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Naturalis Biodiversity Centre
WLANL - thedogg - Mammoet (2).jpg
Mammoth skeleton on display in the section
about prehistoric animals
Naturalis is located in South Holland
Location in South Holland in the Netherlands
Location Leiden, Netherlands
Coordinates 52°09′53″N 4°28′24″E / 52.16472°N 4.47333°E / 52.16472; 4.47333Coordinates: 52°09′53″N 4°28′24″E / 52.16472°N 4.47333°E / 52.16472; 4.47333
Type Natural history museum
Collection size 37 million objects[1]

271,000 (2011 est.)[2]

Director Edwin van Huis[3]
President Cees Veerman[3]
Public transit access Leiden Centraal[4]

Naturalis Biodiversity Center is a national museum of natural history and a research center on biodiversity in Leiden, Netherlands.


Naturalis originated from the merger of the Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Historie (abbreviated RMNH) and the Rijksmuseum van Geologie en Mineralogie (abbreviated RGM) in 1984. In 1986 it was decided that the museum had to become a public museum and a new building was built. The new building cost about €60 million, making it the second most expensive museum building in the Netherlands.[citation needed]


The tower of Naturalis, in which almost the entire collection is housed

The current museum is known for the numerous objects in its collections. Prior to the merger with the Zoölogisch Museum Amsterdam and National Herbarium of the Netherlands, there were approximately 10 million zoological and geological specimens in the Naturalis collection.

Following the merged with the collections of the Zoölogisch Museum Amsterdam and National Herbarium of the Netherlands in 2011-12, there are approximately 37 million specimens.[1]

The collections are stored in a 60-meter-high tower, a landmark in Leiden, opened in April 1998.


Besides its temporary exhibition the museums has several permanent exhibitions:

  • Nature Theater (Animals, plants, fungi, one-celled organisms, bacteria, stones, and minerals: an impression of nature in all its various forms.)
  • Primeval Parade (A parade of fossils shows the history of the earth and the development of life.)
  • Earth (Games and signs inform the visitor about the Earth's complexities.)
  • Life (It displays how plants and animals live and survive on earth. )
  • Earth Inside (For children and their parents to discover in a playful way how nature works.)
  • Biotechnology (Games and movies show the visitor how essential DNA is to all life processes.)
  • Treasure Chamber (Special security and storage conditions protect the precious gemstones, including a collection that once belonged to the Dutch King William I, and the mounted skins of animals that became extinct over the past few hundred years.)



  1. ^ a b Collections, Naturalis. Retrieved on 08-03-2012.
  2. ^ (Dutch) Recordjaar aantal scholieren Naturalis (press release), Naturalis, 2011. Retrieved on 08-03-2012.
  3. ^ a b Who’s who at NCB Naturalis, Naturalis. Retrieved on 08-03-2012.
  4. ^ Getting there, Naturalis. Retrieved on 08-03-2012.

External links[edit]