The MISSION of BIOTOPIA is to explore, question and reshape the relationship between humans and other living beings.

The VISION of BIOTOPIA is a more understanding, balanced and sustainable relationship between humans and other living beings.

BIOTOPIA will take a unique approach focusing on behaviours, activities and processes, featuring topics like "Eat", "Sleep" and "Reproduce"; themes that connect humans with other species.

BIOTOPIA - For the future of our planet

Bavaria becomes pioneer with innovative museum concept

Our planet is seriously ill: climate crisis, pandemics, species extinction, and natural disasters present us with enormous challenges, choices, and constraints on action. We perceive this and react to it very differently, yet the situation is becoming more and more serious.

This is where BIOTOPIA comes in, providing a communicative interface for worldwide research and efforts with the goal of restoring balance to our planet. Together with scientists, educational and research institutions, we search internationally for solutions to preserve our world for future generations. The goal is to learn from nature and find interdisciplinary approaches to saving our planet. Because only a joint effort is the basis for success. BIOTOPA is a pulse generator for a future worth living.

Continue reading

BIOTOPIA pursues a unique concept worldwide: It is a museum and a future forum at the same time. In other words, BIOTOPIA networks the physical place of experience with external partners from the field of biological and environmental sciences. These include renowned research institutions, museums, schools, universities. But also institutions from other sciences, art, culture and politics as well as of course the public are involved. The groundbreaking idea is that everyone enters into a dialogue with each other. Research finds surprising solutions for the future in exchange with other disciplines - this inspires joint action.

The exhibition concept in München-Nymphenburg itself is also innovative. Anyone entering the museum becomes a researcher in laboratories and observatories and discovers countless similarities with other living creatures on an interactive journey. Thus, the realization that everything is connected to everything else brings people to the most pressing questions of our time in a completely new way.

BIOTOPIA encourages each individual to make a difference. BIOTOPIA shows attitude, takes a stand and inspires people to be curious about life. Questioning, debating and thinking creatively are explicitly desired, for example at events, excursions, conferences, festivals and in communities.

This concept, unique in the world, makes Bavaria an international pioneer in science communication. In the age of biology, Bavaria radiates out into the world as a pioneer.

BIOTOPIA - The heart of the future beats here.

Igniting curiosity for nature and science.






BIOTOPIA is a museum for everybody: A platform for discussion and communication about the latest research, an interactive learning venue with public labs and varied programmes, an interdisciplinary space that bridges nature, culture, art and design. In doing so, the future museum can draw on the excellent resources of the Bavarian Natural History Collections – it contains, for example, the world’s largest butterfly collection, with 25 million inventory units.

  • Prof. Dr. Michael John Gorman
    BIOTOPIA Founding Director
  • Prof. Dr. Benedikt Grothe
    Chairman of the BIOTOPIA Advisory Board
    Chair of Neurobiology, LMU Munich
  • Prof. Dr. Gerhard Haszprunar
    Member of the BIOTOPIA Advisory Board
    Member of the BIOTOPIA Advisory Board ret.
  • Ranga Yogeshwar
    Science Journalist and TV-Host
  • PD Dr. Bettina Bölter
    Research Fellow and Research Group Leader, LMU Munich


      The current Museum Man and Nature opens. It is a makeshift solution: From the start, the museum struggles with significant challenges as many necessary infrastructural requirements do not exist. There is neither room for important touring exhibitions nor to explore vital questions regarding the future and our environment in the permanent exhibition.

      Nevertheless, the museum enjoys great popularity. With almost 200,000 visitors annually, it is one of Germany's most visited natural history museums.


      The area that previously belonged to Munich's Ludwig-Maximilians-University and is situated in the northern wing of Nymphenburg Palace becomes available. Dating back to the 60s, it is not protected as a historic monument and lies right next to the existing Museum Man and Nature. By expanding and reconfiguring the current space, it is hence available for creating a new museum for the life sciences with international relevance.


