The Society

Learn more about the beginnings of the Linnean Society

The Linnean Society of London is the world’s oldest active biological society. Founded in 1788, the Society takes its name from the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778) whose botanical, zoological and library collections have been in its keeping since 1829. As it moves into its third century the Society continues to play a central role in the documentation of the world’s flora and fauna – as Linnaeus himself did – recognising the continuing importance of such work to biodiversity conservation.

Members are drawn from all walks of life, and represent the full range of professional scientists and amateurs alike with an interest in natural history. The Fellowship is international and includes world leaders in each branch of biology who use the Society's premises and publications to communicate new advances in their fields

A forum for Natural History

The Society uniquely embraces the entire sweep of natural history. It promotes the study of all aspects of the biological sciences, with particular emphasis on evolution, taxonomy, biodiversity and sustainability. It encourages and communicates scientific advances in these and associated fields through its three world-class journals, special publications, meetings and website. At the same time, the Society reaches out to future biologists through schools and educational programmes. 

The Society is located at Burlington House, Piccadilly, which was developed by the Government in the nineteenth century as a meeting place for the arts and sciences. It shares a courtyard with the Royal Academy of Arts, the Society of Antiquaries of London, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Geological Society of London, and the Royal Astronomical Society.

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