Minister Ronald Plasterk (Education, Culture and Science) opened the Netherlands Centre for Biodiversity (Nederlands Centrum voor Biodiversiteit, NCB Naturalis) on Thursday, 28 January 2010. This national centre will integrate the natural history collections that have been established in the Netherlands, including the collection belonging to the University of Amsterdam's (UvA) Zoological Museum, and provide access for research purposes. This will promote the ongoing development of knowledge about biodiversity. In conjunction with the opening, Minister Gerda Verburg (Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality) declared 2010 the ‘International Year of Biodiversity' in the Netherlands. Biodiversity is shrinking throughout the world. Experts say that plant and animal species are now being lost 1,000 times faster than the natural rate of decline. As part of the European directives, the Netherlands wants to make a significant contribution to do something about the reduction in biodiversity.
NCB Naturalis is the result of a joint effort involving the University of Amsterdam (Zoological Museum Amsterdam), Leiden University and Wageningen University (National Herbarium of the Netherlands, Nationaal Herbarium Nederland), and the National Museum of Natural History Naturalis in Leiden.