      On the initiative of S.K.H. Franz Herzog von Bayern and at the suggestions of the Bavarian State Ministry for Science and Art, an organisation comes into being that supports the realisation of the entreprise: Förderkreis BIOTOPIA - Naturkundemuseum Bayern e.V. It is officially founded on January 26th, 2012 during a launching ceremony. Ornithologist Dr. Auguste von Bayern becomes its chairwoman.

      In the same year, the Förderkreis manages to collect the seed capital of 1 million euros thanks to the active support of the Bavarian population. Consequently, the Bavarian Parliament approves planning costs in the amount of 2.6 million euros.


      The Bavarian government invites tenders for an international architectural competition. The process is conducted in close collaboration with Bavaria's capital Munich and the responsible district committee. The Bavarian State Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments and the Bavarian Palace Department closely monitor requirements regarding monument protection.

      The new building replaces the former LMU-institute, which is not suited to host a museum. The section of the palace which accommodates the current Museum Man and Nature will be renovated according to monument protection regulations.


      The award winner of the architectural competition is the prestigious Berlin-based agency Staab Architekten whose design complies best with the regulations of monument protection and the local architectural situation.

      From there, the competition design is further developed to meet the requirements of the future museum as well as the historic area in the best possible way.


      With Prof. Dr. Michael John Gorman, a prestigious and visionary founding director joins the project.

      Prior to his position in Munich, Prof. Gorman founded Science Gallery Dublin and Science Gallery International. Their goal is to ignite creativity and discovery where science and art collide and to create a global university-linked network dedicated to public engagement with science and art. Prior to founding Science Gallery, Prof. Gorman was a lecturer in Science, Technology and Society at Stanford University and has held postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard University, Stanford University and MIT.


      Together with the international agencies Lord Culture and Ralph Applebaum Associates and supported by local and international experts, Prof. Gorman develops a groundbreaking Masterplan, which defines the vision, mission and framework for the future museum.

      Furthermore, the founding director sets up the project delivery team, the core office for planning the future museum.


      In the presence of more than 400 guests the founding director introduces the new concept to the public.

      Shortly after, the development of the exhibition designs begins and the architectural plans reach a new development state. During the ongoing development Staab Architekten have, among other things, worked on the segmentation and rhythm as well as the materiality and colours of the facade in close consultation with the Bavarian State Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments.

      During an information event in September 2017 the new plans are presented to the public. More information events will take place further along in the planning process.


      HAUTNAH started off a series of annual festivals which will explore the central themes of the future museum.

      Which fabric is our future made of? The first BIOTOPIA Fest "HAUTNAH" (Skin Close) is dedicated to biosciences and material sciences in the context of fashion and design: From participative labs and workshops, to a children's programmes and exhibitions, panels and a fashion show.


      During the development and construction phase, the BIOTOPIA LAB offers a first look into the future museum. Beyond that, BIOTOPIA will organise activities, events and an annual festival to stay in touch with its audience - and bring the BIOTOPIA vision to life long before its opening. Working with network partners BIOTOPIA will also launch mobile programmes throughout Bavaria.


      Even prior to its opening, BIOTOPIA seeks to inspire curiosity for biology, environment and food. As an interim platform, the BIOTOPIA Lab offers a taste of BIOTOPIA, its vision and values. It is a dynamic exhibition space, an event platform and an experimental workshop all at the interface of science, art, design and culture. At the same time, the BIOTOPIA Lab offers an insight into the development process of the new museum.

