Ice Age

maquette ijstijd

The familiar Dutch landscape has been rendered unrecognizable and replaced by wild nature against a desolate prehistoric backdrop. Welcome to the Ice Age gallery.


Visit Naturalis

Experience the beauty and richness of the natural world at Naturalis in Leiden. Go exploring with the entire family in all our exhibition halls.


the steppe

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 idea
behind 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.

The highlight
of Ice Age

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?

Mammoet Ijstijd
Zaal ijstijd

Curiosity cabinet
Ice Age

How do you know what life looked like during the ice age? How do you recognize an ice age animal when you have found only one bone? And are there things that we don't know at all? Come and discover it at the curiosity cabinet in this gallery. Every weekend and during school holidays (walk-in). Suitable for all ages.

Curiosity cabinet Ice Age