Darwinweg 2

2333 CR
Phone: +31 71 – 5687600
Fax: +31 71 – 5687666
Website: http://www.naturalis.nl/a

Naturalis – National Museum Of Natural History

The mission statement of the Naturalis National Natural History Museum Foundation

We aim to use our unique natural history collection to make a real contribution to furthering the knowledge and appreciation of nature across the widest possible sample of Dutch society.

We therefore want to be THE natural history museum of the Netherlands, operating within an international network.

We will achieve this by:
• Managing the largest archive in the field of natural history in the Netherlands;
• Bringing together knowledge of the diversity of nature, now and in the past, and of mans role therein;
• Adopting various means to make this knowledge accessible and ensure it reaches a wide range of sectors in society.


The new museum building was designed by architect Fons Verheijen and completed in 1998.

Technologically advanced, the design also provides a visual bond between the public and research spaces; with the labs and offices visible from the exhibition areas, and vice versa.

Scaling the heights
The collection tower stands 62 metres tall, rising high above the Leiden skyline. Clad in steel slabs designed to look like snake or fish scales, the tower serves as both archive and treasury, storing over 10 million precious objects in 40 rooms, inside each of which light, humidity and temperature are all precisely controlled.

Step back in time
An 80 metre footbridge connects the new museum to Naturalis reception area, the former Leiden Pesthuis.

A plague on your house
The Pesthui... [ Read all ]

Permanent Collection

5,250,000 insects
2,290,000 invertebrates
1,000,000 vertebrates
1,160,000 fossils
440,000 stones and minerals
2,000 precious stones
10,000 objects in an educative collection

10 million objects
the collection of Naturalis is extraordinarily large. The result of centuries of collecting, along with the Dutch talent for trade. The exhibition spaces are able to show but a fraction of the entire collection just some 10,000 items.

The vast majority of the collection in all, about 10 million objects is systematically archived in the collection towers.

World Top 10 Collection
The collection is unique by virtue of the great number of so-called type-samples that it contains.
With the discovery of a new animal type, a single example is designated as a standard of that type and then becomes the basis for describing the type. These type-examples are quite invaluable to science. In terms of the quality and number of type-examples and other pieces of historical value, Naturalis has one of 10 finest collections in the world.


Discover Linnaeus in Naturalis

Naturalis is pleased to present A look at the collection: classification in commemoration of the tercentenary of the birth of the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus. From 30 June to 28 October 2007 this exhibition will outline the history of taxonomy. Even today, we still use the system invented by Linnaeus. From 23 May you can also take a digital walk through the city of Leiden as Linnaeus knew it.

Order in nomenclatural chaos
The diversity in nature is overwhelming. Millions of species live on the land, in the air and in the water. Scientists seek to discover, study and describe that diversity. And the way they identify species is still based on the ideas of two founding fathers of natural history museums, Carl Linnaeus and Georges Buffon.
The A look at the collection: classification exhibition enables us to travel through the history of taxonomy, the basis of which was laid by Linnaeus. We start in the 17th century, where a Cabinet of Curiosities symbolises the view people had of nature more than three centuries ago. Travelling through the earliest scientific collections and natural history museums we ultimately arrive at the present-day system of classification.

Leiden through Linnaeus' eyes
Linnaeus lived in the Netherlands from 1735 to 1738. Naturalis, Hortus (the Leiden Botanical Gardens) and the Leiden Museum Group have together designed a digital Linnaeus walk. Using a PDA hand computer, you can walk through Leiden and see 17 historical spots associated with the father of taxonomy.

PDA's are available at the receptions desk of Naturalis at the cost of 5€


From 31 August 2007 until 24 March 2008, the e...+ [ Read all ]


children under 4 free
children 4 - 12 € 5,00
children 13 - 17 € 6,00
Adults € 9,00
CJP € 8,00
'Museumkaart' free
Groups > 10 pers. € 1,00 reduction on full rate
We acccept credit cards

Opening hours

Tuesday-Friday 10 am - 5 pm, closed on Monday.
Saturday-Sunday 10 am - 6 pm

During school vacations and on public holidays: Monday-Sunday 10 am - 6 pm

Closed 25 December and 1 January.

