Artis, short for Natura Artis Magistra (Latin for "Nature is the teacher of art"), is a zoo in the centre of Amsterdam. It is the oldest zoo in the Netherlands. In addition to the zoo, Artis has an aquarium, a planetarium, a geological museum, and a zoological museum.
The zoo was founded in 1838 by Gerard Westerman, J.W.H. Werlemann and J.J. Wijsmuller (also known as the three Ws). 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.
The core of the current zoo property, then the "Middenhof" estate, was purchased by the board of the Zoological Society "Natura Artis Magistra" late in 1938 in the Plantage, which was then a rural area on the outskirts of Amsterdam. From the start it exhibited both live and mounted specimens.