Nanoporous membranes with superior separation performance have become more crucial with increasing concerns in functional nanomaterials. Here novel ultrahigh permeable nanoporous membranes have been fabricated on macroporous supports by self-assembly of anionic polymer on copper hydroxide nanostrand templates in organic solution. This facile approach has a great potential for the fabrication of ultrathin anionic polymer membranes as a general method. The as-fabricated self-assembled membranes have a mean pore size of 5-12 nm and an adjustable thickness as low as 85 nm. They allow superfast permeation of water, and exhibit excellent size-selective separation properties and good fouling resistance for negatively-charged solutes during filtration. The 85 nm thick membrane has an ultrahigh water flux (3306 l m(-2) h(-1) bar(-1)) that is an order of magnitude larger than commercial membranes, and can highly efficiently separate 5 and 15 nm gold nanoparticles from their mixtures. The newly developed nanoporous membranes have a wide application in separation and purification of biomacromolecules and nanoparticles.