Did You Know ...

... that there's a zoo for microorganisms?

In many cities the zoo is a popular destination for both tourists and locals, no matter where you are in the world. But up until now you only found animals in a zoo and plants in a botanical garden. However, an import group of creatures was missing: microorganisms. You can't see microorganisms with the naked eye, which is why you haven't seen them at your local zoo – until now.

Haig Balian, the Director of the Natura Artis, a zoo in Amsterdam, recognized this deficiency and decided to include microorganisms. The Artis has always been a lot more than 'just' a zoo. It's a place that brings together animals, plants, stars, culture, art and education at one location. Now microorganisms are being added to the list.

The tiny creatures are being presented at the Micropia Museum, located in De Ledenlokalen, a historic building in the southwest corner of the Artis. ZEISS microscopes have also been integrated into this exhibition. The Micropia Museum does more than just put microorganisms on display for visitors: it is a unique institute for the study and visualization of microorganisms. Microbiology can help us overcome modern challenges in the fields of medicine and environmental protection as well as in the provision of drinking water and food. "With this project at the Micropia Museum, I've fulfilled my ecological boyhood dream," says Haig Balian. "It shows you just how interconnected nature is."

23 March 2016