National Museum of Natural History Luxembourg

Institution (Original name) 
Musée national d’histoire naturelle - 'natur musée'
MAIN ADDRESS
Street 
Rue Münster 25
Postal code 
2160
City 
Luxembourg-Grund
POSTAL ADDRESS
Country 
Luxembourg
Phone 

+352 462 233 400

Fax 
+352 462 240 309
TYPE OF INSTITUTION
Type of institution 
Museum
LEGAL STATUS
CETAF MEMBERSHIP
Member since 
21 October 2019
Category 
Full member
CETAF Official representative
Name, position, phone, e-mail, research field 

Alain Faber, +352 46 22 33 420, afaber@mnhn.lu, Director

Member of the Executive Committee? 
No
CETAF DEPUTY
Name, position, phone, e-mail, research field 

Alexander Weigand, +352 462 240-212, alexander.weigand@mnhn.lu, Zoology

Member of the Executive Committee? 
No
OTHER STAFF MEMBERS WITH CONNECTIONS TO CETAF
Name, position, phone, e-mail, research field + Working Group or Project involved in 

Paul Braun, +352 462 233 408, paul.braun@mnhn.lu, Digital Curation

Tania Walisch, +352 462 240 263, tania.walisch@mnhn.lu, Natural Heritage Information Facility

Director / legal representative of the institution (title, name, phone, e-mail, research field) 

Alain Faber, +352 46 22 33 420, afaber@mnhn.lu

PERSONNEL
Scientific staff 
Permanent (P)Non – Permanent (NP)
a) TOTAL scientific staff6
b) Scientific staff linked to Collections5
c) Post-docs / PhD students1
d) Others (Associates, etc.)8
TOTAL (a+b+c+d)191
Other staff (administration etc.) 
Permanent (P)Non – Permanent (NP)
e) Exhibitions 4
f) Collection Managers / technicians2
g) Others 62
TOTAL (e+f+g) 644
Total permanent staff 
82
Total non-permanent staff 
6
Grand total (permanent + non-permanent Staff) 
88
Male (%) 
52
Female (%) 
48
R&D facilities
How many laboratories are in use in your institution? 
3
List of laboratories 

Life Science Molecular Laboratory

Paleontology Laboratory

Mineralogy Laboratory

List of key tools (e.g. SEM, 3D, scanners/printers,...) 

Scanning Electron Microscope

Keyence Microscope

Sanger sequencer

droplet-digital PCR

Other scientific / R&D facilities 

Luxembourg Geo- and Biodiversity Datasystem

Seed Exchange Facility

Seismic Networks

Monitoring of volcanic activity

Exhibitions
Number of permanent exhibitions 
1
List of permanent exhibitions  
Name 
Natural History
Number of recent exhibitions 
4
Recent Temporary Exhibitions (< 2 years) 
Name 
Michael Benson’s Otherworlds
Name 
UNexpected Treasures
Name 
Alles fir d’Kaz
Name 
Nuit
Number of current exhibitions 
1
Current Temporary Exhibitions 
Name 
Geckeg Vullen
RESEARCH FIELDS
RESEARCH FIELD 
Research Field 
Life and Earth Sciences
Summary of your Research programme 

The scientific research center of the National Museum of Natural History of Luxembourg was created by the grand-ducal regulation of the 10th November 1982. Its aim is to carry out research concerning the natural heritage of Luxembourg and the wider region, and to contribute to its conservation.

Research activities are grouped into two departments: the Department of Life Sciences and Department of Earth Sciences. The research projects are conducted by permanent staff of the National Museum of Natural History, by the research associates of the Museum and by external scientists.

Research Field 
Zoology
Summary of your Research programme 

The three main objectives of the Zoology Research Department are

  • to document animal biodiversity in Luxembourg,
  • to archive it in systematic collections, and
  • to contribute to the conservation of species and populations.

In this context, atlas projects are designed to inventory the different animal taxa in Luxembourg and to describe their geographical distribution. Research projects are being carried out on the ecology of certain species in order to contribute to the development of effective, science-informed conservation measures. The aim of these different approaches is to better understand and preserve Luxembourg’s natural heritage. In addition to traditional methods, genetic methods are more widely used (DNA barcoding and metabarcoding, environmental DNA, landscape genomics).

Research Topics

  • Diversity and distribution of animal biodiversity (in Luxembourg, and the Greater Region)
  • Integrative taxonomy
  • Population and landscape genetics for the understanding of population connectivity
  • Ecology of invasive species and influences on the native fauna
  • Host-parasite interactions
  • Development and systematic (re-)organisation of the museum collection
  • “Science-informed” conservation biology
Research Field 
Botany
Summary of your Research programme 

The botany department manages the herbarium and its cataloged specimens. The aim is to enrich the collections by collecting new specimens, cataloging the old and integrating new herbariums, obtained by legacies, donations or purchases. This includes the organization and the management of international loans and the organization and control of scientific research on plants and especially those of the luxembourg flora to come to a list of endangered plants, the famous “Red List” . This lists of references are important to any serious cataloging work. The research areas are the classification, structure, needs of the plants.

