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Steven van der Mije

Project Leader Activities


Email: steven.vandermije@naturalis.nl
Phone: +31 (0)71-75 17 311
Room number: C.04.32, Darwinweg 2
“Working with these objects is great.”

I have always been interested in nature, and working with these objects is great. But I am not constantly working with dead objects, I also work with people, visitors and colleagues, so this job has it all.


I started my work at Naturalis Biodiversity Center in 1998. When we moved out of the old museumbuidings at Raamsteeg 2 to the current location, I had gained expertise on how to move and organise museum objects. Since then I never stopped working in the collection. In 2009 I became collection manager of the Birds and Mammals section and since April 2014 I am head of the Vertebrate and Invertebrate Collections, so all of zoology except insects. With a permanent staff of around 16 and some volunteers we are responsible for the maintenance of the collections, their growth, registration of specimens and their availability for research and exhibitions.

In addition to my activities in the collection, I am also coordinator of the Whale Beaching Team.


Collection interest

Whale Beaching Team

As a coordinator of the Whale Beaching Team, it is my task to organize all the work surrounding a beached whale. When a whale or larger dolphin strands and is deceased, our team heads out to the beaching location. We assist with the autopsy and secure the skeleton and other parts for the purposes of science. This happens on average twice a year. When the skeleton is preparated, it's added to our collection. It is important to do research on these stranded whales in order to know why they strand. For example, humpback whales never stranded until 10-15 years ago. It is of great concern to do research on why it happens now. That's why we monitor all whale beachings on the Dutch coast since the year 1255 on our whalebeaching website (in Dutch).

The team:

Steven van der Mije – coordination, organization, communication
Kees van der Blom – instructions and preparation
Karen van Dorp – parasites and preparation
Becky Desjardins – preparation
Esther Dondorp – preparation
Jan Hakhof – preparation
Ronald de Ruiter - preparation
Cor Strang – preparation
Pepijn Kamminga - preparation


whales, mammalia, mammals, aves, birds, whale beaching


Fast running restricts evolutionary change of the vertebral column in mammals. Frietson Galis, David R Carrier, Joris van Alphen, Steven D van der Mije, Tom J M Van Dooren, Johan A J Metz, Clara M A Ten Broek. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 07/2014.

Differentiation in neutral genes and a candidate gene in the pied flycatcher: using biological archives to track global climate change. Kerstin Kuhn, Klaus Schwenk, Christiaan Both, David Canal, Ulf S Johansson, Steven van der Mije, Till Töpfer, Martin Päckert. Ecology and Evolution 11/2013; 3(14):4799-814.

The first wolf found in the Netherlands in 150 years was the victim of a wildlife crime. Barbara Gravendeel, Arjen de Groot, Marja Kik, Kevin K. Beentjes, Harco Bergman, Romolo Caniglia, Herman Cremers, Elena Fabbri, Dick Groenenberg, Andrea Grone, [......], Leo Linnartz, Dirk van der Marel, Jaap L. Mulder, Steven van der Mije, Aline M. Nieman, Carsten Nowak, Ettore Randi, Meta Rijks, Arjen Speksnijder, Hubert B. Vonhof. Lutra. 01/2013; 56(2):93-109.

Locating specimens of extinct tiger (Panthera tigris) subspecies: Javan tiger (P. t. sondaica), Balinese tiger (P. t. balica), and Caspian tiger (P. t. virgata), including previously unpublished specimens. Yamaguchi N, Driscoll CA, Werdelin L, Abramov AV, Csorba G, Cuisin J, Fernholm B, Hiermeier M, Hills D, Hunter L, [......], Nowak-Kemp M, Pavlinov IY, Renoud F, Tomsett L, van der Mije S, Zholnerovskaya E, Groves C, Kitchener AC, Nijman V, Macdonald DW. Mammal Study 01/2013; 38:187-198.

Breaking evolutionary and pleiotropic constraints in mammals: On sloths, manatees and homeotic mutations. Irma Varela-Lasheras, Alexander J Bakker, Steven D van der Mije, Johan Aj Metz, Joris van Alphen, Frietson Galis. EvoDevo 01/2011; 2:11.