The familiar Dutch landscape has been rendered unrecognizable and replaced by wild nature against a desolate prehistoric backdrop. Welcome to the Ice Age gallery.
Here, you'll find a scale model that fills almost the entire gallery, surrounded by hundreds of Ice Age fossils that inspired the recreation of a barren, cold plain from 30,000 years ago. In an adjacent room, pieces from the Naturalis collection invite you to explore early life, either on your own or during a guided visit. Binoculars make it possible to stalk the prehistoric animals that populate the scale model – almost as if you're on a safari.
The ideabehind Ice Age
In the Ice Age gallery, you're immersed in the world of the "Big Five" that roamed the Netherlands in prehistoric times. Their identity may come as a bit of a surprise: they were the woolly mammoth, the woolly rhinoceros, the steppe bison, the cave lion, and the cave hyena. Look through the binoculars around the scale model to view astonishingly realistic videos that make these animals come alive. They hunt for prey, become prey themselves, produce offspring, and eventually die. Everything in nature is connected, even in the Netherlands during the Ice Age tens of thousands of years ago. The fossils from that period will let you find out all about it.
Het hoogtepuntvan De IJstijd
Naturalis owns a vast collection of fossils from the Ice Age. Its cache of more than 9,000 mammoth bones and molars is even the largest in the world. This gallery features many of those real fossils, with pride of place being taken by the skull of a baby mammoth, a piece of mammoth fur, and even some mammoth dung. What do you think: does it still smell?