The insect collection is the largest, with about 18 million individual specimens. The beetle and Asian butterflies collections are among the largest of their kind in the world, as are the collections with dragonflies and braconidae wasps.

Giant Malaysian Leaf insect


Orthopteroidea (literally translated: straight-winged insects), are grasshoppers, crickets and related groups. The Orthopteroidea collection at Naturalis includes 6 orders namely Orthoptera (grasshoppers and crickets), Mantodea (praying mantises), Phasmida…
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"Vertebrates" are animald with bones. The vertebrate collection of Naturalis has many rare and extinct species.  Former zoo animals, but also historical collections that were assembled in the 19th century during expeditions to Africa, Asia and the Americas.

Skeleton of a reptile

Reptiles and Amphibians

Reptiles and amphibians belong to the cold-blooded quadrupeds. These groups can be divided into several taxonomic groups such as among the reptiles the snakes, turtles, lizards, worm lizards and crocodiles. Amphibians include frogs, toads, salamanders and…
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The invertebrate collection holds about 5.800.000 objects. The highlights of this collection include the crustaceans of Southeast Asia, the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The Utrecht parasite collection is housed in Naturalis since 2006. For some groups of corals, Naturals Biodiversity Center has the largest collection in the world. 


The geological collection consists of roughly 3.200.000 fossils and 800.000 minerals and stones. The collection has samples from all over the world, but the majority is from Europe and Indonesia. 


Thee botanical collections of Naturalis consist of roughly seven million specimens, of which 70.000 are so-called type specimens. For historical reasons, fungi and lichens are part of Botany at Naturalis, too.

Books, journals
paintings, photographs

Naturalis hosts one of the largest collections of scientific literature on taxonomy, biodiversity and paleontology.  In our library, you can find more than 300.000 books and journals on the natural world and biodiversity. 


Godard in Rare book room

and management

Making sure that all those 43 million stones, plants, jars and stuffed animals are kept intact and available for scientific research is no small task. It is performed by our collection managers and preparators, assisted by a number of volunteers.