Naturalis settles case with architect for €1.5m to stave off bankruptcy

The interior of the Naturalis museum in Leiden.

Leiden’s natural history museum Naturalis can restart work on an extension that was held up by a row with the building’s architect after settling the case.

Fons Verheijen won an injunction last week in his case to block the development, arguing it infringed on his original 1998 design for the museum. A judge agreed that the building was distinctive enough to entitle Verheijen to copyright protection.

The museum agreed to pay the architect €1.5 million to settle the dispute. Verheijen plans to invest the money in a foundation for scientific research and architecture.

Under the terms of the settlement a ‘virtual museum’ including Verheijen’s original interior will also be created and kept online for at least 10 years.

Naturalis said last week it faced bankruptcy if the extension was not allowed to go ahead and any delay could cost tens of millions of euros.