Library - Naturalis Biodiversity Center

NCB Naturalis

Portret van Darwin


Naturalis has a large library. We have huge numbers of books and journals on the natural world and biodiversity, ranging from leading international journals in our disciplines to popular science books.

The library is at two locations: the Naturalis Library and the Botanical Library. Together, these locations hold one of the largest collections of scientific, taxonomical and paleontological literature in the world. We cater for everyone interested in researching biodiversity, geodiversity and evolution.
We also manage the library collection of the Netherlands Entomological Society.
The library is almost 200 years old and contains around 200,000 books, journals, drawings, prints and many other archived materials. Once Naturalis completes its rebuilding operations in late 2018, the two library collections will be combined into a single new collection.

You can find all the publications we hold by searching N=Library.

Our shelves contain everything ever thought of by biologists and geologists

Naturalis library

The Naturalis Library specialises in publications on zoology, geology and palaeontology. As the museum is currently being renovated, the Darwinweg 2 library location will be closed to the general public until at least the end of 2018. This library collection is temporarily being stored in a depot, where, unfortunately, we cannot receive visitors. However, we continue to offer our services relating to this collection. See Extra Saturday opening hours below.

Botanical library

The Botanical Library, which used to be part of the National Herbarium Netherlands in Leiden, contains a huge collection of botanical literature and drawings.
The Botanical Library at Nieuwenhuizenweg 19 in Leiden is open on weekdays from 10.00 to 16.30. You are advised to contact us before visiting.






Extra Saturday opening hours

The Botanical Library at Nieuwenhuizenweg 19 will also be open on the following Saturdays in 2017/2018 from 10.00 to 16.30:

- 24th of March 2018

- 21st of April 2018

- 26th of May 2018

- 23rd of June 2018

- 25th of August 2018

- 22 of September 2018

- 27 of October 2018

On these Saturdays, all the new acquisitions of the Botanical and the Naturalis Libraries will be available here for viewing.

You can search for any publications you want to borrow through N=Library. Send an e-mail to the library a week in advance to request up to 10 publications at a time.
Come and visit us on one of these Saturdays or send us a request through your public library.
We look forward to seeing you! 


All items published by Naturalis or our own researchers are publicly available via the repository.

Special collections

A special room in the collection tower – the Rare Book Room – has been set aside for valuable and vulnerable paper materials. In addition to rare books, this room also houses the scientific and correspondence archives and a large collection of prints. The tower is climate-controlled so as to provide the best possible storage conditions for these paper treasures.

Many books can be consulted via the digital international platform Biodiversity Heritage Library, where you can find all the special works held by natural history libraries around the world.



Bibliotheca Carcinologica

The Bibliotheca Carcinologica is a unique collection of books in the Naturalis Library. This collection was amassed by a former curator, Lipke Bijdeley Holthuis (1921-2008), who for more than half a century was the leading expert in his field of crustacean taxonomy, including lobsters, crabs and prawns. He was particularly interested in collecting books that had been handed down by generations of his famous predecessors. Bibliotheca Carcinologica is a unique treasure trove that will provide study material for countless biologists, book scientists and scientific historians for years to come.

Dutch natural science journals

The Netherlands has a wealth of periodicals and journals providing reliable information on Dutch biodiversity and geodiversity. Many papers from over 65 journals and periodicals are digitally available via, a platform jointly set up by the Naturalis Biodiversity Centre and various clubs and societies.


Botanical Library
Nieuwenhuizenweg 19
2314 XP Leiden, The Netherlands (view in Google Maps)
Tel.: +31 (0)71 751 9223 / +31 (0)71 751 9222

Naturalis Library
Tel.: +31 (0)71 751 9668