When in 1919 an exhibition of the Netherlands Natuurhistorische Vereniging in Rotterdam, Dutch Natural History Association, attracted eight thousand visitors, the idea of the museum was born. In 1927 the museum was established in the form of a Foundation. After the royal approval, as it was then, the museum settled in a classroom on the Schiedamsesingel. The collection became more and more extensive through donations, and as a result, at one point the schoolroom was more of a storage area than a museum. After a few more moves within Rotterdam and collaboration with Rotterdam Zoo, the museum finally settled in Villa Dijkzicht. In 1988 the museum was given the name Natuurmuseum Rotterdam.
Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam
In 2006 the name was changed to Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam, natural history museum as we know it today. The museum is one of the twelve museums in the Netherlands, where the history of nature is central. Compared to the other museums, this museum is not the largest. The collection comprises more than three hundred and fifty thousand objects. This collection includes mammals, insects to molluscs and fossils. Most of the objects are in depots, and during the changing exhibitions available for the public. Giant skeletons of a giraffe, sperm whale and elephant are always visible to the audience. The sperm whale is visible at the front of the glass pavilion. The skeleton of the elephant on display inside the museum comes from Rotterdam Zoo where he died in 1998.
The museum has multiple rooms where you can view the permanent exhibition. Here you will come across animals that tell an exciting story, and you can learn more about Dutch fossils that are millions of years old. You will also experience that there is more life in the city than you might expect and yo get an explanation on how best to preserve dead animals. These are just a few examples of the permanent parts of the Natural History Museum Rotterdam.
Temporary exhibitions have a specific theme. For example, about the migratory fish in the Haringvliet (2018), the life of butterflies (2017) or the Saber-toothed tiger (2008) that lived twenty-eight thousand years ago. The current exhibitions are about whether or not to vaccinate and a picture book about a sloth by Aron Dijkstra. We still have to wait for the announced presentations of Roos Holleman, bygone days and The Rat Gazette. These are postponed because of the corona measures.
The museum has a great attraction for children, that’s why there are always fun activities for children. There are treasure hunts that playfully guide children through the museum. For example, like a day or night animal, children can follow a route through the museum, and there is also an audio tour followed by a quiz for children aged seven and over. When celebrating a children’s party, the museum wants to know the age of the children. With four different age groups, there are four various parties.
Do you know children up to the age of 16 are allowed in on Wednesdays free of charge?
What else can you do in the Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam area?
An average visit to this museum takes about two hours. After this, you can walk to The Park under the Euromast, in five minutes, to rest if the weather permits. Next to The Park, you are at the quay of De Nieuwe Maas, where big ships might pass by and if the children don’t want to go to the Pannenkoekboot, Pancake Boat, a visit to the restaurant Ballentent is worth it.