Naturalis Biodiversity Center

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Naturalis Biodiversity Center
WLANL - thedogg - Mammoet (2).jpg
Mammoth skeleton on display in the section
about prehistoric animals
Naturalis Biodiversity Center is located in South Holland
Naturalis Biodiversity Center
Location in South Holland in the Netherlands
Established 9 August 1820 (1820-08-09)
Location Darwinweg 2[1]
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 National museum
Natural history museum
Research center
Collection size 37 million objects[2]
Visitors 285,000 (2013 est.)[3]
Ranked 15th nationally (2013)
Director Edwin van Huis[4]
Curator René Dekker[4]
Public transit access Leiden Centraal/LUMC[1]

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 the national public natural history 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 merger with the collections of the Zoölogisch Museum Amsterdam and National Herbarium of the Netherlands in 2011-12, there are now approximately 37 million specimens.[2]

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


Besides its temporary exhibition the museum 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 Getting there, Naturalis. Retrieved on 20 December 2014.
  2. ^ a b Collections, Naturalis. Retrieved on 20 december 2014.
  3. ^ (Dutch) Daan van Lent & Pieter van Os, "Musea doen het goed: aantal bezoekers in 2013 fors gestegen", NRC Handelsblad, 2013. Retrieved on 20 December 2014.
  4. ^ a b Management and Trustees, Naturalis. Retrieved on 20 December 2014.

External links[edit]