Zoological Museum, University of Amsterdam (UvA)

Collections & Expertise

NL-TAF is based on large and well-documented scientific collections of zoological, botanical, palaeontological and geological specimens. They comprise a total of over 30 million specimens, containing 280,000 primary types. Unique is the extraordinary coverage of the Malesian region. World-class strengths are numerous; a selection is listed in NL-TAF annex.

The physical arrangement and accessibility of the collections are of the highest standards. Through focused digitisation efforts many of the important groups in the collections are completely accessible digitally, e.g. types at NHN, fishes at NNM, and several groups of invertebrates at ZMA. Altogether, the databases add up to over 4 million records. Excluding entomology and molluscs, the databases cover almost 50% of the collections.

Expertise: NL-TAF scientists are leading experts in a variety of zoological, botanical, mycological, microbiological and geological disciplines (NL-TAF annex). They are at the forefront of a wide range of biodiversity assessment projects and biodiversity informatics developments. NL-TAF scientists are experts in combining collection-based, observational, chronological, GIS, and functional ecological data, having at hand several centuries-old records of various detailed monitoring projects, comprising millions of records.

The scientific and technical staff is trained to support visiting scientists, primarily in joint research projects and are dedicated to supporting Users, which is reflected in the internal procedures that provide quality and efficiency and promote optimal results. In addition, the electronic publishing facilities are open to Users and enable worldwide dissemination of scientific results.

Facilities: include well-equipped molecular biology laboratories, with an ‘ancient DNA facility’, information technology and bio-informatics units, and excellent libraries. The ancient DNA laboratory allows for the analysis of DNA from old museum and herbarium specimens, fossil material, and forensic samples. The laboratories house the complete range of equipment and facilities for biochemical analysis, molecular sequencing, primer and micro-array development, transgenic facilities, transmission and scanning microscopy, and other physical instrumentation. Special laboratory teams support the use of these facilities.


The large libraries that serve NL-TAF belong to the best in Europe. They comprise all taxonomic, theoretical and technical literature that is essential for scientists working in the facility.

Department Collection highlights and staff expertise