Between 2000 and 2004, the Fauna Europaea project (EVR1-1999-20001) has been funded by the European Commission for a period of four years within the Fifth Framework Programme (5FP). The project was coordinated by the University of Amsterdam, assisted by the University of Copenhagen and the National Museum of Natural History in Paris.

Fauna Europaea contributes to the European Community Biodiversity Strategy by supporting one of the main themes of the Strategy: to identify and catalogue the components of European biodiversity into a database to serve as a basic tool for science and conservation policies. In Europe, such a taxonomic index did not exist as yet. Partial overviews were scattered around Europe in different scientific institutes, while only some countries are working on national information systems. In regard to biodiversity in Europe, science and policies depend on knowledge of its components. The assessment of biodiversity, monitoring changes, sustainable exploitation of biodiversity, and much legislative work depends upon a validated overview of taxonomic biodiversity, in which Fauna Europaea plays a major role.

During the initial four years, the Fauna Europaea project successfully accomplished an extensive and innovative work-plan, delivering the projected knowledge networks, information infrastructures, and dissemination services. Fauna Europaea was actively involved in a wide range of associated initiatives in biodiversity informatics and has strong institutional outreach, contributing to a range of networking activities in biodiversity science, as a knowledge hub on high-level taxonomic expertise. After fifteen years of steady operation, the hosting of Fauna Europaea was migrated to the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin who play a key-role in on-going biodiversity networking programs. This includes the development of a new generation of virtual tools and workbenches and supporting data interoperability and biodiversity science as a community effort.