Part of the scientific collection of tropical woods and plants, the wood specimens were available to researchers and enterprises. They offered information about the various wood specimens’ properties, origins and possible applications.
The Houtkabinet illustrates how intertwined science and trade were in the colonial period, and is a tangible expression of the exploitation of natural wealth overseas. Although deforestation and extraction may have been considered to be signs of development and improvement at the time, it could be argued that these systems contributed to the contemporary planetary problems. For many years now, the collection of natural artefacts has been housed at Naturalis in Leiden. The only wood specimens here now are duplicates.