Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences comprises of Museum of Natural Sciences which is located in Belgian capital of Brussels dedicated to natural history. The dinosaur hall of the museum is the worlds largest museum hall completely dedicated to dinosaurs. The museum also obtained the skeletons from a bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) and a young blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus), which are still on display in the museum. In 1860 the skeleton of a mammoth was found near Lier and due to the prompt action of François-Joseph Scohy it was preserved and brought to the museum, where it has been on display since 1869. At that time the only other skeleton of a mammoth on display was in the museum of Saint Petersburg (Russia). In 1878, the largest find of Iguanodon fossils to date occurred in a coal mine at Bernissart in Belgium. At least 38 Iguanodon individuals were uncovered, of which 30 have been on display since they were moved here from their original home at the Palace of Charles of Lorraine in 1891.
The scientific staff are divided into three operational directorates and one scientific service: the OD Earth and History of Life, the OD Natural Environment, the OD Taxonomy and Phylogeny, and the Scientific Heritage Service, which is also responsible for the library. The collections can be roughly divided up into six categories: entomology, recent invertebrates, recent vertebrates, anthropology, palaeontology and geology. Click on the pictures below for a more detailed overview of the collection categories, the rare specimens, the importance of collections for science and find out more about the people whose job it is to conserve these natural treasures. These collections, which are the result of many decades of exploration and research, help us to better understand the history of life on Earth and biodiversity, and to come up with better ways of protecting the environment. Today, with the aid of modern technology, scientists are making new discoveries about this natural heritage.
RBINS has four major missions: Scientific research into natural sciences; Scientific expertise at the service of the public authorities; Conservation and management of scientific and heritage collections; Dissemination of scientific knowledge in society. The scientific personnel includes mainly biologists, palaeontologists and geologists, but also oceanographers, anthropologists, prehistorians and archaeologists, as well as geographers, physicists, bio-engineers and mathematicians, which enables it to conduct multidisciplinary research. It also provides scientific expertise under Belgium’s international commitments in relation to environmental protection. It develops tools and methods for monitoring natural land or marine environments. It also offers useful advice for the development of national and European policies for the protection and conservation of biotopes and biodiversity and the use of natural resources.
The Natural Science Museum is the visible part of the RBINS. It has 16,000 m² of permanent galleries, temporary exhibition rooms and educational workshops, public spaces of all kind, enabling it to welcome more or less 300,000 visitors each year, approximately 30% of whom are school groups. Its Dinosaur Gallery is world famous and the largest in Europe. It plays a leading role in the promotion and dissemination of scientific culture, both within and beyond its walls, notably through travelling exhibitions and events. We are pursuing ambitious efforts to gradually renovate the premises, to make the Museum more convivial and better adapted to people’s expectations. Our Museum also takes a resolute position promoting a more respectful approach to nature.