The National Natural History Museum, or Naturalis, is the national natural history museum for the Netherlands, based in Leiden. It originated from the merger of the Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Historie (abbreviated RMNH) and the Rijksmuseum van Geologie en Mineralogie (abbreviated RGM) in 1984. In 1986 it was decided that the museum had to become a public museum and a new building was built. The new building cost about 60 million euro, making it the second most expensive museum building in the Netherlands.
The museum is open from Tuesday through Friday from 10am to 5pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm. On Monday it is closed. The entry fee is €4,50 for people aged 4 to 17 and €8,00 for people aged 18 and above.
The current museum is known for the numerous objects in its collections. It has approximately 10 million zoological
- 5,250,000 insects
- 2,290,000 other invertebrates
- 1,000,000 vertebrates
- 1,160,000 fossils
- 440,000 rocks and minerals
- 2,000 gemstones
- 10,000 objects in an educational collection
The collections are stored in a 60-meter-high tower, a landmark in Leiden, opened in April 1998.
Besides its temporary exhibition the museums has several permanent exhibitions:
- Nature Theater (Animals, plants, fungi, one-celled organisms, bacteria, stones, and minerals: an impression of nature in all its various forms.)
- Primeval Parade (A parade of fossils shows the history of the earth and the development of life.)
- Earth (Games and signs inform the visitor about the Earth's complexities.)
- Life (It displays how plants and animals live and survive on earth. )
- Earth Inside (For children and their parents to discover in a playful way how nature works.)
- Biotechnology (Games and movies show the visitor how essential DNA is to all life processes.)
- Treasure Chamber (Special security and storage conditions protect the precious gemstones, including a collection that once belonged to the Dutch King William I, and the mounted skins of animals that became extinct over the past few hundred years.)