() is a zoo
in the centre of Antwerp
, located right next to the Antwerpen-Centraal railway station
. It is the oldest animal park in the country, and one of the oldest in the world, established on 21 July 1843.
Since its foundation, the park has been controlled by De Koninklijke Maatschappij voor Dierkunde van Antwerpen
, a society originally called Société Royale de Zoologie d'Anvers
(The Antwerp Royal Society for Zoology). This also became the popular nickname for the zoo "De Zoologie". The initial objective was to encourage zoological
sciences. The first director was renowned zoologist and botanist Jacques Kets (10 November 1785 – 1 February 1865). He accepted this position on one condition: a museum had to be built to house his nature-historical collections. This building was inaugurated in 1844 by H.R.H. King Léopold I
. The predicate Royal
was added to the name of the society on that occasion.
Throughout the years it has tried to encourage wildlife preservation
through activities and exhibits on a recreational, educational, scientific and cultural level.
In its early years, the size of the park grew from less than to more than . Notable buildings from that period are the Egyptian temple (1856) and the antelope building (1861) in Oriental style, which now houses the okapis
The zoo has also a cultural function. Originally, concerts where held in the garden. Later... Read More