(Natura Artis Magistra)

The entrance to Artis
Date opened 1838[1]
Location Amsterdam, Netherlands
Coordinates 52°21′58″N 4°54′57″E / 52.366205°N 4.915954°E / 52.366205; 4.915954Coordinates: 52°21′58″N 4°54′57″E / 52.366205°N 4.915954°E / 52.366205; 4.915954
Number of species 900[1]
Memberships NVD,[2] EAZA,[3] ISIS,[4] WAZA[5]

Artis, short for Natura Artis Magistra (Latin for "Nature is the teacher of art"), is a zoo in the centre of Amsterdam. It is the oldest zoo in the Netherlands. In addition to the zoo, Artis has an aquarium, a planetarium, a geological museum, and a zoological museum.[6]

The zoo is a member of the Dutch Zoo Federation (NVD), the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), the International Species Information System (ISIS), and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).



The zoo was founded in 1838 by Gerard Westerman, J.W.H. Werlemann and J.J. Wijsmuller (also known as the three Ws). It was initially open only to members. Starting in 1851 it was opened to the public during the month of September.[7] In 1920 it was opened year-round to the public, but September remains discount month.[8]

The core of the current zoo property, then the "Middenhof" estate, was purchased by the board of the Zoological Society "Natura Artis Magistra" late in 1938 in the Plantage, which was then a rural area on the outskirts of Amsterdam. From the start it exhibited both live and mounted specimens.[9]

The zoo is commonly referred to as Artis, because the zoo has three gates with Natura Artis Magistra written above them. Usually only the middle gate was open, so people who walked through that gate, looked what was written above it and saw 'Artis', thinking that the zoo was just called Artis. Soon few knew it as Natura Artis Magistra.

The last quagga in captivity died at Artis on 12 August 1883. At the time all Zebras were referred to as quagga, so nobody realized that this was the last quagga alive until years later. The last quagga has been stuffed and is now on display at the zoological museum at Artis.[10][11]

Historic buildings

The Zoo includes many historic buildings. The the zoological museum was built in 1855, and the library building in 1867.[12] The Aquarium was built in 1882 on land leased from the city on condition that only a museum ever be built on it.[13] The wolf house (formerly an inn), and the Masman Garden House which now houses scarlet ibis were both on the site before the zoo was established.[8]



  1. ^ a b "Artis Royal Zoo in Amsterdam". Amsterdam Tips. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  2. ^ "NVD Zoos". NVD. Retrieved 25 June 2011. 
  3. ^ "EAZA Member Zoos & Aquariums". EAZA. Retrieved 25 June 2011. 
  4. ^ "Member Locator". ISIS. Retrieved 25 June 2011. 
  5. ^ "Zoos and Aquariums of the World". WAZA. Retrieved 25 June 2011. 
  6. ^ "Practical info". Artis. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Mehos 2006, p. 23–26
  8. ^ a b "In Artis". Artis. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  9. ^ "About ZMA". University of Amsterdam. Retrieved 24 June 2011. 
  10. ^ "Equus quagga quagga". The Extinction Website. Retrieved 24 June 2011. 
  11. ^ "Equus quagga ssp. quagga". IUCN. Retrieved 24 June 2011. 
  12. ^ "Artis Zoo, Amsterdam". Amsterdam Info. Retrieved 25 June 2011. 
  13. ^ Mehos 2006, p. 48–55


External links

Media related to Artis at Wikimedia Commons

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