‘Sapiens' open in 2021: working together for a better living environment for people and nature

Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
21-JUL-2020 - In 2021, the Amsterdam Zuidas will host 'Sapiens', a unique place where young people and scientists can work together on projects that improve our planet. The initiative will be launched by Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, architecture firm MVRDV, and real estate developer EDGE.

The creative centre will be used as a museum, workshop, and debate centre. The founding partners are looking for partners to join forces to work with ambition and guts in this inspiring environment, creating a better living environment for people and nature – learning together, doing business, innovating, acting, and thinking of life on earth – with the new generation of young talents taking the lead. Benji Kusters, Rijkstrainee: "We must dare to implement this concept. Now is the time." Watch the film about the Sapiens initiative.

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Sapiens Amsterdam (Source: Naturalis Biodiversity Center)

Accelerating solutions for social themes

In addition to young professionals and academics working on projects in a pressure cooker on a daily basis, Sapiens will host lectures, debates, and exhibitions that stimulate solutions. Mirjam van Praag, president of the Executive Board of VU Amsterdam: "Humankind is ingenious. With the willpower of young people and the experience of the current generation we can go far.” Sapiens aims to accelerate solutions for issues that currently require societal attention, such as climate, biodiversity, poverty reduction, mobility, urban environment, governance, financing new cities, other buildings, transport, food, clean drinking water, clean oceans and financing instruments. It is a place for, with and by young people, young professionals who want to work together on projects that contribute to a better living environment. In Sapiens they will work on ideas and innovations. The results are then further elaborated in large and small organisations and brought to society, offering small tips, advice, and suggestions, but also improvements on a large scale. "In Sapiens we can work together on solutions. With science we can get far, but we need practice to make things happen", says Edwin van Huis, general director of Naturalis Biodiversity Center.

No time to waste

Sapiens is the first such initiative in the world to link the urgency of a derailing Anthropocene, the current era in which the climate and atmosphere are affected by human activity, to the ingenuity of mankind. This is more important now than ever. 

Sapiens: Lab, museum, think tank, platform, workplace

Sapiens is a unique concept that brings together elements of a museum, a laboratory, a workshop, and a think tank to address the enormous questions that the climate and biodiversity crises pose. 

Naturalis Biodiversity Center is the national research institute in the field of biodiversity and provides historical and current knowledge about the state of biodiversity, as well as expertise on specific species and ecosystems and state-of-the-art research techniques. VU Amsterdam’s Sustainability Institute has the role of providing research, cohesion and students working on projects with a broad social perspective.

In Sapiens, people work together on different subjects

In the sustainable, green building of the future

Sapiens is part of the building Valley at the Zuidas in Amsterdam. Valley was designed by Winy Maas, a founding partner of the renowned architecture firm MVRDV, and is being developed by EDGE. Sapiens is accessible to everyone who wants to cooperate, wants to be inspired or is curious about the role of man on earth and the contribution we can make together to leave our planet better than we seem to be doing now. Precisely in this corporate and densely built environment, where the influence of mankind is so visible, we want to continue working towards a sustainable future. As a particularly sustainable, green building, Valley is the best conceivable location for this. Science, charities, entrepreneurs, governments, media, the catering industry, and culture come together in this high-profile building, creating the right energy for new developments.

Lisette Mekkes, PhD researcher at Naturalis and one of the talents in the movie

Call: help build this unique concept

Let's start the new era together: the era where man and his environment stand side by side.

It takes guts. And cooperation. With a large, diverse group of people. This is a call. Do you dare to be a part of this national platform, this think tank? Will you be one of the first in the world to join this initiative? The goal is to launch Sapiens in the fall of 2021 at the opening of Valley. 

Join us and join Sapiens. Help build the world's first think tank that focuses on people and the environment. Go to sapiensamsterdam.com

Tekst, foto's en film: Naturalis Biodiversity Center