The launch of Naturalis Biodiversity Center and its over 37 million objects – has created a world-class, natural history collection ranking fifth in the world, both in size and content.
Top ‘must see’ collections
Naturalis Biodiversity Center has merged the collections of the Amsterdam Zoological Museum and the Dutch National Herbarium (formerly held by the universities of Leiden, Amsterdam and Wageningen) and integrated these with the State collections and Utrecht University’s herbarium collection (already curated by Naturalis Biodiversity Center).
We now curate one of the largest natural history collections in the world, comprising of:
- 18.100.000 insects
- 5.800.000 invertebrates
- 1.900.000 vertebrates
- 3.200.000 fossils
- 800.000 stones and minerals
- 4.600.000 higher plants
- 605.000 mosses
- 282.000 lichen
- 135.000 ferns
- 350.000 fungi
- 250.000 algae
- 12.000 galls
- 6.000 myxomycetes
- 121.000 wood samples
- 140.000 books
- 14.000 magazine titles
- 57.000 paintings and drawings
- 13.000 maps
- 91.500 microfiches
- 310.000 photos, slides and glass negatives
We curate these collections both for scientific purposes and to preserve this part of our national heritage for future generations.
Our collections focus primarily on the Netherlands and neighbouring countries, while South-East Asia, tropical America and Africa are also well-represented. We also have important fossil and rock collections from the subsurface.
Sources of knowledge and inspiration
As well as merging the collections, we also integrate them for optimal use by scientists from the Netherlands and elsewhere. We have digitized all 37 million objects and 7 million in highly detailed level, funded by the Dutch Economic Structure Enhancing Fund (FES). More and more objects can now be accessed on the internet. Parts of the collection are on display in the museum for a wider audience. Naturalis Biodiversity Center's added value is that we can combine these largely complementary collections and make them accessible at a central location. This attracts national and international scientists and ensures intensive use and an increase in scientific and social output.
Each fossil, skeleton and preserved organism yields valuable information on evolution and the organisms’ distributions and ecological functions, and so represents part of the key to successful conservation and sustainable development in the future.