Collections & Data

With 38 million specimens (objects from nature) our Institute’s collections are the third largest in Europe, just after those of the London and Paris museums, and are amongst the largest in the world.

Our natural history collections are the result of many decades of exploration and research. The scientific community is using collections like these to answer important questions about the past, present and future of our planet and life on Earth.

Biological collections can be a starting point for studies on biodiversity loss, climate change, invasive species and the vectors of diseases. Palaeontological collections help reconstruct the impact of environmental changes on fauna and flora of long ago. Geological collections help to map the underground and identify sustainable resources in the transition to a green society. 

For several years now, the RBINS has been committed to an ambitious program to digitiseits collections. Our Institute also manages large databases, resulting from monitoring and other research activities and available for new studies, as well as an ever-growing frozen collection of tissues and molecules.


million specimens


m² of collections


visiting researchers per year


available data sets

Search our collections


Virtual collections
(digitized specimens)

(general info)

Metadata catalog 
(available scientific data sets)

Our curators

Visiting the collections

Are you a researcher wishing to study a collection?

Contact the specific curator

You want a backstage guided tour with a peek into our collections and labs?

Book a guide

The history of our collections

How did our eclectic selection of specimens grow into one of the most important in the world?

Read all about it

Donate your collection

Your private collection or the one you inherited could be of great scientific value. Why not donate them to the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences? We will keep the specimens in perfect condition.

Contact the specific curator