Our geological collection spans no less than 4.5 billion years: from impressive meteorites testifying of the beginnings of our solar system, unusual rocks and brilliant minerals, to many kilometres of drill cores that give us insight into how the complex Belgian subsurface is structured.
The rich geological collection contains rocks, minerals and meteorites, as well as drill cores and descriptions of drillings.
samples of Belgian soil
of drill cores
Geologists have been collecting ground samples since the middle of the 19th century and have used them to illustrate their descriptions of the "subsurface". This has led to the creation of a lithoteque, a library of rock samples. The collection is still growing and now runs to about 400.000 samples drawn from Belgian soil.
The larger items, the "drill cores", are stored at a different site. If you were to lay these cores end to end they would stretch out for about 40 kilometres! They can be freely consulted by researchers, along with the borehole measurements and descriptions. The drill core archives are of huge value today when it comes to locating sources for geothermal energy for instance.
Minerals and Rocks
We are proud of our mineral collection: more than 35,000 specimens. Of these, 5,100 were found in Belgium and 17 were first discovered and defined here. The Russian minerals and rocks – 800 specimens donated by crown prince William of Orange in 1828 – constitute the oldest section of the Institute’s collections.
The collection of Belgian marble is outstanding. Belgian marble was used in countless historical buildings. The marble gallery at the RBINS – a showpiece from the 1897 World Exhibition in Brussels – offers a wealth of information about the stone quarries of the late 19th century, which no longer operate today.
Most valuable of all is probably the collection of 1,620 meteorites. One of the biggest is the 436 kilogram "Mont-Dieu" meteorite which is on display in the museum's . We also curate pieces of the 6 meteorites found in Belgium and an important collection (420 pieces) of Antarctic meteorites. An 18 kilogram Antarctic meteorite is on display in the gallery 250 Years of Natural Sciences.
Last but not least, the RBINS holds small fragments of moon rocks retrieved by Apollo astronauts.
Marleen De Ceukelaire
Scientific Heritage Service
- +32 2 788 76 37
Learn more about geology
Allow yourself to delight in the splendid colours and gorgeous shapes of some of the finest pieces in our collection.
The 40km long drill core collection of the Belgian subsoil
Conservatories at Péronnes-lez-Binche in Hainaut house 40 km of drill cores. Collected over the last 150 years, these geological samples tell us about the composition of Belgium's subsoil.
Visiting the collections
The history of our collections
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.