Artis, Amsterdam Royal Zoo

Quality Time in ARTIS, Amsterdam Royal Zoo

I was so cross with my mummy this morning!  I wasn’t aware I could have that much of a temper!


I spent an entire day planning a fantastic day out for my future mamie and myself as I would like to start “the grandparent bonding thing” as soon as possible. As I have 4 grandparents, each having a different nationality, I reckon I can learn so much from them, but therefore I need to spend time with them separately, otherwise the language cacophony will make me crazy.

  • photo by

Really, you’ll understand why I was so cross!  For the first grandparent bonding – the Getting to Know my French Mamie project - I had bought entrance tickets to ARTIS, Amsterdam Royal Zoo, which attracts a lot of tourists from all over the world because of its unique character. I’ll tell you more about ARTIS itself later. Now back to the reason of my angriness: Mummy decided she DID NOT WANT TO GO … and without her I couldn’t go anywhere!

Do you realise what a hell of a job it is to organise getting entrance tickets “down under”?  As there is really no space for a printer here, I could use my future’s dad Wifi-printer to have the e-tickets printed, but you have no idea the stress I had paying for these tickets!  I obtained a VISA-card some time ago, but I dropped it unfortunately in my big motherly pool. I don’t recall how I eventually found it back, but it was not easy!

  • Sanuk Asian elephant in Artis Amsterdam Zoo by


A few months ago, I became Facebook friends with one of the ARTIS animals. Her name is Sanuk, a two-year-old Asian baby elephant.  She has been very ill last winter, but thanks to efficient medical care, she fully recovered from a viral infection.  She was so excited that I came to visit her home in the Amsterdam Zoo, that she pulled some strings and was able to arrange reduced tickets for me. How kind of her, don’t you think? We both had looked so much forward to finally catching up. She wanted to introduce me to her mother Thong Thai and her halfsister Yindee as well, so you can imagine how disappointed we both were when our plans threatened to fall to pieces! What about my social abilities? How would I ever improve my social abilities? I have been down here for so many months, that I am really starting to get isolated!  I needed to get OUT, one way or the other!!!  I was really fed up! I tried to call out for help by putting an SOS-sign in a small bottle and throwing it in the water, but mummy kept ignoring me. So, I really felt as if I was in a hopeless situation.

However, both my curiosity and my positive spirit (which I can only have inherited from my father I reckon) kept me going. Wouldn’t you like to meet all these baby animals and their moms and dads? Especially for mummy, I thought it to be a good idea to check out how these animal parents are taking care of their babies and how they listen to their babies. After all, mummy might even learn from this unique experience, and that might be to my advantage after all.


ARTIS has quite a lot of animal new-borns, such as a baby gorilla, California sea lions, a yellow-cheeked gibbon, Japanese macaques – also known as “snow monkeys” and many more.

In order not to get lost between all the animals, Sanuk sent me a map by e-mail, which you can access through the ARTIS website.

After a lot of begging, I finally “blackmailed” mummy in accompanying us by promising her to always be a good boy. We’ll just have to see whether I can keep that promise after the “drop-out”…  For this purpose, my promise seemed to work.

And a wonderful day out it was! Even mummy enjoyed it very much, although she did not want to admit it! Women!!!

I got fantastic pictures which I would like to share with you all! I hope to give you a good idea of the gorgeous day we had!

  • Photo by Rien Janssen (


I read on Wikipedia that “ARTIS in short for Natura Artis Magistra (Latin for "Nature is the teacher of the arts"), is a zoo in the centre of Amsterdam. It is the oldest zoo in the Netherlands and one of the oldest zoos of mainland Europe. Next to possessing a zoo, ARTIS also contains an aquarium and a planetarium. The zoo was founded in 1838. It was initially open only to members. Starting in 1851 it was opened to the public during the month of September. In 1920 it was opened year-round to the public, but September remains discount month.”

On the Artis website you can read all about this unique zoo.

Catching up with Sanuk was a special moment. She told me a lot about her unique animal friends – including some gossip, which gossip I promised not to share with you.


A sad thing I do want to share with you: the famous male lion, called “Caesar” died in 2018 at the age of 20. Sanuk was still very young at the time he passed away, but all the animals in Artis still remember this iconic animal. The “Johan Cruyff” in animal land, they call him. I am so lucky that I was allowed to use the gorgeous Caesar (and friends) pictures by the Dutch photographer Rien Janssen.

  • Photo by Rien Janssen (

Luckily Artis could welcome a young male lion at the end of 2018 as a new companion for the 2 female lions. I forgot to ask Sanuk whether he already been given a name.  I know it is ARTIS’ policy not to humanize the animals, which I reckon is good. Therefore, they do not mention the given names to the species mentioned on the signs near the animal residences. However, for us young ones, it is always nice from a bonding perspective to know the animal’s name.

  • Photo by Rien Janssen (


I know that some of you might not be in favour of animals being kept in captivity, but I appreciate the fact that ARTIS is constantly striving to obtain more space for the animals in their zoo, instead of increasing the amount of animal species. Moreover, catching animals in the wild has not been accepted since the 1960s. Breeding and sharing is now taking place in zoos.

For an overview of all animals currently residing in Artis, please visit the ARTIS website. The names of the animals are in Dutch with the Latin name, so that you can find the English translation yourself. I was amazed by the large collection of birds and butterflies and I must admit I’m pretty proud of the pictures I was able to take.

  • Cormorant in ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo, wings spread to dry by

Artis also has the only museum of microbes in the world, called ARTIS-Micropia. So you might want to check that one out as well!


Sustainability is an important issue for Artis. It is also an entirely smokefree park since this year.

ARTIS’ sustainability message states that every person, every organization has an influence on nature and the environment. Everyone uses raw materials, food, energy, water and produces waste. To limit harmful effects on nature, you can take measures such as reducing water consumption, separating waste and using green energy. ARTIS is fully engaged in this. It fits in with ARTIS’s core message of love and care for nature. By setting a good example, ARTIS also wants to encourage the public to make sustainable choices, especially when ordering food and drink.

  • Dutch cargo bike selling ice-cream and snacks and drinks at ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo - photo by


As the ARTIS grounds are mostly wheelchair accessible, they are also ideal for baby strollers. Why not make use of the ARTIS trolley for your toddler?

  • ARTIS trolley for toddlers by

Mamie, mummy and I had a truly interesting afternoon in ARTIS.  Because it is a city zoo, it is quite compact, so that you all animals are at a reasonable distance, making it also interesting for babies and toddlers to enjoy. A huge advantage is that admission for babies and toddlers under three is free. Don’t you just adore this picture of the toddler having fun in ARTIS? It certainly made me smile!

  • Girl toddler splashing water in ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo, black background photo by

My special thanks to all the animals in Artis, in particular Sanuk, for making us feel really welcome. I’m sure we will meet again soon.

Dear friends, should you also happen to pay a visit to this Amsterdam gem, don’t forget to pass on my warmest regards to Sanuk.

Warm regards,



Ps This is not a sponsored post. All opinions provided in this article are strictly those of

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