The DiSSCo consortium in


DiSSCo-Netherlands is a consortium of 14 DiSSCo members plus 3 additional partners with representatives from natural history museums, research institutes and the national nodes of two research infrastructures, GBIF and LifeWatch. Among the Dutch members is Naturalis Biodiversity Center which is the signatory for the DiSSCO-NL consortium and host of the DiSSCo Coordination and Support Office (CSO). All Dutch consortium members agree that open data and open science is a requirement to develop the DiSSCo research infrastructure that allows answering questions that are related to ecology, climate change, food security, public health, bio-economy and taxonomy.

The first steps taken by the DiSSCo-NL consortium is to agree on a common collection description scheme that is implemented in the ‘Nationaal Natuurhistorisch Collectieoverzicht (NNC)’ dashboard (see Dutch Natural History Collection dashboard). The Dutch consortium collectively represents a natural history collection with more than 50 million specimens including collections of international importance notably from Indonesia, the Guianas, tropical Africa and on the Dutch flora, fauna and geology. The dashboard enables the identification of institutional subcollections and can drive Digitisation-on-Demand requests to further digitise the Dutch collection.

The development of DiSSCo can only be successful when developed in collaboration with existing research infrastructures like the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), Catalogue of Life (CoL), and LifeWatch among others. NLBIF, the Dutch GBIF node, is centered between all these initiatives and it was agreed by the Dutch consortium that NLBIF acts as a national node for DiSSCo-NL.

participating institutions

Niels Raes

Node Manager NLBIF

Participating institutions in

The Netherlands

Naturalis Biodiversity Center

Naturalis Biodiversity Center is the largest research institution for bio- and geodiversity in The Netherlands and manages the national natural history collection of 48 million objects.  Founded in 1820 Naturalis holds important historical collections, Von Siebold (Japan 1823-1830), early collections from the colonies and historical prints. 

Our mission is to create a better understanding and appreciation of our natural world. We realise this with the help of  over 100 researchers and 50 collection managers, next to exhibition developers, educational staff and guest researchers and volunteers. They all work to realise our shared vision: to tell the story of our planet and humankind focused on three themes: past (evolution), present (bio- and geo diversity) and future (Anthropocene). Naturalis also accommodates the DiSSCo Coordination and Support office (CSO) and the Dutch GBIF node – NLBIF.


Address: Darwinweg 2, 2333 CR Leiden, Netherlands

Stichting De Bastei (Natuurmuseum Nijmegen)

Foundation ‘De Bastei’ is the result of a merger between ‘Natuurmuseum Nijmegen’ and museum ‘De Stratemakerstoren’. De Bastei opened its doors for the public early 2018 and is the centre for nature and cultural heritage in Nijmegen, Netherlands. The state forest service (‘Staatsbosbeheer’), and the institute for nature education (‘IVN Rijk van Nijmegen’) are partners of ‘De Bastei’. ‘De Bastei’ has a collection of more than 118.000 objects and represents one of the most important regional natural history collections including a herbarium, and vertebrate, entomological, geological and paleontological collections. The museum has an important role as center for nature studies and meeting places for members of various nature organisations and geological societies.


Address: Waalkade 83-84, 6511 XR Nijmegen, Netherlands

De Museumfabriek

‘De Museumfabriek’ is a merger of three institutes, ‘Natuurmuseum Enschede’, the ‘Van Deinse Instituut’ and ‘Museum Jannink’ and was previously known as ‘TwentseWelle’. ‘De Museumfabriek’ has 17 employees and 120 volunteers of which 35 assist with maintaining the collections. The natural history collection of ‘De Museumfabriek’ includes a botanical collection (e.g. herbarium ‘Blijdenstein’), an entomological collection, a bird collection (e.g. egg shell collection of Van Pelt Lechner), mammal collection (e.g. Eykman collection on mammals and birds), and numerous fossils from the quarry of Winterswijk.


