We provide a brief overview of the history of the journal Contributions to Zoology and analyse the papers published in the last 27 years by topic. Founded in 1848 as ‘Bijdragen tot de Dierkunde’, 160 years and 76 volumes later it is one of the oldest zoological journals that is still regularly printed. Over the last decades most papers dealt with invertebrates (60%), followed by vertebrates (23%), insects (10%) and non-taxonomic papers. Contributions to Zoology has seen a change from a largely alpha taxonomic journal to one that is truly general in scope. Systematic Biology and Comparative Morphology of both extant and extinct taxa nowadays make up about half of the papers published. Ethology as a research subject has been gradually phased out, and judged by the number of papers published, Conservation Biology has seen its coming of age of as a mainstream biological science. With contributors from 36 countries, of which 40% from outside Europe, Contributions to Zoology is a truly international journal, for research and researchers from various parts of the world.