Donating collections

A private shell collection

Do you have private collection or special object that you want to gift to Naturalis? We appreciate that very much! Our collection has grown to its current size largely thanks to prive donations. Unfortunately, not every object is suitable for our collection. We select on scientific and aesthetic value, and can only accept objects with sufficient information, or that is useable for the museum. It is also important to have the right paperwork. 

Do you have something that you want to gift? Please contact our collections front office

Of course, if you want to donate money, that is also a possibility

No cash
possible tax benefits

Naturalis does not, in principle, buy collections, to avoid commercialisation of natural history collections.  Of course, you are contributing to scientific research, which is worthwile in itself. In addition, a donation might mean tax benefits, depending on your location. 

Gifted objects are added to our scientific collection. The odds of something ending up in the museum's exhibition is small, but as a part of the collection, your gift will be accesible to any scientist who wants to research it. 


Some collectors have built beautiful and scientifically valuable collections, others have gathered specimens in special locations. Those are the kind of collections that we, potentially, would love to give a place. Unfortunately, there are limits to the amount of space and manpower that we have, which means that we have to be strict in what we select. 

Gifted egg collection
Private bat collection

and rules

First, we look if the object with within our collection. We don't just gather anything; we focus on certain regions and groups of species. 

If it does fit, we look if it adds something to what we already have. Some species or regions are already covered. It is also important to have sufficient information about the objects: where were they found, ecological data, who collected it and when? That kind of information can not be gathered after we received the object. In contrast, if you do have this type of information in some sort of database, that makes the collection much more valuable to us, and increases the likelyhood of us accepting it. 

We cannot
accept everything

We also look if the objects offered follor the national and international laws regarding to threatened species and the protection of genetic mataterial, such as CITES and the Nagoya Protocol.  This means that we simply aren't allowed to accept certain species or material from certain regions. For some really interesting objects, our collection managers will help arrange the licensing themselves.  

Bumblebee collection, a donation from a private collector
Fossil shells, gifted by a Dutch collector

a selection

In the case of large collections, one or more of our collection managers can come and visit. We then decide if the collection fits the criteria mentioned above. We also have a look at the size of the collection, and how moving it to our collections tower would work.  An estimation of the financial value is done later, following a standardized method. We generally consult with colleagues, and if we accept the collection we talk about arrangements regarding the packing and handling. Sometimes, only part of the collection is suitable for gifting. We reserve the right to make this selection after accepting the collection; sadly it is not always possible to do this before we move it to Naturalis. 

Toermalijn in kwartskristal, geschonken door de Prof. Dr. K. Martinstichting en de Leidse Geologische Vereniging
Collectie ophalen