The Basque Government recovers the project of the Guggenheim Museum in Gernika for European funds

The crisis prevented the idea from materializing in 2008. Two years ago, preparations began for the expansion, looking for spaces, waiting for financing. Now you look at Europe and you dream of housing Picasso

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The list of 188 projects That the Basque Government presents to qualify for 5,703 million European Next Generation EU funds was until this Tuesday the best kept secret of the Government. Not even before the Basque Parliament on December 9, the Minister Azpìazu wanted to reel off the content of the list because it would generate “noise” when they were still working on it. The Governing Council this Tuesday has approved the list and the mystery has been revealed. Not all of them are novel. Some of them have been hanging around the offices of the Basque Government for years and now they can get the definitive boost from Europe.

This is the case, for example of Guggenheim museum in Gernika.


This project of the Provincial Council of Bizkaia opts for 81 million of the EU Recovery and Resilience Mechanism (MRR), although the total estimated investment would amount to 127 million euros.

It is a green extension of the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum which, according to the Basque Government, “promotes culture, the economy, the recovery of soils degraded by industrial activity and respect for the landscape and the environment in a harmonious way.”

The recovery of this project for the Urdaibai among those who opt for European funds has particularly pleased the mayor of Gernika, Jose MarÃa Gorroo, which in statements to Radio Euskadi confirmed that the Biscay Provincial Council has “an important piece of land in Gernika, near the estuary and in an urban area”.


The mayor considers that it is a “respectful with the environment and an opportunity for the region” project, and that “it would be the perfect place to claim Picasso’s Guernica from the Central Government”.

Two years ago, in 2018, the Guggenheim Museum Board of Trustees recovered the expansion of the Museum in Urdaibai within its strategic plan until 2020, and the art gallery director himself, Juan Ignacio Vidarte, visited some of the possible sites in Gernika, while both the Diputació and the Basque Government waited for the right economic moment to undertake the work. So it was about “having your homework done” for when the time came, which may be now, if European funds finally arrive.

We must go back to 2008, when the Guggenheim had already been in operation for a decade and had already contributed to the transformation of Bilbao from an industrial city to a tourist attraction point, when the Biscay Provincial Council, then under the command of Josà © Luis Bilbao, announced the intention of creating a new Guggenhiem in Gernika. The crisis paralyzed the project, which now returns to the present day with its sights set on Europe.

From the list approved today by the Basque Government, the expansion of the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, which did appear in the provisional list for August, has fallen.

The project is eligible for European financing with 2.8 million euros. rehabilitation of the Miramar Palace of San Sebastián.

It is about the comprehensive rehabilitation of the building, from the 19th century, and its “transformation into an Inclusive, Sustainable Building and Adapted to the Digital Age, respecting the” historical heritage it represents.

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