Court orders halt to Naturalis Museum renovations pending the outcome of lawsuit

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On Tuesday the court in The Hague ordered the Naturalis museum in Leiden to "immediately" stop renovations to the building. The building's original architect Fons Verheijen filed a lawsuit saying that the renovations infringe on his copyright. The Hague court ruled that the renovations must be stopped until a court ruled on this lawsuit, NU.nl reports. 

A court ruling on Verheijen's lawsuit is expected in May.

Naturalis plans to expand considerably in the coming years, partly because of increasing visitor numbers. For this expansion, support pillars must be placed on the mezzanine of the building. Architect Verheijen calls this a "mutilation" of his 1998 design. 

The museum's lawyer, Alberdingk Thijm, previously told the Volkskrant that the two parties could not come to a solution theselves.The architect rejected a proposal for compensation. According to the lawyer, if the court rules in May that the building has to remain largely in tact, Naturalis is heading for bankruptcy.

Naturalis "deplores" the Hague court's ruling and is considering an appeal. "We are very disappointed. The museum has grown tremendously in recent years and we have no choice but to expand in order to accommodate our customers properly", director Edwin van Huis said in a written response. According to the museum, the ordered stop has "a great impact on the schedule and cost of the renovations". 

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