The Living plant collections’ projects are focused on the native rare and threatened shrubs. This includes gathering of up to date data on the repartition of native rare and endangered shrubs, analyzing the composition and evolution of the populations and studying their genetic diversity. The general aim is to gather valid information on the conservation status of these species in order to contribute to the protection of natural biodiversity in our countryside.

Research Topics

  • Ecology and genetic diversity of native shrubs
  • Conservation biology of native shrubs
Research Field 
Ecology
Summary of your Research programme 

The Department of Ecology focuses its scientific research activities on biological invasions and the assessment of risks posed by invasive alien species (neobiota), on mosquitoes of Luxembourg (Diptera, Culicidae), on the synthesis of knowledge on Luxembourg’s vegetation, and on the climate of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, within the framework of co-operation with national and foreign institutions and through scientific publications and contributions to the Museum’s databases on Luxembourg’s natural heritage.

Research Field 
Population Biology and Evolution
Summary of your Research programme 

At the Population biology research group we are interested in the lower levels of biological diversity ie those of populations and their genetic variability. Within a given landscape, species exist as local populations. A population is a group of individuals of a certain species that are in contact with each other and that interbreed. The lowest level of biodiversity is the genetic variability within populations and individuals. This variability is the basis for the evolution of new species and allows individuals to adapt to changes in environmental conditions. We hope with our research to get a better understanding of the interactions between individuals, populations and species of plants and animals. As ultimate goal, we would like to understand how much variation and interactions between organisms are mere coincidence or the result of evolutionary processes underlying them.

We use a multidisciplinary approach to study the biology and population genetics of populations and their interactions. Our model systems are experimental and natural populations of plant species and plant-animal interactions.

Research Topics

  • Population biology: ecology and genetics of small populations
  • Microevolution: local adaptation
  • Conservation biology of endangered species
  • Phylogeography and phylogenetics of plant species
  • Plant-animal interactions
Research Field 
Geology and Mineralogy
Summary of your Research programme 

The research group of the geology / mineralogy department base his research projects on the study of our national patrimony; with taking an interest in the regional datas or by studying our collections. Detailed study of the old mines from Luxembourg, collect of news mineralogical data on the field, or study of specimens conserved in our collections are different ways to establish new research themes.

A systematic and scientific approach, and a partnership with other geological and mineralogical laboratories, permit us to realize studies as complete as possible on our patrimony. A team of dynamic research associates, and some conscientiousness PhD students, play a dynamic role in these studies.

Research Topics

  • Mineralogy of Luxembourg: Inventory of the minerals species and their localities
  • Study of polymetal deposits from Luxembourg
  • The Rocks of Luxembourg: Creation of a lithotheca and microscopic analysis of the facies
  • Sedimentological and sequential analyses of the Quartzite of Berlé and Jurassic formations (Luxembourg)
  • Mineralogy and petrography of pegmatites (Brazil, Congo, …)
  • Rare minerals and New Species …
Research Field 
Geo- and Astrophysics
Summary of your Research programme 

The research activities of the department of geo/astrophysics are currently focused on geophysics. Thus, a centre of excellence in satellite aperture radar interferometry (InSAR) has been developed since 2005. This technique allows, under certain conditions, the measurement of sub-centimetre ground-deformations. Our combined expertise in the study of crustal deformation by in-situ methods and satellite monitoring, involves us in various international projects of research, evaluation of natural hazards and development assistance. In addition, we work closely with the European Centre for Geodynamics and Seismology (ECGS).

 

Research Topics

  • Geodynamics:
    • studies of natural and anthropogenic ground- deformation and movements in Luxembourg (surveillance of buildings and structures, landslides, collapse of mine …)
    • volcanic risk assessment and impact on health in the Goma region (North Kivu, DR Congo)
    • study and satellite monitoring of 4 active volcanic areas in Africa (Cape Verde, Cameroon, Tanzania, DR Congo)

 

  • Seismology (in collaboration with ECGS):
    • Registration of local seismicity (small magnitude) and seismic risk assessment in Luxembourg
    • Analysis of permanent background noise in Luxembourg
    • Recording of distant earthquakes
    • Study of the composition of the lithosphere beneath Luxembourg
Research Field 
Paleontology
Summary of your Research programme 

The paleontological lab is in duty of the fossil collection, which origin goes back to the natural history cabinet opened in 1854 by the Society of sciences. The management and the conservation of the existing material completed by new acquisitions permanently upgrade the collection in order to promote paleontological research and to guaranty the quality of the present and future exhibitions.

The study of fossils and fossil sites together with research projects in regional and general paleontology contribute to a better knowledge of our geological underground and former life in our region. Scientific results and their implication for earth sciences are continuously presented to the public by temporary and permanent exhibitions, publications, colloquiums and conferences.

