Diergaarde Blijdorp

Diergaarde Blijdorp

Old entrance of the Diergaarde in Blijdorp.
Date opened 1857
Location Blijdorp, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Coordinates 51°55′37″N 4°26′53″E / 51.9269605°N 4.4481325°E / 51.9269605; 4.4481325Coordinates: 51°55′37″N 4°26′53″E / 51.9269605°N 4.4481325°E / 51.9269605; 4.4481325
Memberships NVD[1] and EAZA[2]
Website www.diergaardeblijdorp.nl?lang=EN

Diergaarde Blijdorp (Official Dutch name: Stichting Koninklijke Rotterdamse Diergaarde, Foundation Royal Zoo of Rotterdam) is a zoo in the northwestern part of Rotterdam, one of the oldest zoos in the Netherlands. In 2007 it celebrated its 150th anniversary.

Diergaarde Blijdorp is a member of the Dutch Zoo Federation (NVD) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA).


Giraffes and monumental building

The Rotterdam Zoo moved to its new location in the Blijdorp district prior to the bombing of Rotterdam in World War II, which destroyed most of the city centre. The original zoo had been heavily damaged in a bombing two days prior to the Blitz but it had not been touched by the main bombardment on May 10, 1940. Some streetnames, such as Diergaardesingel (Zoolane), still recall the old zoo. Blijdorp was rebuilt slightly to the north, where it opened to the public in its current location on December 7, 1940. The new zoo was designed by Dutch architect Sybold van Ravesteyn, who designed the central railway station in Rotterdam, as well. In 2001, Blijdorp became almost twice as large when it opened a new western part, which includes the aquarium Oceanium. In 2007, the zoo was declared a rijksmonument.[3]

In May 2007 the zoo appeared in the news when Bokito, Blijdorp's silverback gorilla, escaped from his enclosure and seriously injured a female visitor. Before the attack, the woman was a regular visitor of the zoo (on average 4 times per week) and claimed to have a special bond with Bokito, regularly touching the glass between her and the gorilla, making eye contact and smiling to him.[4]

In October 2010, the city of Rotterdam decided to reduce its yearly funding of Blijdorp from nearly 4.5 to about 0.8 million Euro until 2015.[5] The zoo and its supporters protested the decision, claiming it is unclear if the zoo can continue to operate with the reduced budget.[6]

In March 2014, the zoo made headlines when a zoo cleaning worker in the giraffe exhibit dying of terminal brain cancer was taken to the exhibit and was licked by one of the giraffes; the video went viral worldwide quickly.[7]

Breeding programs

A red panda (Ailurus fulgens fulgens) in Diergaarde Blijdorp. Blijdorp coordinates the international breeding program for this species.

Diergaarde Blijdorp participates in about 70 breeding programs and studbooks, and coordinates a number of these, including the international breeding program for red pandas, EEPs for Asian elephant, Komodo dragon, red-crowned and Siberian crane, Visayan warty pig and Egyptian tortoise, and the ESB for the crowned pigeons.[8]

Botanical garden

Blijdorp also houses a botanical garden and manages both the Dutch National Bromelia Collection and the Dutch National Primula Collection.[9]


Main article: Oceanium

The Oceanium is an aquarium that opened in the zoo in 2001. The Oceanium lies in the expansion area of the zoo, which includes a new entrance and parking area, and was the biggest project to date for the zoo. The area around the Oceanium is home to projects depicting the Americas.

Animal list


Chinese garden

The Amur

Malayan forest edge & Asia House

Asian swamp

Mongolian steppes

Takin rock

Taman Indah

Tiger Enclosure



Gorilla exhibit



Crocodile river (Opened 2008)



South America

North America




Bass Rock

North Sea

Atlantic Ocean


The Antilles



Sea of Cortez

Californian Kelp Sea

Other animals

Blijdorp magazine

The quarterly magazine of Blijdorp Zoo is called Blijdorp Blad. The first edition of the jubilee year 2007 included articles on the history of the zoo to celebrate its 150th anniversary.


  1. "General". nvdzoos.nl. Dutch Zoo Federation. Retrieved 8 October 2010.
  2. "EAZA Member Zoos & Aquariums". eaza.net. European Association of Zoos and Aquaria. Retrieved 8 October 2010.
  3. "Diergaarde Blijdorp (rijksmonument #530738)". Monumentenregister (in Dutch). Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed. Retrieved 10 February 2012.)
  4. News story on the aftermath of Bokito's escape
  5. Pleidooi tegen voorgenomen subsidiekorting Diergaarde Blijdorp, homepage of Blijdorp zoo, 2010-10-25 (in Dutch)
  6. Blijdorp moet blijven!, homepage of "Vrienden van Blijdorp", a club supporting the zoo, retrieved 2011-02-06
  7. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/03/22/giraffe-kiss-zoo/6736689/
  8. EAZA list of EEPs and ESBs
  9. Website Rotterdam Zoo, botanical garden
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