Address: Het Rozendaal 11, 7523 XG Enschede, Netherlands


The mission statement of the ‘Museon’ is to inspire visitors to explore the world and themselves and to motivate them to treat the Earth with respect and responsibility. The museum employs more than 60 persons. The Museon has a collection of 313,000 objects with natural history, cultural and technological collections including special collections on water bugs from the province of Zuid-Holland and a water bug collection with some type specimens from Indonesia.


Address: Stadhouderslaan 37, 2517 HV Den Haag, Netherlands

Natuurmuseum Brabant

‘Natuurmuseum Brabant’ aims to kindle and stimulate knowledge of nature and our place as mankind within it. The museum, founded in 1935, has collections of birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish, insects, spiders, other invertebrates, plants, mosses, lichens, mushrooms, algae, wood, fossils, shells, rocks, minerals, corals, archeology, and literature. Among the special collections are the arthropods, particularly the extensive series of insects from ‘De Kaaistoep’ nature reserve and research area, the fossils, including the skull of the holotype of Balaenella brachyrhynus, and from the bird collection a prepared specimen of the Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi).


Adres: Spoorlaan 434, 5038 CH Tilburg, Netherlands

Natuurmuseum Fryslân

‘Natuurmuseum Fryslân’ is a regional natural history museum with 18 employees and a collection of 330.000 objects, mainly from the province of Friesland and the northern parts of the Netherlands. The museum was founded by Gerrit Bosch in 1923 and contributed his collection of 150 prepared birds, 100 bird skins and some prepared mammals. Soon after many private collections were donated to the museum. Among the special collections are a bird collection of 2100 prepared birds and 3200 skins, 15,000 bird eggs, 48,000 butterflies and moths all from the northern part of the Netherlands, 10 whale skeletons, 105,000 shells from around the world, Frisian decoys, and nature prints.


Adres: Schoenmakersperk 2, 8911 EM Leeuwarden, Netherlands

Natuurhistorisch Museum Maastricht


Address: De Bosquetplein 7, 6211 KJ Maastricht, Netherlands

Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam

The Natural History Museum Rotterdam (abbreviated to NMR) focuses on natural history and (urban) nature in the broadest sense, but with a focus on the Rotterdam area wherever possible. The museum houses a collection of more than 363,000 samples. The collection is available for scientific research. Around 85% of the collection is digitized at the specimen level. Arthropods (56%; mostly European) and molluscs (30%; worldwide recent specimens, fossil specimens from North-West Europe) make up the bulk of the collection. Chordates make up 9% of the collection and include a significant amount of fossil terrestrial and marine vertebrates from the Netherlands and the southern North Sea, while recent specimens predominantly originate from the Netherlands. Plants make up 5% of the collection and originate almost exclusively from the Netherlands. The collections of other taxonomic groups, e.g. Fungi and various marine invertebrates, are small, but do contain well documented interesting records. The fossil marine mammal collection houses many holotypes of extinct whales and dolphins from Europe and elsewhere. The mollusc collection is another collection of international importance, due to the excellent (photographic) digitization. The collection and exhibition ‘Dead Animal Tales’ shows the often fatal collision between humans and animals in an urban environment and has great societal importance.


Address: Westzeedijk 345, 3015 AA Rotterdam, Netherlands

Koninklijk Nederlands Instituut voor Onderzoek der Zee - NIOZ

The Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) is the national oceanographic research institute and principally performs academically excellent multidisciplinary fundamental and frontier applied marine research addressing important scientific and societal questions pertinent to the functioning of oceans and seas. NIOZ also serves as national marine research facilitator (NMF) for the Netherlands scientific community.  NIOZ stimulates and supports multidisciplinary fundamental and frontier applied marine research, education and marine policy development in the national and international context. . Royal NIOZ employs approximately 330 scientists, technicians and support staff and is located in two research centres on the Wadden Sea island of Texel and in Yerseke on the shores of the Eastern Scheldt estuary. Royal NIOZ is part of the institutes organisation of the Dutch Research Council (NWO). NIOZ has a unique collection of almost 30,000 objects including many drilling cores and sediment trap samples.


