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De Grachtwacht has a unique collection of Anthropocene objects; finds from the age of man. We preserve exciting finds that we find on, in and around the canal. Each of the objects tells a story.

We are building a scientific collection of litter and preserving the most extraordinary finds from clean-ups. We also manage a growing collection of urban nature. Preserving fish in formalin such as drowned hedgehogs, birds and rabbits from the canal. Many animals included in the collection found its death by being entangled in plastic. These are local examples of the effect of plastic on nature. The impact of mankind can be seen in each collected object. Discover it below and in our exhibitions!

Many animals get caught in the plastic in the canal, like this perch in an orange net.
Many animals end up in the canal; not all of them can get out again.
A young swan, one of the waterfowl species of Leiden.
A clean-up through the canals of Leiden sometimes results in 133 face masks!
In Leiden we have 23 species of fish in the canal, including the pike.
A fish suffocated in another fish; its prey was just too big!
Terrace waste was collected specifically for our report 'Plastic-free Terraces'.
Specific items, such as menus, are collected for scientific research.


From different corners of the world we collect objects, thanks to collaborations with different people and organisations. For example, we work with city ecologists, animal ambulances, bird shelters, litter pickers and other heroes. We are very grateful to all collectors for their donations. Thanks to their efforts and finds we can make people aware of all the beautiful and less beautiful things that happen in and around the canal.

Would you like to donate an exceptional find?

The collection forms the basis for the research we do. This is reflected in our scientific publications and shown in our exhibitions.

Have you found a dead animal yourself, or would you like to add something to the collection? You can! Let us know via info@degrachtwacht.nl.