Museum, collection and research activities
have been brought together

Based around the existing collection tower, an impressive building has emerged that for the first time is capable of housing the collection, the research activities and the museum under one roof. The expansion reflects the development of Naturalis into the national biodiversity center for the Netherlands.

The new building of Naturalis
Hallway of new building of Naturalis

A connecting

Cohesion is key in the new Naturalis. The mighty central hall is where the old building and new building meet. The architecture is inspired by natural shapes: honeycomb, cat’s eyes or do you see leaves? In a sea of light, comin from every angle, all functional areas of the new building come together in the atrium; collection, research and the museum. This is also the place where our staff, scientists, families and students meet. The new building provides room for our growing collection and increasing numbers of visitors and scientists.

Front Darwinweg of the new building of Naturalis


Thanks to our own geothermal heat pump system, sustainable ventilation, 100 percent LED lighting, solar panels, green roofs, an energy-friendly climate control system and gallery spaces with flexible layouts, Naturalis is ready to face the future.


The building of the new Naturalis is characterised by the use of robust materials with a long lifespan: natural stone, oak, concrete, glass and steel. The natural ageing process will further enhance the character of these materials over the years.

The new building of Naturalis
The use of natural materials at the new building of Naturalis

research facilities

The new research facilities mean that Naturalis satisfies the highest standards for ground-breaking research into biodiversity. Every day, our research staff are hard at work using the latest techniques such as genetic research, 3D modelling and Artificial Intelligence, with the aim of contributing to facing the challenges that focus on the protection of the natural resources of our planet.

by Iris van Herpen

With her pattern of three-dimensional relief sculptures, the internationally renowned Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen has contributed a remarkable sensation of space to the natural stone facade. Inspired by evolution and the shapes it brings about, she designed 263 panels that cover a total distance of more than a kilometre, spread across both the inside and the outside of the museum. Thanks to a new technique developed specifically for this design, the concrete shapes suggest a feeling of silky smoothness. They appear to be made of fabric, just like the innovative couture created by Van Herpen for celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and Björk.

Art Iris van Herpen Naturalis
Art Iris van Herpen Naturalis

by Tord Boontje

A collection of almost 100 wall panels produced in the form of collages that mix together photographs and drawings are located throughout the museum. These visual stories, which reflect a wonderful world inspired by nature, were created by the Dutch industrial designer Tord Boontje who lives and works in London. Boontje is above all renowned for his pieces of jewellery, lights, fabrics and furniture finished with rich flower motifs. For him, Naturalis is a place packed with inspiration.

References Tord Boontje

Artwork by Tord Boontje
Artwork by Tord Boontje

42 Million
plants, animals, rocks and fossils

Naturalis houses a natural history collection that has grown constantly since it was started in 1820. Thanks to digitalisation, collection data are now accessible that are essential for scientifically supported future scenarios for nature.

See our highlights (in Dutch)

The opening
of our new building

On thursday the 28th of August we officialy openend our building with a spectaculair show. And a few days later on the 31st of August, we could finally welcome visitors to our brand new museum.

Learn more about the opening 

Dansers opening Naturalis
Edwin van Huis opening Naturalis