumulated over 40 years of traditions and insights into the societal and community needs, which drive, create, develop and sustain museums as crucial civic spaces for the exploration of Europe’s heritage, the conference serves as a continuous benchmark for innovation and best practices for the sector.

For a full list of previous winners please see WINNERS page.

EMF/EMYA is dedicated to promoting excellence in innovation and public quality in museum practice, encouraging networking and exchange of ideas and sustainable best practices within the sector.

EMF/EMYA works within an overall framework of a commitment to citizenship, democracy and human rights, to sustainability and to bridging cultures and social and political borders.

The different awards within the EMYA scheme reflect, represent, and emphasize different aspects and dimensions of these values.

The two main awards, the EMYA and the Council of Europe Museum Prize, have been awarded continuously since 1977. The EMYA award scheme responds to long term societal changes as well as current urgent social issues, and reflects the challenges, obligations and opportunities which museums face in the 21st century.

The EMYA awards frame and embed professional qualities within a set of social, humanitarian and sustainable values. The highly structured judging process roots the assessment of quality firmly in the actual, specific and concrete museum experience of each candidate for the awards and ensures the ability to discern professional quality, innovation and creativity across the vast differences in traditions, contexts and obligations, in museum types, scales and sources and size of funding.

An average of around 45 museums apply each year, from across the 47 CoE member countries, with winners distributed across museums of all types, scales, disciplines and locations. 2020 set the record with 61 candidates.

Museum candidates are either new museums, first opened to the public within the past three years, or established museums that have renewed their organisation and completed a substantial programme of modernisation and extension of their buildings and galleries.

To read more about EMYA/EMF please the EMYA SCHEME section.


The EMYA Annual Conference and Awards Ceremony takes place over three days, usually in May the year after application, and is a unique opportunity to get an overview of museum creativity right across Europe and to network with those leading these innovations.


Award winners are obliged to promote EMF via their institutional website indicating the place and year the award was won.
All nominees have permission to use the EMYA logo on their website by following the copyright rules set out by EMF.
All nominees of the EMYA will be published on the EMF website.
All publicity generated by the awards should be forwarded to EMF via email or the below address.
Please carefully read the EMF/EMYA Privacy Statement and Media Guidelines before submitting your application.


The winners of the European Museum of the Year Award, Silletto Prize and Portimão Museum Prize will receive a trophy to be displayed in their museum for one year.
Awardees are obliged to provide facilities (environmental, security, insurance, packing and couriered transport for the hand-over etc.) to maintain the award in appropriate conditions and cover the related expenses.
The awardee should indemnify the award trophy (EMYA Award, Silletto Prize, Portimão Museum Prize) against all insurable risks from the moment it is handed over until its return to EMF at the subsequent EMF Annual Assembly and EMYA Ceremony.
The EMYA winner is expected to personally courier the trophy and give a brief presentation about the impact of the award during the subsequent EMF Annual Conference and EMYA Ceremony.
For further information, please contact Georgia National Correspondent: Lana Karaia