Posted on: May 04, 2014

Artis Zoo, a small paradise in the center of Amsterdam


Artis, or Natura Artis Magistra, is an amazing zoo in the centre of Amsterdam. It is the oldest zoo in the Netherlands and one of the oldest zoos of mainland Europe. Also contains an aquarium and a planetarium and a fairly large art collection, where part of the collection is on display in the Aquarium building of the zoo.


Artis contains 27 monumental buildings, which are used as enclosures for the animals, making Artis a unique cultural heritage of the 19th century. Artis Royal Zoo is one of the best kept secrets of Amsterdam and is located right in the city centre.


Is home to 750 species of animals, including zebras, giraffes, elephants and chimpanzees, 300 species of trees and many gardens that blossom every spring. You won’t find another spot in Amsterdam that has more nature per square meter than the oldest zoo in Holland.


Visit the Aquarium

Discover the vast diversity of life under water at the historical Aquarium. Marvel at the aquatic tanks in the Main Hall, the Amazonian rainforest, the tropical coral reef and the authentic Amsterdam canal.


The largest Butterfly Pavilion

The Butterfly Pavilion is the largest of its kind in the Netherlands, covering a thousand square meters and housing thousands of butterflies. Twice a day, butterflies that have just crawled out of their cocoons are released into the pavilion. Butterflies flitter through the air, settling briefly on flowers in the colourful borders along the walkways, where you can move freely.

Depending on the season, the Butterfly Pavilion boasts dozens of butterfly species, including the spectacular Blue Morpho, one of the largest butterfly species, which gets its bright blue colour from the shimmering structure of its wings, and the exceptional Swallowtail Butterflies, the fastest-flying butterflies in the world.


Check the Planetarium

Special films are shown every day in the curved, 628 m² dome of the Planetarium. Experience the universe by flying through space. The shows are in Dutch.

Be brave and go to the Insectarium

In 2005, the former food storage facility was converted into an Insectarium. Insects are the most successful creatures on earth; there are more than 750,000 species in this class. Artis has a large collection of insects for you to see.


Historical building inside the Artis Zoo

Artis has gorgeous listed monuments and many historical buildings and unusual gardens. The characteristic buildings give Artis its unique charm and style. Several of the buildings date all the way back to before the zoo was established, including the Wolf House, which used to be an inn, and the Masman Garden House, which is now home to the scarlet ibises and other animals.


Free guided tour

If you visit Artis on a Saturday or Sunday, you can take advantage of a special guided tour, free of charge, which starts at 11.00 o’clock at the Monkey Rock.

Opening times

1 April to 31 October : 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

1 November to 31 March : 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

During the summer (June, July and August) on Saturday evenings open till sunset, with a special program called ZOOmeravonden with events for children, music, guided tours and more. 22 december 2012 - 6 january 2013 (Winternights at the Zoo): 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Tickets are (3 to 9 years) 16,50 and 10+ years old 19,95 euros and they worth every penny!

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Mike Klianis

Designer, marketer & a social media karate kid (No 4). When she grows up, she wants to feed the world with Greek food & Frappe. Admires the yellow angry bird because it strikes its targets with power and precision.