Address: Landsdiep 4, Den Hoorn, Netherlands

NLBIF - Netherlands Biodiversity Information Facility

NLBIF, or the Netherlands Biodiversity Information Facility, is the Dutch node of GBIF. NLBIF is fundamental in organising the Dutch biodiversity science related research community and natural history collection institutes. NLBIF supports the Dutch biodiversity community in mobilizing biodiversity data, stimulating and facilitating infrastructural ICT developments, expansion of the stakeholder community and connecting the Dutch science landscape to international biodiversity initiatives such as DiSSCo, LifeWatch, SYNTHESYS, Catalogue of Life etc. NLBIF is the national task force leader for DiSSCo-NL and is involved in the Dutch Roadmap application as are many of the DiSSCo-NL partners. NLBIF maintains the ICT infrastructure that is used by the Dutch biodiversity community to exchange data with GBIF and others.


Address: Darwinweg 2, 2333 CR Leiden, Netherlands

Teylers Museum Haarlem

Teylers Museum was founded in 1784 as a modern research and knowledge sharing institute for art and science. The collections were purchased for scientific research and debate, and benefit sharing of knowledge. Teyler Museum is the only museum in the world with its authentic interior of the 18th century where collections are maintained in their historical context. The collection includes drawings and prints, paintings, numismatics, fossils, minerals, instruments and a natural history library of international importance for its contents and historical perspective. The museum has been open for the public since 1784 and presently attracts 150,000 visitors per year.

The natural history collection includes collections of fossils, minerals and rocks, and a library focussed on illustrated natural history books. Among the special collection objects are:

  • Homo diluvii testis (Man, witness of the Deluge) from Öhningen. Purchased by Van Marum in 1802, studied and annotated by paleontologist Georges Cuvier during a visit to Teylers Museum in 1811.
  • The oldest limestone fossil collection from Sint Pieterberg, Maastricht which includes a partial skull fragment of Mosasaurus hoffmanni (found in 1766).
  • The oldest Dutch mammoth skull (Mammuthus primigenius) from Heukelum (1820).
  • The largest fossil collection from the Solnhofener limestone formation (southern Germany) outside Germany including a specimen of a primitive bird (Ostromia crassipes), the oldest birdlike dinosaur outside Asia and the only known specimen. 
  • 80 holotype specimens of fossils.
  • Collection of mammal remains from Tegelen.
  • Historical mineral collection of Martinus Van Marum (ca. 10.000 objects) with original labels (ca. 5000) from the 18th century.
  • Small collection of early meteorites among one from Zagreb 1751.
  • Original material of the first scientific collection to the summit of Mont Blanc by Horace de Saussure, 1787, including a rock sample from the top.


Address: Spaarne 16, 2011 CH Haarlem, Netherlands

University Museum Utrecht

The University Museum Utrecht (UMU) makes cultural heritage and science accessible for a wide audience and in particular families with children at the age between 8 and 14 year. The UMU collection has 200,000 objects and covers all scientific disciplines of Utrecht University, but with a special focus on prepared objects, educational model objects, and historical equipment that were used in the fields of natural science, medical science, psychiatry and veterinary. Among the species collections of UMU are:

  • Collection on comparative anatomy of vertebrates
  • Historical zoology collection
  • Blaschka collection (glass models of invertebrates)
  • Diverse historische (onderwijs)modellen (was, papier maché etc.) uit de zoölogie en menskunde
  • Nias collection (facial casts (gypsum) of inhabitant of Nias – Moluccas)
  • Collection Pleistocene soil sample (Eemien)
  • Collection simplicia
  • Historical instruments collection (Natuurkundig Gezelschap among others)
  • Ophthalmology collection (Fischer foundation en Donders)
  • Veterinary collection
  • Dentistry collection


Address: Lange Nieuwstraat 106, 3512 PN Utrecht, Netherlands

University of Amsterdam

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Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute

The Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute (WI) (formerly CBS-KNAW Fungal Biodiversity Centre) is an institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), and is situated in Utrecht. It maintains a world-renowned microbial, ISO 9001-certified, biobank of more than 100 000 living cultures of filamentous fungi, yeasts and bacteria in the public collection, and a further 100 000 living cultures in the unprocessed collection. It uses a broad range of molecular biological, biochemical, physiological, (post-)genomics and microscopy methods to study functional aspects of fungal diversity, biotechnology and ecology. The institute employs circa 100 personnel, including 29 scientists, 29 scientific support staff and 35 support staff, the latter shared with the neighbouring KNAW Hubrecht Institute.


