The price tag for Berlin’s transformation of a destroyed Prussian-era palace into a museum and cultural centre has grown again, officials confirmed on Friday.

The largely complete Humboldt Forum will now cost a further 33 million euros (39 million dollars), bringing the total budget to 677 million euros, the foundation running the project said.

The coronavirus pandemic was named as the reason for the unforeseen costs. A spokesman for the Humboldt Forum foundation said that the crisis had led to reduced capacity and disruptions across a number of areas, including human resources and logistics.

The palace on the German capital’s central Unter den Linden boulevard was demolished in 1950 after being severely damage in World War II. Its reconstruction has attracted controversy due to its growing budget and repeated delays.

The site is still scheduled to open on December 17 as part of a “phased launch,” the foundation said. Parts of the complex are to initially open to the public four days a week, and become fully accessible from early April.

Covering an area of about 4,000 square-metres, the building is eventually to house the collections of two state museums, including exhibits from Asia, Africa, America and Oceania as well as objects relating to the history of Berlin.

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