    • Prof. Dr. Johannes Vogel, Director of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, Leibniz-Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity

      "In summary, I can only confirm that the vision for the BIOTOPIA Natural History Museum of Bavaria is truly exciting and groundbreaking in our field. Under the direction of Professor Gorman, this museum has the opportunity to play a pioneering role in the public debate on the life sciences and biodiversity.
      The interdisciplinary approach, which makes it internationally relevant, comes at a time when many natural history museums are trying to redefine themselves in order to face the most important planetary challenges. We look forward to working closely with BIOTOPIA in implementing our own ambitious plans to expand and develop the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin.
      There is a lot of common ground regarding our common goal to redefine the Museum of Natural History for the biological 21st century and to create a public platform where politics, science, culture and society can come together to face our ecological challenges and to inspire society and young scientists.”
    • Alexandre Fernandes, Co-founding Director at Museum of Tomorrow, Rio de Janeiro, Founding Director at MOTI, Amsterdam

      “In times of great ecological breakdowns, BIOTOPIA has the potential to become a global leading voice that will inspire whole generations to forge a more balanced relationship and tuning in with our living planet. Its vision is the most beautiful vision of any museum that I have ever seen.”
    • Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Volker Mosbrugger, Director Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung

      “I am really impressed by the vision of the BIOTOPIA Natural History Museum Bavaria under the direction of Prof. Michael John Gorman. This vision proposes a new approach for the development of a museum for life sciences and environment, which has the potential to become a beacon in the German landscape as well as internationally. At a time of increasing public concern about the collapse of biodiversity and revolutionary developments in the life sciences, BIOTOPIA is proactively and demand-driven focusing on understanding the relationship between humans and other species in terms of behaviors, activities and processes that connect us. Particularly innovative is the interdisciplinary approach of combining life sciences with art and design. This offers the opportunity to reach a new audience and connect them emotionally with science. As we continue to develop and expand the public offering of Senckenberg, as Germany's leading research institute for biodiversity and earth system research, I am convinced that we will have ample opportunity to work with BIOTOPIA - Natural History Museum of Bavaria to provide a public platform for natural and life science research."
    • Tom Rockwell, Creative Director Exploratorium, San Francisco

      “BIOTOPIA is one of the most watched experiments in the field right now, but calling it an experiment implies that there is more risk than I think is really there. This is the way of the future and I only hope it won't take the rest of us too long to catch up. “
    • Michael J. Novacek, PhD Curator and Provost of Science, American Museum of Natural History New York, USA

      "BIOTOPIA is an expansive new vision aimed at attracting the kind of engagement from visitors and constituents of all ages and background that is critically needed if we are to understand our natural world better and provide the stewardship needed for our current and future generations.
      The ideas that embrace synthetic exhibition and programmatic themes and the melding of art and science are fresh, bold and beautiful! BIOTOPIA promises to be a new, powerful, and internationally acclaimed center for nature, science, and art.”
    • Clare Matterson, CBE Executive Director, Engagement Natural History Museum London

      “Biotopia’s bold new approach to connecting people with the natural world is more important than ever. We are using the planet’s natural resources at unsustainable rates, polluting our natural environment, driving species to extinction and changing our climate and weather systems – and now is the moment when bold approaches are needed.
      This is the direction that we are also taking at Natural History Museum, London and we look forward to working with Biotopia and other major natural history institutions to make a difference for people and planet.”
    • Dr. Eric Dorfman Daniel G. and Carole L. Kamin, Director Carnegie Museum of Natural History Pittsburgh, USA

      "As the planet as a whole continues to lose ground in critical areas such as climate change and pollution, the bold new vision for Biotopia is at the forefront of connecting the roles of “effect” (arcane knowledge) with “affect” (emotions) in a way seldom seen in natural history museums, but vitally needed. This vision is truly forward- facing and will ensure the relevance of Biotopia for decades to come. I commend Dr. Gorman and his colleagues for a brave perspective that will go even further in putting Bavaria on the world stage for these important issues."

      Naturkundemuseum Bayern
      Botanisches Institut
      Menzinger Str. 67
      80638 München, Germany

      BIOTOPIA Lab:

      Phone: +49 (0)89 178 61-411
      Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


      Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

      Sonstige Anfragen:

      Phone: +49 (0)89 178 61-422
      Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

      © Naturkundemuseum Bayern