Diergaarde Blijdorp

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Diergaarde Blijdorp
Rotterdam Zoo
Blijdorp entree.jpg
Old entrance of the Diergaarde in Blijdorp
Date opened1857
LocationBlijdorp, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Coordinates51°55′37″N 4°26′53″E / 51.9269605°N 4.4481325°E / 51.9269605; 4.4481325Coordinates: 51°55′37″N 4°26′53″E / 51.9269605°N 4.4481325°E / 51.9269605; 4.4481325
Land areaApprox. 26 Hectares
No. of speciesOver 180
MembershipsNVD[1] and EAZA[2]

Diergaarde Blijdorp (lit. Blijdorp Zoo), officially Rotterdam Zoo,[3] is a zoo located in the northwestern part of Rotterdam. It is one of the oldest zoos in the Netherlands, and has been operated by the Stichting Koninklijke Rotterdamse Diergaarde ("Royal Rotterdam Zoo Foundation"). Divided into several zoogeographic regions, the 26-hectare (64.25-acre) Blijdorp Zoo boasts well over 180 species. It also has a shop, multiple cafes, and an information centre.

The zoo is a member of the Dutch Zoo Federation (NVD) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). In 2007, it celebrated its 150th anniversary.


Giraffes and monumental building

The Rotterdam Zoo moved to its new location in the Blijdorp district prior to the bombing of Rotterdam in World War II, which destroyed most of the city centre. The original zoo had been heavily damaged in a bombing two days prior to the Blitz, but it had not been touched by the main bombardment on May 14, 1940. Some streetnames, such as Diergaardesingel (‘Zoo Lane’), still recall the old zoo. The new zoo at Blijdorp was rebuilt slightly to the north, where it opened to the public in its current location on December 7, 1940. The new zoo was designed by Dutch architect Sybold van Ravesteyn, who designed the central railway station of Rotterdam as well. In 2001, Blijdorp became almost twice as large when it opened a new western part, which includes the Oceanium aquarium. In 2007, the zoo was declared a rijksmonument.[4]

In May 2007 the zoo appeared in the news when Bokito, Blijdorp's silverback gorilla, escaped from his enclosure and seriously injured a female visitor. Before the attack, the woman was a regular visitor of the zoo (on average 4 times per week) and claimed to have a special bond with Bokito, regularly touching the glass between her and the gorilla, making eye contact with him and smiling at him.[5]

In October 2010, the city of Rotterdam decided to reduce its yearly funding of Blijdorp from nearly 4.5 to about 0.8 million euro until 2015.[6] The zoo and its supporters protested the decision, claiming it is unclear if the zoo can continue to operate with the reduced budget.[7]

In March 2014, the zoo made headlines when a giraffe licked a former zoo cleaner whose last wish was to revisit the zoo, as he was dying of terminal brain cancer. The video went viral worldwide quickly.[8]

Breeding programs[edit]

A red panda (Ailurus fulgens fulgens) in the zoo, which coordinates the international breeding program for this species

Diergaarde Blijdorp participates in about 70 breeding programs and studbooks, and coordinates a number of these, including the international breeding program for red pandas, EEPs for Asian elephant, Komodo dragon, red-crowned and Siberian crane, Visayan warty pig and Egyptian tortoise, and the ESB (European Studbook) for the crowned pigeons.[9]

Botanical garden[edit]

Blijdorp also houses a botanical garden and manages both the Dutch National Bromelia Collection and the Dutch National Primula Collection.[10]


The Oceanium is an aquarium that opened in the zoo in 2001. The Oceanium lies in the expansion area of the zoo, which includes a new entrance and parking area, and was the biggest project to date for the zoo. The area around the Oceanium is home to projects depicting the Americas.

Animal list[edit]


Chinese Garden
The Amur
Malaysian Forest Edge & Asia House
Asian Swamp
Mongolian Steppe
Taman Indah
Tiger Creek
Other animals



Gorilla exhibit
Crocodile river
(opened 2008)


South America[edit]

North America[edit]



Bass Rock
North Sea
Atlantic Ocean
The Antilles
Sea of Cortez
Californian Kelp Sea

Other animals[edit]


  1. ^ "General". nvdzoos.nl. Dutch Zoo Federation. Retrieved 8 October 2010.
  2. ^ "EAZA Member Zoos & Aquariums". eaza.net. European Association of Zoos and Aquaria. Archived from the original on 19 August 2010. Retrieved 8 October 2010.
  3. ^ On the English version of the official site, "Rotterdam Zoo" is the only name used (since at least 2017). It is also on the bilingual logo of the zoo: "Diergaarde / Blijdorp / Rotterdam Zoo"
  4. ^ "Diergaarde Blijdorp (rijksmonument #530738)". Monumentenregister (in Dutch). Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed. Retrieved 10 February 2012.)
  5. ^ News story on the aftermath of Bokito's escape
  6. ^ Pleidooi tegen voorgenomen subsidiekorting Diergaarde Blijdorp, homepage of Blijdorp zoo, 2010-10-25 (in Dutch)
  7. ^ Blijdorp moet blijven!, homepage of "Vrienden van Blijdorp", a club supporting the zoo, retrieved 2011-02-06
  8. ^ https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/03/22/giraffe-kiss-zoo/6736689/
  9. ^ EAZA list of EEPs and ESBs Archived February 5, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Website Rotterdam Zoo, botanical garden

External links[edit]