Naturalis Biodiversity Center is a national museum of natural history and a research center on biodiversity in Leiden, Netherlands. Although its current name and organization is relatively recent, its history can be traced back to the early 1800s. Its collections contain approximately 37 million specimens, one of the largest natural history collections in the world. In late 2016 the center closed its main building for renovations, with plans to re-open in late 2018. Temporary exhibitions are open in the pesthuis entrance building during the renovations.
The beginnings of Naturalis go back to the creation of the National Museum of Natural History by King William I on August 9, 1820. In 1878, the geological and mineralogical collections of the museum separated into two institutions. These remained distinct until the merger of the Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Historie and the Rijksmuseum van Geologie en Mineralogie in 1984, as the Nationaal Natuurhistorisch Museum or National Museum of Natural History.
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