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Artis Zoo

Nature, culture and heritage come together in Artis. Every tree, every animal, every building, every microbe, every planet tells its own story. The stories of Artis have existed since 1838. And are born every day. Experience it yourself.

Be surprised by the many animal species that live with and between each other in the Apenhuis and Vogelhuis. Discover the smallest organisms in Micropia, the first microbe museum in the world. Travel through space in the Planetarium. Watch the giraffes along with zebras, ostriches and springboks on the Savannah. Surround yourself by hundreds of fluttering butterflies in the Butterfly Pavilion. Admire the tropical fish in the monumental Aquarium. Stroll through the historic city park with its ancient trees and many plants.

ARTIS was founded in 1838 under the name Natura Artis Magistra by Messrs. Westerman, Werlemann and Wijsmuller, with the aim of "Promoting the Knowledge of Natural History".

Most European zoos were private property until then, but following the London Zoo (1828), ARTIS also wanted to be generally accessible to the well-to-do citizenry. ARTIS started on the grounds around the current Children's Farm, which was called the Buiten Middenhof.

Early history

The first collection was not very startling - a few parrots, monkeys and a Surinamese forest cat - but a year later the whole "traveling animal stuff" from C. van Aken could be taken over. An animal procession headed by the big elephant Jack, accompanied by lions, a panther, a tiger, a cougar, hyenas, polar bears, brown bears, a zebra, a wildebeest, a kangaroo, and even a boa constrictor of more than five meters long. ARTIS had become a real zoo in one fell swoop.

ARTIS in the 19th century

In the first forty years of its existence - from 1838 to about 1878 - ARTIS was able to extend a small plot for a plot of more than 10 hectares and expanded the animal collection slowly. In addition, the collection of "dead objects," for which an impressive museum was built in 1850-1855, became the Groote Museum.

Many of the ARTIS members were on the Grote Vaart or otherwise had to do with the East and West Indies, so that both animals and beautiful exotic objects were added to the collection of the Genura Artis Magistra Society more than once a day. A complete Ethnographic Museum, the present building de Volharding, was full of them around 1900, and in the park the visitor still finds the two life-size 18th century Buddha statues that Captain M.J.B. Noordhoek Hegt from Japan for ARTIS.

More and more museums were needed to give the geological and paleontological donations a good place, for example. Around 1900 there were ten museum rooms in ARTIS. The Artis Library was also continuously enriched with beautiful and also antiquarian acquisitions.