Diergaarde Blijdorp, Rotterdam, Netherlands | CruiseBe
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Diergaarde Blijdorp

Blijdorp, Rotterdam, Netherlands
History and museums
zoo, nature, landmark

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).



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.

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.

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. The zoo and its supporters protested the decision, claiming it is unclear if the zoo can continue to operate with the reduced budget.

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.

Breeding programs

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.

Botanical garden

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


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

  • Tufted deer (Elaphodus cephalophus)
  • Francois' langur (Trachypithecus francoisi)
  • Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra)

The Amur

  • Greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)
  • White stork (Ciconia ciconia)
  • Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis)
  • Northern hawk-owl (Surnia ulula)
  • Great grey owl (Strix nebulosa)
  • Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus)
  • Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
  • Manchurian crane (Grus japonensis)

Malayan forest edge & Asia House

  • Visayan warty pig (Sus cebifrons)
  • Visayan spotted deer (Cervus alfredi)
  • Lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus)
  • Fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus)
  • Banteng (Bos javanicus)
  • Blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra)
  • Wreathed hornbill (Aceros undulatus)
  • Indian eagle-owl (Bubo bengalensis)
  • Bali myna (Leucopsar rothschildi)
  • Crested partridge (Rollulus rouloul)
  • Black-naped fruit dove (Ptilinopus melanospilus)
  • Roti Island snake-necked turtle (Chelodina mccordi)
  • Amboina box turtle (Cuora amboinensis)
  • Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis)
  • Chinese crocodile lizard (Shinisaurus crocodilurus)
  • Philippine sailfin lizard (Hydrosaurus pustulatus)
  • Indian cobra (Naja naja)
  • Rhinoceros ratsnake (Rhynchophis boulengeri)
  • Archerfish ( Toxotes species)

Asian swamp

  • White-naped crane (Grus vipio)
  • Demoiselle crane (Anthropoides virgo)
  • Asian small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus)
  • Sulawesi crested macaque (Macaca nigra)
  • Little egret (Egretta garzetta)
  • Black-headed ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus)
  • Painted stork (Mycteria leucocephala)
  • Milky stork (Mycteria cinerea)
  • Woolly-necked stork (Ciconia episcopus)
  • Black-crowned night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
  • Pied imperial pigeon (Ducula bicolor)
  • Fulvous whistling duck (Dendrocygna bicolor)
  • Green peafowl (Pavo muticus)

Mongolian steppes

  • Bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus)
  • Pallas cat (Otocolobus manul)
  • Gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus)

Takin rock

  • Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta)

Taman Indah

  • Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis)
  • Asian elephant (Elephas maximus)
  • Greater Indian hornbill (Buceros bicornis)
  • Indian python (Python molurus bivittatus)
  • White-handed gibbon (Hylobates lar)
  • Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus)
  • Plum-headed parakeet (Psittacula cyanocephala)
  • Asian arowana (Scleropages formosus )

Tiger Enclosure

  • Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae)


  • Eurasian wolf (Canis lupus lupus)
  • Finnish forest reindeer (Rangifer tarandus fennicus)


Gorilla exhibit

  • Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla)
  • Greater spot-nosed monkey (Cercopithecus nictitans)


  • Okapi (Okapia johnstoni)
  • Red river hog (Potamochoerus porcus)
  • Bongo (Tragelaphus eurycerus isaaci)
  • Kirk's dik-dik (Madoqua kirkii)


  • Reticulated giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata)
  • Chapman's zebra (Equus quagga antiquorum)
  • Greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros)
  • Ostrich (Struthio camelus)
  • Marabou stork (Leptoptilos crumeniferus)
  • Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta)
  • Grey crowned crane (Balearica regulorum)
  • White-backed vulture (Gyps africanus)
  • Rüppell's vulture (Gyps rueppellii)
  • White-headed vulture (Trigonoceps occipitalis)
  • Hooded vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus)
  • Southern ground hornbill (Bucorvus leadbeateri)
  • Spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta)
  • Serval (Leptailurus serval)
  • Yellow mongoose (Cynictis penicillata)
  • Cape ground squirrel (Xerus inauris)
  • Black-headed weaver (Ploceus melanocephalus)
  • Guinea turaco (Tauraco persa)
  • Crested guinea fowl (Guttera pucherani)

Crocodile river (Opened 2008)

  • Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus)
  • Slender-snouted crocodile (Crocodylus cataphractus)
  • Sudan plated lizard (Gerrhosaurus major)
  • African spurred tortoise (Geochelone sulcata)
  • Pancake tortoise (Malacochersus tornieri)
  • African catfish (Clarias gariepinus)
  • Northern carmine bee-eater (Merops nubicus)
  • Black and rufous elephant shrew (Rhynchocyon petersi)
  • Cape porcupine (Hystrix africaeaustralis)
  • Rock hyrax (Procavia capensis)


  • Von Der Decken's hornbill (Tockus deckeni)
  • Western plantain-eater (Crinifer piscator)
  • Superb starling (Lamprotornis superbus)
  • Crowned lapwing (Vanellus coronatus)
  • Pygmy hippo (Hexaprotodon liberiensis)
  • Black rhino (Diceros bicornis)
  • Mhorr gazelle (Gazella dama mhorr)


  • Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus)
  • Corsican fire salamander (Salamandra corsica)
  • Yellow anaconda (Eunectes notaeus)
  • Hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus)

South America

  • Maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus)
  • Vicuña (Vicugna vicugna)
  • Lesser rhea (Rhea pennata)
  • Greater guinea pig (Cavia magna)
  • Southern pudu (Pudu puda)
  • Scarlet ibis (Eudocimus ruber)
  • Southern screamer (Chauna torquata)
  • Blue-and-yellow macaw (Ara ararauna)
  • Scarlet macaw (Ara macao)

North America


  • Bison (Bison bison)
  • Prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus)


  • Polar bear (Ursus maritimus)
  • Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus)
  • Snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus)
  • Steller's sea eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus)
  • Steppe lemming (Lagurus lagurus)


Bass Rock

  • Puffin (Fratercula arctica)
  • Common guillemot (Uria aalge)
  • Black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla)
  • Common eider (Somateria mollissima)

North Sea

  • European lobster (Homarus gammarus)
  • Nursehound (Scyliorhinus stellaris)
  • Small-spotted catshark (Scyliorhinus canicula)
  • Blonde ray (Raja brachyura)
  • Thornback ray (Raja clavata)
  • Herring (Clupeus harengus)
  • Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus)
  • Thicklip grey mullet (Chelon labrosus)
  • Different species of wrasse
  • Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita)

Atlantic Ocean

  • Nurse shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum)
  • Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)
  • Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
  • Southern stingray (Dasyatis americana)
  • Barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda)
  • Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus)


  • Green moray eel (Gymnothorax funebris)
  • Scribbled filefish (Aluterus scriptus)
  • Longsnout seahorse (Hippocampus reidi)

The Antilles

  • Cuban hutia (Capromys pilorides)
  • Toco toucan (Ramphastos toco)
  • Aruba rattlesnake (Crotalus durissus unicolor)
  • Cuban boa (Epicrates angulifer)
  • Plumed basilisk (Basiliscus plumifrons)
  • Utila iguana (Ctenosaura bakeri)
  • Red-bellied piranha (Pygocentrus nattereri)
  • Black pacu (Colossoma macropomum)
  • Cuvier's dwarf caiman (Paleosuchus palpebrosus)
  • Bonnethead shark (Sphyrna tiburo)
  • Cownose ray (Rhinoptera bonasus)


  • King penguin (Aptenodytes patagonica)
  • Gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua)


  • Galapagos giant tortoise (Geochelone nigra)

Sea of Cortez

  • Swift fox (Vulpes velox)
  • Rock squirrel (Spermophilus variegatus)
  • Greater roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus)
  • Burrowing owl (Speotyto cunicularia)
  • Chuckwalla (Sauromalus species)
  • Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum)
  • Eastern king snake (Lampropeltis getulus)
  • Colorado River toad (Bufo alvarius)
  • Different kinds of fish, including Oxycirrhites typus (long-snouted hawkfish)
  • Scorpion

Californian Kelp Sea

  • North Pacific giant octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini)
  • Leopard shark (Triakis semifasciata)
  • Horn shark (Heterodontus francisci)
  • Sea otter (Enhydra lutris)
  • Californian sea lion (Zalophus californianus)
  • Sea stars, sea urchins and others

Other animals

  • Asian lion (Panthera leo persica)
  • Red panda (Ailurus fulgens fulgens)
  • Heliconius and other butterflies
  • Slender-tailed meerkat (Suricata suricatta)
  • Swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolor)

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.

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