Impressions of Holland – 3: Naturalis

That is, the Museum of Natural History, in Leiden.

It’s awesome! Especially their Tree of Life, which takes up most of the lower two floors, is something that needs to be seen to be appreciated.

I’ll get the photographic nerdiness out of the way first; this was the second outing of the new Tamron 90mm lens. Sometimes frustrating, because you need to get pretty far back (sometimes not possible, grr) to get stuff into the frame – but the things that did work, worked pretty neat I think. Well judge for yourself!

First off, upon arrival this little surprise awaits you in the cloakroom:

Never stop playing

And that shows a sense of humour that is continued throughout the museum. very nice.

Then there is the Tree of Life, which (duh) doesn’t fit at all into a 90mm frame – so just an arty-farty detail:

Tree of Life

Another little piece of humour, upstairs of the Tree of Life, where living examples of groups are given:

Fly squirrel fly!

That’s how the flying squirrel was done. Very neato. (That in the background is indeed an elephant.)

Then there were (only two, but space is a problem, obviously) dinosaur skeletons, this was the larger one smiling at everyone:

He's smiling, no?

And it was waggin its tail, too – or was the tail wagging the dinosaur?

Who's wagging who?

A flying distant cousin of the friendly dinosaur above soared majestically above the land-dwellers:

Pterodactyl soaring above

The taxydermists of Naturalis are very very good indeed as was evidenced by a diorama (well technically not really a diorama but Naturalis likes to mix its nature with its obviously being a museum built by modern technology), which gave me these three photos:

Lion & Zebra

(and from its left side, this poor zebra was under assault from a hunting dog! the poor thing…)

Cheetah & Gazelle

Another bit of humour there in the background, where a sloth was dangling from a metal tubing construction, much like a playground contraption. Outside of the frame right, monkeys were doing the same thing.

And not only the big guns got to play:

Cat & Mouse

As it turns out, I have no concluding remark or summary… oh my! So i’ll just say it’s a museum well worth visiting – and when you’re there, play with the controls of the Tree of Life – it’s amazing!


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