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Come check out the colourful fish and the Amsterdam Canal in the ARTIS Aquarium during your visit to ARTIS.

Come check out the ARTIS Aquarium during your visit to ARTIS. Since its opening in 1882, the ARTIS Aquarium has housed dozens of animal species. These include not only tropical fish, like the red-bellied piranha and the rainbowfish, but also seahorses, endangered coral species and even sharks. The monumental building is home to various amphibians as well, such as axolotls and spadefoot toads. You can visit the ARTIS Aquarium for free with an admission ticket to the ARTIS Park. The Aquarium is also available outside regular opening hours for parties, dinners and other events.

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In 1877, Natura Artis Magistra purchased a plot of land along Plantage Middenlaan. This plot would soon become the site of the Aquarium. Construction began in the summer of 1879. The design of the Aquarium was not the only thing that caused a stir; the techniques used in its construction were unheard of at the time as well. In order to withstand the weight of over a million litres of water and ten tonnes of glass panels, a total of 1,740 wooden posts were driven into the ground. On 2 December 1882, the building – designed by a father and son duo by the name of Salm – was opened to the public.

The Aquarium underwent an extensive renovation in 1997. This included the removal of previous modifications to reveal the building's original ornamental features. Four large basins were also added. These enormous reservoirs contain water biotopes, such as Amazonian mangroves, the Amsterdam canal, a tropical coral reef wall and a coral table. 

Amsterdam canal

The Amsterdam canal in the Aquarium was renovated in 2017. A special display highlights the global problem of plastic in the water. With this display, ARTIS aims to call attention to the issue and hopes that people will change their actions to reduce pollution. Pollution from plastic and other materials has harmful effects on both nature and humans. 

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Exhibition spaces

Historical collections are also on display in the building, along with temporary exhibitions at the rear. The Heimans Diorama dates from 1926. This work combines a painted panorama with sand and stuffed animals to portray a coastal dune landscape.

ARTIS is showcasing photographer Claudius Schulze, whose exhibition 'State of Nature' is on view at the ARTIS Aquarium. ARTIS and Schulze have joined forces to spark a discussion about how humans experience and treat nature. A German native, Claudius Schulze has travelled throughout Europe to photograph its landscapes. Each picture reveals the human impact on those landscapes, from an emerging cable car to paved sand dunes.

Food for the fish

For decades, water fleas from the ponds at ARTIS have been fed to the animals in the Aquarium. During the summer, around five pounds of water fleas are gathered from the ponds each day. Part of this is frozen for the winter. In Micropia, microbes called rotifers are cultured as food for the seahorses and jellyfish at the Aquarium.