Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden

Naturalis Biodiversity Center reopened its doors in Leiden. A brand-new family museum with everything about nature.

Commissioned by Naturalis, Hypsos worked here on the exhibition “The Early Human”. In this exhibition, visitors are introduced to the history of their species, the human being. To make this complex story attractive and accessible to the target group of Naturalis, an icon has been chosen: Pithecanthropus, Homo erectus, the upright human. The remains of this early human being are top pieces in the development of our thinking about (our) evolution. They were found by the Dutchman Eugène Dubois and are part of the Naturalis collection.

The structure of the presentation follows the motto: Less is more. The room is impressive but simple in its design. First an AV presentation, then a treasure house with the more important fossils and finally a lifelike image of Homo Erectus, based on the fossils, made especially for Naturalis.

Brightening effects

The exhibition was designed by Onne Brouwer from Designwolf. He has devised a number of subtle but very illuminating effects for the exhibition that Hypsos has developed in close collaboration with Onne. These are a number of subtle effects that give the exhibition a special touch:

  1. The display case containing bone fragments and the human model. The femur and skull canopy are displayed in a black frame, which makes them seem to hang in the air. A mirror foil on the center wall of the showcase “projects” the image of the model over the bone fragments, which are suddenly visible at the place where they belong. You could speak of an analogous form of Augmented Reality.
  2. In the last area there is a lifelike primal woman whose bone fragments have been found. This reconstruction was made by the Dutch artists Adrie and Alfons Kennis. From the ground a number of floodlights are aimed at the rear wall, so that the visitors not only see the shadow of the primeval woman, but also their own. Now they are part of the story about human development.

Design by Onno Brouwer from Designwolf

  • Hypsos - design development

  • Hypsos - construction of the exhibition

  • Hypsos - installation on location

Other parties

  • Lighting design

  • Marianne Inkelaar - Objectmounting

  • Gebr. Kennis & Kennis - Wax statue

We would like to meet!

We would like to inform you more detailed about our cultural projects and of course we’re very curious where we can be of service to you. Therefore we would like to meet!

Call or send your email to or click on the button below.

Any questions? Feel free to ask!

Get in contact: