Whale & Fish Gentle giants of the ocean

The permanent Whale & Fish exhibition offers a magical view not only over the rooftops of Basel, but also most importantly of the wonderfully presented skeleton of a minke whale. It lay for forty years in the collection room before finding its way into the exhibition. Another highlight is the life-sized model of a 6.8-metre-long python, complete with its original skeleton.

Whales need space, even if they are 'only' nine-metre-long minke whales. Our room featuring the minke whale allows you to experience the dimensions of the largest mammals on our planet up close.

The skeleton comes from a northern minke whale and was acquired in 1873 by the Natural History Museum Basel. Thanks to support from the Friends of the Natural History Museum Association, it has been showcased in a new and spectacular way.

Northern minke whales live in all of the oceans of the northern hemisphere. Heavy hunting, however, means that this gentle animal is under severe threat. Although minke whales have been protected since 1986 by an international agreement, they continue to be hunted. Since the agreement came into force, around 20,000 of these beautiful ocean giants have been killed.

The rear part of the exhibition provides an overview of Switzerland's native fish, frogs and reptiles. Their lifestyles are also discussed, as is the influence of mankind. The original-sized models are especially worth a look. As a central object, in the middle of the room are the cast and skeleton of a large reticulated python.

The fish models are on loan from the Museum.BL.