of our research

Worldwide collections, such as those of Naturalis, help to study, organize and understand nature. Natural history collections form an essential infrastructure for scientific research: biological and geological objects form an indispensable starting point for research that contributes to current issues such as climate change and the disappearance of species.

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Scientist in collection
Apollo butterflies


The Naturalis collection lists among the top 5 natural history collections worldwide. That offers possibilities for various collaborations in different fields.

Asilid fly, image has complete depth of field due to stacking photography

Picturae & Naturalis Digitizing insect collections

Biodiversity is under pressure, so knowledge about it is more important than ever. To be able to share and use this knowledge, natural history collections need to be available digitally. We helped Picturae to test a digitization machine for insects.
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Stranded whale

Whale strandings: What can we learn from it?

It sometimes happens that a large dead whale washes up on the Dutch coast, or dies in the waters off the coast. Naturalis Biodiversity Center then has the task to assist in salvaging the mammal and to preserve parts of the animal for scientific research…
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we offer

Researchers can borrow collection objects from Naturalis, visit the Naturalis collection or have access to a wide range of (digital) literature on biodiversity.


Visit the collections

The collections are available for research by visiting scientists. If you wish to visit a collection you can contact us by sending a request to A request from a student must be accompanied by a letter of the institute.
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Pigeon book

Naturalis' Library

Naturalis has one of the world's largest collections of scientific, taxonomic and paleontological literature. Over 300,000 books and magazines about the natural world and biodiversity can be discovered there. From leading international magazines to…
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Do you have a collection or a special item at home and would you like to donate it to Naturalis?

Of course we like that! Unfortunately not all objects are suitable for inclusion in our collection. Naturalis selects on the scientific and aesthetic value of the objects. We only include objects with sufficiently accurate data or that are suitable for use in the exhibition. It is also important that the objects are provided with the correct exemptions. Contact for more information.

Parasitoid wasp
Calf of tapir

from the collection

Work never stops in our collection. Preparing new animals, scrubbing meteorites and cleaning whale skeletons is just a tiny part of that work.

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The holotype of a cicada species
August 24th, 2022

True bugs in the picture

This is it: Pseudaufidus trifasciatus, a cicada species described in 1957 by entomologist and curator H. C. Blöte from Leiden. The cicada depicted above is not just any specimen of that species, but it is the so-called holotype: The specimen used when the…
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Fishing cat from Singapore
March 11th, 2022

The impossible fishing cat

The skull and skin of a Fishing Cat has been in the collections of Naturalis for 200 years, but only recently did it receive attention. What researchers found can inform us about the history of Singapore – natural and cultural. And it shows just how…
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Naturalis-onderzoekers meten de maanvis op. 1.89 van snavel tot staart
December 16th, 2021

Ocean sunfish found on Ameland safe in the freezer

The ocean sunfish that washed up on the beach in Ameland last Monday is now in a cold storage. Naturalis employees have taken some samples for research. The animal will be stuffed, and museum visitors will be able to see that process live.
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Online access
to our collection and collection data

Catalogue of Life 
One worldwide name list of all animals, plants and fungi that have been described by scientists.
Are you  a species specialist working to make taxonomic knowledge and type information available online? Please consider the software-as-a-service package Linnaeus.
As a researcher or collection manager, you can quickly browse the Naturalis digital collection.
Netherlands Biodiversity API/Data Services
For software developers or bio-computer scientists, we built an API to provide access the digital collection information from Naturalis.

Bio Portal