Together with our scientific collaborators, the paleontological lab tries to fulfil all for inquiries from public, private offices and administrations concerning our domains of competence. We sustain local museums with paleontological or geological content and we encourage conservation of sites with a particular interest for earth sciences. In deed our collection gains in value by simultaneous conservation of geological sites allowing to localise specimens in their natural context.

Research subjects

  • Lower Devonian of the Eislek and Eifel
  • Evolution of fossil vertebrates
  • Jurassic Cephalopods from Paris Basin
  • Liasic Gastropods
  • Geological sites
  • Biostratigraphy
Scientific publications
Number of peer-reviewed publications per year 
65
Other publications 

Ferrantia series

Ferrantia is a series of monographic works (ISSN 1682-5519) dealing with life and earth sciences, preferably related in some way or other to the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. It publishes original results of botanical, zoological, geological, paleontological, mineralogical, geophysical and astrophysical research and related fields.

EARTH SCIENCES (Geology, Mineralogy, Palaeontology,…) 
TypologyPrimary typesIndividual specimens/objects% registered objects% recorded objects in DB
1.1Paleontology854000075
1.2Mineralogy3100040
1.3
1.4
...
LIFE SCIENCES (Zoology, Biology, Botany, Mycology,…) 
Estimated numbers of objects/specimens in the collection of the National Museum of Natural History Luxembourg and its database
TypologyPrimary typesIndividual specimens/objects% registered specimens % recorded specimens in DB
2.1Zoology30000005
2.2Botany10000060
2.3Mycology10000400040
...
Total specimens (all collections) 
3,181,000
Outstanding collection features 

The natural history museum of Luxembourg curates scientific collections in both the life and earth sciences. It preserves a number of historically valuable specimens as well as holo- and paratypes. Approximately three quarters of the objects originate from Lorraine, Luxembourg, Rhineland-Palatinate, the Saarland and Wallonia. The Museum’s collection is therefore one of the most important natural history collection in the Greater Region (Lorraine-FR, Saarland-DE, Rheinland-Pfalz-DE and Wallonie-BE). The Luxembourg natural history museum holds one of the most important collections in the Greater region on a radius of about 150 km around Luxembourg. Some of the oldest specimens in the Museum’s natural history collections date back to the beginning of the 19th century and are therefore of great historical value. For example, an exsiccata collection of François Auguste Tinant (1803-1853), established to illustrate the flora of Luxembourg, has been conserved in its original form.

The herbarium consists of approximately 100.000 specimens, about half of which are digitized. It holds the collection of ascomycetes and basidiomycetes with some 350 types of fungal species described by Feltgen in his ‘Vorstudien zu einer Pilz-Flora des Grossherzogthums Luxemburg’ (1899-1905). The major part of the herbarium of Hugo Ilse with several thousand specimens from Thuringia is also hosted in Luxembourg. The Herbarium of J. Mangen collected in the 1980’s from Mt. Trikora in New Guinea, Indonesia counts over 1100 specimens.

The MnhnL curates the important historical fossil collection of Edmond Pellat (1832-1907), mostly Jurassic invertebrates from France, as a permanent loan. The Pellat collection comprises currently 12.000 registered fossils, an estimated 3.000-4.000 fossils awaiting their registration.

Does your institution have an Index Seminum? 
Size and importance of living collections 
Genetic Repositories
Does your institution have a DNA bank? 
No
Does your institution have a seed bank? 
Yes
Number of seed samples 
1 845
Number of organisms / species 
500
COLLECTION’S RELATED INFORMATION
Number of outgoing loans (parcels / specimens) per year 
100
Number of accessions (specimens) per year 
20
Number of scientific visitors per year 
50
MAIN AREAS OF TAXONOMIC EXPERTISE 
Fauna and Flora of Luxembourg
Cerambycidae
Rubus
Trifolium
Ophiuroidea
European cave animals
Fauna of the Toarcian (Jurassic)
Molecular taxonomy and systematics of diverse groups
Contact person at your institution for communications / press / external relations (name, position, phone, e-mail) 

Patrick Michaely, +352 462 233-433, Patrick.Michaely@mnhn.lu

Visitors
Last year:  
54 000
Institution news
Research updates
Workshops / Events
Online media galleries
If your institution is involved with non-university-based teaching or education programmes, please describe them & the partners 

Since 2002 the Science Mobil of the “natur musée” is riding through Luxembourg. It stops on primary schools, secondary schools and public places, is opened and ready for use. Actual scientific subjects are explained with experiments and in an easy, for everyone understandable way, to the pupils and the “grand public”. Furthermore, our second mobile lab, the Natur Mobil, is frequently used by primary classes.

For information on other educational services please visit here.

THREE MAIN TOPICS OF CURRENT INTEREST FOR YOUR INSTITUTION 

Documenting, understanding, illustrating and preserving the geo-and biodiversity heritage of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg and of the Greater Region.

Last update 
01.12.20