The exhibition is on display from September 30 2020 till October 31 2021.

Highlights from 200 years of collecting

In the anniversary exhibition ‘Nature's treasure trove - 200 years of Naturalis’, we will display 25 ‘crown jewels’ from our collection. This will be the first time, or the first time in many years, that it will be possible for the public to admire these remarkable objects. We will display these highlights and their stories for 200 days, after which they will be returned to their places in the collection tower. Taken together, objects such as the extinct Cape lion and Darwin finches shed light on the impressive history of Naturalis. Among the attractions in this exhibition is a series of portraits of famous Dutch people alongside their favorite pieces of natural history treasure.

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Making of photo Yvette van Boven with the En Tibi herbarium
External video URL
Orang oetan

behind the scenes

In the anniversary exhibition you can find a series of portraits of famous Dutch people alongside their favorite pieces of natural history treasure. Well know photographer Raymond Rutting took their photographs, Bureau Voorlichting made a short film with each portrait (in Dutch).


Jochem Myjer with the egg of an elephant bird

Special publication
200 stories from the collection

The book Nature's treasure trove - 200 years of Naturalis is an ode to the museum’s impressive national collection and the stories contained within it. These stories tell of the passion of collectors and the insights offered by the collections. Visitors will encounter entire whale skeletons, packed in huge wooden crates. Yet attention is also paid to the tiniest of moss mites, pressed between the glass and cover of a microscope slide.

Nature's treasure trove

The book Nature's treasure trove, which includes an endorsement from Dutch astronaut André Kuipers, is being published to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Naturalis. Under the supervision of editors Eulàlia Gassó Miracle and Tiny Monquil from Naturalis, over 70 experts carefully selected 200 key pieces from the collection of more than 42 million objects.

Cover book
Barnacles in whale skin

Waste not
'Wie wat bewaart'

The book Wie wat bewaart (Waste not) was written in honor of Naturalis’ 200th anniversary.

Two centuries of Dutch natural history

In this book, master storytellers Freek Vonk and Menno Schilthuizen dive into the rich history of the Naturalis Biodiversity Center. They take readers on a journey through the history of natural science: from a three-year-old prince’s very first insect collection to the precise art of scientific illustration and overseas collecting expeditions. Wie wat bewaart is a highly-entertaining account of the remarkable history of Naturalis, offering the reader an introduction to the many scientists, collectors and natural-history lovers who have contributed to the expansion and preservation of this unique collection.

Authors Freek Vonk and Menno Schilthuizen

Be amazed by our
collection online

In the past 200 years the national collection of Naturalis has grown and now contains more than 40 million species! This enormous collection forms the basis of biodiversity and geological research that is performed worldwide. Visit Naturalis Topstukken to find some of our most special objects.

Take a look at our most special objects



Special related

Starting on our bicentennial, Wednesday 30 September, we will organize numerous activities in connection with our 200th anniversary (in Dutch). We will tell the most amazing stories behind objects from our collection tower. And we will give you an opportunity to vote for your favorite, with the winner being displayed in the museum!

See what's on 


The Biodiversity Gala – organized by Naturalis in collaboration with the New Scientist – was part of the kick-off to the year-long bicentennial celebration. Now more than ever, it is vital that we collect knowledge in order to identify existing species. Because if you know what there is, you know what you have to protect. The Gala is meant as a celebration of life in all its myriad forms.

Various speakers shared their unique perspectives on the beauty and vulnerability of nature. They revealed updates on recent progress in their respective fields of scientific research. The eminent line-up included: André Kuipers, Koos Biesmeijer (Naturalis), Natasja Oerlemans (WNF), Anita Scholte op Reimer (Albert Heijn), Eva Koffemans (UN youth representative), Katja Peijnenburg (Naturalis) and Jelle Reumer.

Watch the aftermovie

Biodiversity Gala

Made possible
with the help of

Both the special exhibition and the book Nature's treasure trove - 200 years of Naturalis were made possible with the help of contributions from the VriendenLoterij and the Mondriaan Fund. The Vrienden Lottery is a charity lottery that supports culture and the preservation of cultural heritage in the Netherlands. A Vrienden Lottery VIP Pass grants the bearer free admission to Naturalis. The Mondriaan Fund is the Dutch public fund for visual art and culture.