Rationalising collections on a national scale in the Netherlands

Back to presentations: Rationalising and connecting glasshouse collections training day

Rationalising collections on a national scale

Dr. Paul Kessler, Director Hortus Botanicus Leiden, introduced the Dutch Foundation of Botanical Gardens (NVBT), containing 24 gardens, many managed as Trusts, situated all over The Netherlands. Together members aim to contribute to the conservation of botanical diversity for a greener future. Members of the NVBT commit themselves to specific criteria concerning the management of living plant collections and the use of those collections for scientific research, nature conservation, exhibitions and/or education.

The Foundation includes 8 university botanic gardens of which only 3 remain as University managed plant collections, namely Delft, Utrecht and Leiden, the latter being oldest botanic garden in the Netherlands. Over the last 30 years these three gardens have worked together to theme collections held across the three gardens. Many natural history collections including plant collections are linked through the Naturalis Biodiversity Center which is a national museum of natural history and a research center on biodiversity in Leiden, Netherlands.

Collections are audited by an independent body and the Museum Association also audits accession and de-accession policies at gardens. De-accessions are offered to other gardens before disposal.

Collections are decided through the garden’s collection policy and accessions take into account education and scientific value. The reasons for collections may not always apparent to garden visitors on site but their value is related through newsletters and the education programme.


Collaborative working across garden is strong but databases vary but generally allow shared data access.

Dutch Foundation of Botanical Gardens (NVBT)                http://www.botanischetuinen.nl/en/

Naturalis Biodiversity Center                                                    https://www.naturalis.nl/en/