Getting there

Naturalis is located close to Leiden Central Station.

Naturalis can be reached by car, but the car park near the museum is small and subject to parking fees. Paid parking is also available in the LUMC multi-storey car park, which is a 5-minute walk from the museum.The historical town centre of Leiden and the other Leiden museums are a mere 15-minute walk from the museum. You may also board the City Shuttle for free transport to the shopping district or one of the other museums.
Address: Darwinweg 2, 2333 BA Leiden
Please consult this map http://www.naturalis.nl//sites/naturalis.en/contents/i000915/plattegrondleiden.j

How to get there

by train
- get off the train at NS Leiden Central Station
- leave the station at the LUMC/ Oegstgeest side
- walk toward the LUMC Hospital
- follow the pedestrian signs to Naturalis (approx. 10 minutes walk)

by scheduled bus service
- get off the bus at the LUMC bus stop
- follow the pedestrian signs to Naturalis (approx. 10 minutes walk)

by car from Amsterdam
- take the A4 motorway until the junction with the A44 motorway near Burgerveen
- turn onto the A44 in the direction of Leiden West
- leave the motorway at exit 8 Leiden
- follow the signs for Leiden Centrum (Plesmanlaan)
- follow the signs for Naturalis (Darwinweg)

by car from Utrecht
- from Bodegraven, follow the N11 to Leiden
- turn left onto the A4 motorway in the direction of Den Haag
- leave the motorway at the next exit (= exit 7, Zoeterwoude-Dorp)
- follow the N206 towards Leiden
- keep following the N206 towards Leiden Zuid
- follow the N206 for a further six kilometres in the direction of Katwijk
- near the Holi...+ [ Read all ]


The museum is accessible for wheelchair users.
Naturalis has been awarded the International Accessibility Symbol (IAS) in recognition of the measures we have taken to ensure that visits for people with disabilities are as pleasant as possible.

All exhibition spaces are easily accessible for wheelchair users, who can move freely around the galleries and exhibitions. A person accompanying you as a wheelchair-user will be admitted free of charge.

Further special access measures include:
Disabled parking spaces very close to the entrance. For more information, call: 071-568 7600
Free use of wheelchairs, available from the entrance area.
CAPD (Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis) room. To use the CAPD room, please phone the Events Office in advance on 071-568 7700
Special guided tours for visually impaired people. To arrange a tour, please phone the Events Office in advance on 071-568 7700
More information http://www.naturalis.nl//naturalis.en/naturalis.en/i000204.html

Museum shop
The Museum shop sells a wide range of natural history and geology books, as well as CDs and CD-ROMs for all ages. We also stock splendid fossils, minerals and stones and many souvenir items, including model dinosaurs, jewellery, toys and games. Access to the shop is free during the museums opening hours.

Museum internal and external photos (5)

Click on the images to enlarge

News and events

Dodo expedition ends succesfully
Press release

The Dodo expedition ended successfully after a month of fieldwork in June 2006. Preliminary analysis of bone material by dr. Julian Hume (Natural History Museum of London) and dr. Lars van den Hoek Ostende (Naturalis) confirms that Mare aux Songes contains a nearly complete fossil fauna assemblage of Mauritius. Preliminary analysis by, dr. Vincent Florence (University of Mauritius) and dr. Claudia Baider (MSIRI) suggests also a largely complete fossil flora is present.

Mare aux Songes likely represented a freshwater lake in a dry land forest setting. This lake attracted abundant animals and its fringes hosted a rich flora. Considering the excellent state of the fossils and richness Mare aux Songes represents a unique fossil site with world heritage potential.

Besides dodo bones, including the complete part of a dodo skeleton, the first ever finding is recorded of largely complete shields and articulated leg bones of the two species of Giant Tortoises (Cylandrispis sp.). In addition dr. Julian Hume positively identified for the very first time ever bones of the red-white-blue pigeon (Pigeon Hollandaise). In addition bones of the flightless Mauritian Red Rail, Mascarene owl and various passerines and other birds (jet to be identified) are found. Beak and bones of one of the world largest ever parrots the giant parrot Lophosittacus mauritianus are found. Bones of the giant skink Didosaurus and fruit bats were found. Abundant seeds and tree stems of ebony, the nearly extinct Dodo tree (Tambalacoque) and various palms are found.