Address: Uppsalalaan 8, 3584 CT Utrecht, Netherlands

Associate Partners


Ecomare is the center for the Wadden Sea and North Sea, a museum, visitor center, fieldwork center, and the care center for seals and seabirds. Ecomare has a special collection of 1600 whale bones from the North Sea and 850 specimens of Pleistocene land mammals. Ecomare is member of the Foundation for Dutch Natural History Collections (in Dutch: Stichting Nederlandse Natuurhistorische Collecties – SNNC).


Address: Ruijslaan 92, 1796 AZ De Koog, Netherlands

Natura Docet Wonderryck Twente

Natura Docet Wonderryck Twente is a regional natural history museum and a landscape center with a museum garden. Natura Docent Wonderryk employs five staff members and a large number of volunteers. The institute has collections of prepared birds and mammals, molluscs, an alcohol collection, a geological collection with crystalline boulders, erratic fossils, a paleontological collection and an ethnographic collection. The geological collection with crystalline boulders and stray fossils originate from the northern Netherlands, Scandinavia and middle Europe. Natura Docet Wonderryck Twente is member of the Foundation for Dutch Natural History Collections (in Dutch: Stichting Nederlandse Natuurhistorische Collecties – SNNC).


Address: Oldenzaalsestraat 39, 7591 GL Denekamp, Netherlands

Universiteitsmuseum Groningen

University Museum Groningen displays the history of Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RUG). The museum has objects on the history of RUG, medical sciences, psychology, mathematics and natural sciences, and a rich ethnographic collection. The museum connects nature with culture and science. The natural history collection is at the heart of the museum collection. The special collection on the history of the RUG shows the developments in natural history science in the Netherlands contextualized by large geological, zoological and anatomical collections. Furthermore, the museum has a large collection of medical equipment.


Address: Oude Kijk in Het Jatstraat 7A, 9712 EA Groningen, Netherlands


National Funding

Naturalis Biodiversity Center, University of Amsterdam-Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute – KNAW, University Twente and NLBIF have submitted a Dutch roadmap application for large scale research infrastructures titled ‘ARISE – Authoritative and Rapid Identification of Species and Ecosystems’. The proposed infrastructure will integrate the following components:


  1. A Biobank located with the world-class collection facilities of Naturalis and Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute for storage, preservation and access to reference specimens and DNA.
  2. A dedicated Sequencing Facility for high-throughput DNA extraction and sequencing of reference specimens and of genetic material requiring identification.
  3. An expanded version of the Dutch Species Register, linking all Dutch species with validated reference sequences, images, sound recordings and other information.
  4. A Species Identification Engine combining bioinformatics, machine learning and the reference materials of the Dutch Species Register to process inputs matching any of the supported evidence types and to supply identifications for the species represented.
  5. A Biocloud, an integration layer that collects, links and enriches all of the identifications and data delivered by the Species Identification Engine.
  6. Several Demonstration Sites for field capture of specimens to address gaps in the Dutch Species Register and to provide materials and data products to test the Species Identification Engine.

 Many of the proposed components of the ARISE infrastructure serve as the Dutch contribution to the development of DiSSCo.

Everything on one screen

Dutch Natural History Collection dashboard

The DiSSCo-NL consortium has made significant progress in the high-level mapping of institutional collection holdings which are visualized in the ‘Nationaal Natuurhistorisch Collectieoverzicht’ dashboard featured below. The dashboard is based on collection size estimations and by no means represents exact numbers. The dashboard will be regularly updated and further enriched with more accurate estimations.