Exploring the Amsterdam Zoo

A visitor staying in an Amsterdam city hotel will find so much to do and see during their time in the city, it will most likely be hard to cram it all into a necessarily restricted schedule. However, if you happen to still have some free time after all your other sightseeing excursions, the Artis Royal Zoo is certainly a wonderful place to head to.

Talk to the animals at the city zoo

Easily accessible from any Amsterdam city hotel, the zoo derives its name from the Latin expression 'natura artis magistra' ('nature teaches art'). It was founded in 1838 by a trio of gentlemen known as the 'three W''s, due to sharing that common initial. Originally open only to members, the zoo started admitting the general public in September of 1851. It wasn't until 1920 that it began to open all year round and, as a reminder of the institution's earlier days, September is still an anniversary month, with tickets being sold at discounted rates for the duration. Good news for tourists staying in an Amsterdam city hotel during that month and looking to visit the zoo!

The current location for the zoo is the Middenhof Estate, bought in 1938 by the zoological society. It is from the gates of said estate that the zoo derives its nickname: each of the words in 'natura artis magistra' was written atop one of its three gates, with 'Artis' occupying the centremost one, which doubled as the zoo's main entrance. As such, people assumed the zoo's name was Artis, and that name stuck ever since.

Since its inception, the Amsterdam Royal Zoo has exhibited both mounted and live specimens, with particular incidence on the latter. The zoo is probably best known for having housed the last quagga (a zebra hybrid) until its death in 1883. The specimen has been stuffed and can be admired at the zoo's museum.

Aside from the zoological park itself, the zoo is home to many zoology-related historic buildings, such as the zoological museum, the botanic garden, a library and an aquarium, as well as two residential buildings converted into animal enclosures.

The zoo is partnered with no less than four international conservation and zoological societies: the NVD, EAZA, ISIS and WAZA. It holds close to 900 species of animals in total.

Animal lovers staying at an Amsterdam city hotel therefore owe it to themselves to visit the Artis Royal Zoo. It is a fine representation of a zoological park and is very easily accessible from any central point in the city.