Naturalis' education services offer a wide range of programmes for all primary and secondary school ages, linked to the various themes and exhibitions within the museum.

For reservations or information on school visits, guided tours, room hire or birthday parties, please contact: The Events Office [Bureau Evenementen]. Working days 9:00-12:00 and 13:00-17:00 on (+31) (0)71 568 7700.


Group arrangements

A visit to Naturalis with friends, family or colleagues provides a unique day-out. Whether you take one of the fascinating guided tours or participate in a workshop, you can be sure of a very special occasion.

Naturalis arranges events and activities for all ages.

Our birthday parties for children up to 12 years old are particularly popular. Why not celebrate your son or daughters special day in style - with a Bone Ball, Piggy Party or Dino party?


For reservations or information on school visits, guided tours, room hire or birthday parties, please contact: The Events Office [Bureau Evenementen]. Working days 9:00-12:00 and 13:00-17:00 on (+31) (0)71 568 7700.


Research Programmes
To keep track of the wide scope of activities in the sector Collections & Research, ranging from repairing broken specimens and putting collection data into a database to fieldwork and organising symposia, all activities exceeding the daily routine work are described as projects. Projects are clustered into programmes when and if they share a common aim, be it practical (e.g., registration, fieldwork) or for scientific reasons (e.g. answering a particular question at an integrative level).

There are two clusters of programmes, descriptive and thematic. The first kind covers projects that are usually executed within departments and addresses questions which are of relevance within a department or even a subdepartment in the first place, e.g. the revision of a particular group of organisms. Such a study may, however, be needed for assessing the biodiversity of an area, in which case the data are combined with data from other groups, bringing the study to a more integrative level. The results of such a more integrative study are of practical use in the first place (e.g., conservation policy).

The thematic programmes aim at answering scientific questions concerning evolution, biogeography and stratigraphy. Each programme comprises projects that either share the same partial question (e.g., biogeography of a certain area), have the same geographic focus in fieldwork, or (often) both,

In addition, well circumscribed, substantial collection management tasks (e.g., re-arrangement of a larger family; digital registration of an entire subcollection) exceeding the daily routine work, are described as projects as well.

- Biodiversity analysis
- Bio...+ [ Read all ]


Martin Foundation: Naturalis is seeking patrons

One of the most effective ways you can support Naturalis is by becoming a patron of The Martin Foundation.

Naturalis has a reputation as a world class museum. We provide information on all aspects of the natural world in ways that are imaginative, academically rigorous and accessible to a large range of audiences, from researchers to children.

We do this through new and standing exhibitions; research; books and journals; and lectures, seminars and conferences. These activities are expensive.

Naturalis core activities are funded by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. But to achieve our ambitious plans, we need additional funding. It is here that the Martin Foundation makes a real difference.

Do you feel its important to preserve our natural heritage? To support and disseminate serious research? To pass on enthusiasm for the natural world to future generations?

The Martin Foundation - named after Karl Martin, Leiden Universitys first Professor of Geology - helps Naturalis through the following vital activities:
Encouraging public interest in geology and natural history
Organising educational events
Purchasing new specimens
Assisting eminent scientists from around the world to come and study our collections
Promoting the interests of Naturalis
Raising public awareness of the museum and its objectives

Your patronage:A small investment for a huge return
Individuals become a patron from as little as €20 a year
Companies your business can become a patron from just €125 a year.

Join us at Naturalis
As a valued supporter, you are invited to all Naturalis major exhibiti...+ [ Read all ]

Venue hire

Business meetings
Naturalis offers a unique and stimulating environment in which to stage business meetings and other events in a highly professional manner.

Parties and celebrations
Surprise your guests by keeping your party in the company of thousands of animals, plants, minerals and fossils.

Getting married at Naturalis
Celebrate your wedding in a spectacular and historical setting.

More : http://www.naturalis.nl/naturalis.en/naturalis.en/i000900.html