ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo (founded as Natura Artis Magistra) is one of the city’s premier visitor attractions – a magnificent zoo set in a large park in the picturesque Plantage area of the city.
ARTIS was originally founded in 1838 making it the oldest zoo in the Netherlands. It is home to some 900 animal species and 250 variety of trees including Amsterdam’s oldest monumental tree – the Heimans Oak dating from 1750.
The ARTIS park grounds are beautifully landscaped and contain some fine listed buildings – particularly the Aquarium from 1882.
Some of the highlights at ARTIS include:
Planetarium – A visual exhibit on the moon, planets and stars. Most of the shows are in Dutch, some are in English – check the timetable on the day to plan your visit. The Planetarium is located just left of the main entrance.
Aquarium – The building is found at the south-east corner of the zoo. You can see displays of an Amazonian mangrove, an Amsterdam canal, a tropical coral reef wall and a coral table. [Note, currently under renovation.]
Lemur Land – Check-out the cheeky lemurs up close and their sunbathing technique.
Savannah – See giraffes, zebras and kudus together at the northern flank of the park with Amsterdam’s Entrepotdok canal in the background.
Elephants – Adjacent to the Savannah area is the Asian elephant enclosure. These are separated by a walkway over the water.
Gorilla House – come face-to-face with a family of gorillas.
Butterfly Pavilion – step in to this tropical enclosure and surround yourself with thousands of butterflies, including the striking Blue Morpho.
Other highlights include big cats (lions and jaguar enclosures), reptile house (crocodiles) and the Insectarium (an assortment of creepy crawlies).
ARTIS is a great place for kids. There is a small petting zoo on the right just after the entrance, a couple of dinosaur sculptures near the Aquarium and a playground area.
There are a number of cafe/restaurants around the park. Signs throughout the zoo are in Dutch and English.
Once inside the entrance you can head down Papegaaienlaan (Parrot Lane). At the end, near the ‘Gibbon Island’ is a large display map of the zoo – it is handy to take a photo to use as a reference point for your visit.
Artisplein is a public space at ARTIS which is freely open and accessible daily 0700-2330. With chairs, beautiful trees, a water table fountain and views of the flamingo pond and Dutch polder aviary, it is a lovely spot to sit.
Opened in 2014, Micropia is a unique museum at ARTIS about the world of micro-organisms. It is found just to the right of the main ARTIS entrance.
The ARTIS Groote Museum on Artisplein looks at the connection between humans, animals, plants, and microbes. The building dates back to 1885 and the original museum closed in 1947. Following a major 5 year restoration it was re-opened in 2022.
For those who would enjoy a zoo in beautiful surroundings then ARTIS is highly recommended. A visit takes about 3-4 hours although you can stay all day if so inclined.
ARTIS Zoo visitors need to buy a ticket and reserve a time-slot online in advance.
ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo Essential Info
|Opening Times||Daily 0900-1700 (Nov-Feb), 0900-1800 (Mar-Oct). In summer (June-Aug) ARTIS closes at sunset. Open 365 days of the year.|
|Admission Prices (2022)||Standard admission to ARTIS Park is €25 for all aged 13+ and €21 for children aged 3-12. Free entry for children 0-2 and Iamsterdam City Card holders.|
You can buy the Iamsterdam City Card online here – this includes free entry to Artis and Micropia plus much more
|Getting There||ARTIS can easily be reached from the centre of Amsterdam on foot – head towards Waterlooplein and continue further east along the Plantage Middenlaan. From Amsterdam Central take tram 14 to the ARTIS stop. Metro lines 51, 53 and 54 serve Waterlooplein.|
ARTIS, Plantage Kerklaan 38-40, 1018 CZ Amsterdam
T: +31(0)20-5233671, artis.nl
Last updated 14 September 2022. This article was first published in 2011 and has been regularly updated.