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Terrestrial Invertebrates at Artis Royal Zoo 1838

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warren Spencer

on 20 August 2015

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Transcript of Terrestrial Invertebrates at Artis Royal Zoo 1838

175 years of Terrestrial Invertebrates at Artis Royal Zoo
In the Insects collections move to the Artis library
After many years at the Great Museum and a rapid growth in the size of the collection, there was soon a problem of lack of space and competition with other exhibits.
Therefore in 1868 a decision was made to move the collection to a new building which would also contain the Artis library.

Dr. J. E. Rombouts describes in his "Artis - Kijkes in der dierentuin" Artis, glimpses into the Zoo "
Above runs along the library gallery also completely covered with bookcases and thereon a pair of chambers, which we will enter. Equally Here are about a thousand drawers of the beetles, and other insects chapels arranged and pinned. Here are in a small space more animals together than in the rest of the Zoo.

1838 - 1858
1896 -1934 - the Artis pinned specimen collection.
In 1896, the care of the pinned collection was entrusted to the late Professor JCH the Meijere. Himself a keen entomologist, he gave special tours around the library adorned with glass cases full of beetles, butterflies and many other orders of insects. Since 1892 there had been discussion on the potential of merging the university and Artis insect collections however the merger was not successful until 1938 when it was was officially transferred to the University of Amsterdam.

The living collections began
In many editions of the Artis-Yearbook, which ran from 1852 to 1875, we see the mention in the acquisitions to the collection of live insects. The first date we can prove without doubt of their display was from a 1858 publication titled 'Something about the bees' which writes of the installation of a new type of honey bee hive designed by Dzierzon at the request and the commision of the then Artis director Dr. G.F. Westerman.

Although it is highly likely that some live insects were on display during this period, the collection began with pinned specimens at the small museum at the current parrot avenue (papegaaienlaan) near the entrance of Artis.

That pinned collection grew rapidly, mainly through donations from prominent members who maintained relations with what were then still the East and West India colonies.

Between 1850 and 1854 the collection moved to the beautiful 'Artis Great Museum' at the Plantage Middenlaan, with the ground floor meeting rooms also used as display aread. it was noted that in 1860 some 16,000 insect specimens were in the collection and many of which were on public display.
One year after the departure of Prof de Meijere, a very different insect lover arrived at Artis: Rudolf A. Polak, a teacher from the circle of the naturalists Heimans and Thijsse. His arrival marked the change of emphasis from the display of pinned specimens to living insects and the opening of the first Artis Insectarium.
in 1898 a larger bright room within the reptile house was provided for this new and inovative exhibit . Initially wood made boxes were used until they were replaced by more efficient and more ornate metal and glass and were featured in the 1904 'Guide to the Insectarium.
1898: creation of the first Artis Insectarium
Invertebrates at Artis 1998-2015
This period saw dramatic and exciting developments in the exhibition of these taxa
Butterfly house
Celebrating 160 years of the display of pinned insects and 100 years of the Artis insectarium
Along with the centenary celebrations the pinned collection and entomology in general at Artis was also celebrated
A trinity of insectarium keepers
Since its opening in 1898 the Artis Insectarium has had three major keepers: Rudolf Polak, Dirk Piet and Ko Veltman.
Rudolf A Polak (1868-1943) was the first keeper of insects and worked at Artis from 1898 to 1940. He was a brilliant entomologist and educator and part of the Biologisch Reveil (wake-up call) movement, reminding people of their connection to the natural world. As a Jewish employee Polak suffered under the occupation and was subsequently fired and taken to Theresienstadt camp. The then director Dr Sunier managed to have Polak returned due to his indespensibility to Artis. However Rudolf Polak was a changed man and his return was unfortunately short lived.
Mr. D. Piet had been originally appointed as a teacher by Mr Polak. Affectionally always known as "Mr. Pete" - he officially began work at the Artis insectarium on July 1, 1945. He was attached to Artis via his position at the universities dept Entomology. Also an excellant entomologist the live collection flourished under his attention and he also remained long after his retirement in 1963, providing animals until the Insectarium was closed in 1976, to prepare for a new exhibition.
Ko veltman the third keeper of insects at the Artis insectarium took over in 1980 and managed the newly built insectarium. Ko is again an accomplished entomologist and developed many new initiatives such as the Prikkebean club, insect conservation projects, designing the current insectarium opened in 2005, contributing greatly to the current butterfly house opened in 2006. Ko was also the first chair of the EAZA TITAG. Although now retired, like his predessors he is still involved in entomology and the International Association of Butterfly exhibitors.
Grote museum
The stone pedestal still exists and Artis recently commissioned a full working replica of Dzierzons design situated by the Butterfly garden
Centenary edition of the Artis magazine
By Warren Spencer
Strategic curator Artis Royal Zoo

Maria Sibylla Merian
Big fleas have little fleas,
Upon their backs to bite 'em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas,
and so, ad infinitum.
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