Van Kleef Aquarium

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Van Kleef Aquarium
Van Kleef Aquarium.jpg
Van Kleef Aquarium
Date opened8 September 1955
Date closed31 May 1991
LocationRiver Valley Road, Singapore
Coordinates1°17′34.4″N 103°50′42.7″E / 1.292889°N 103.845194°E / 1.292889; 103.845194Coordinates: 1°17′34.4″N 103°50′42.7″E / 1.292889°N 103.845194°E / 1.292889; 103.845194
No. of animals6,500
No. of species180
Annual visitors400,000 (1970s)
248,000 (1985)

Van Kleef Aquarium was a oceanarium formerly located at Fort Canning Park facing River Valley Road in Singapore. The aquarium was opened in September 1955, closed in 31 May 1991, reopened as World of Aquarium in 1991 and as Fort Canning Aquarium in 1993 respectively. The Aquarium closed for the last time in 1996 and subsequently demolished in 1998.


The aquarium was named after Karel Willem Benjamin Van Kleef who was Dutch but resided in Singapore in the 19th and early 20th century. Van Kleef donated his fortune to the Singaporean government to build the aquarium after his death. When the aquarium opened it contained 6,500 marine creatures of 180 different species. There were salt water, fresh water and swamp water tanks. The building was fully air-conditioned. 270,000 visitors came in its first year of operation. During the 1970s the average number of visitors was about 400,000 annually.


Visitor numbers had fallen to 248,000 in 1985. The aquarium was closed from 1986 to 1987 for renovations costing S$750,000. The number of visitors was not to reached its 1970s peak again. The opening of Underwater World on Sentosa island in 1991 further depressed visitor numbers. The Ministry of National Development of Singapore closed the Van Kleef Aquarium in 31 May 1991.

Further reopenings, closures and demolition[edit]

In October 1991, the aquarium was leased out to a private company and was reopened as World of Aquarium. The building’s façade was renovated and the aquarium bred and sold tropical fish. World of Aquarium closed in February 1993.

Several months later, the aquarium reopened again as Fort Canning Aquarium but this endeavour was also short-lived.

The aquarium closed its doors for the last time in 1996. The building was demolished in 1998.[1]

List of animals[edit]

  • Sharks
  • Stone fish
  • Piranhas
  • Crocodiles [2]
  • Sea-snakes
  • Electric Eels

See also[edit]