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Het concept

Creating a better living environment 

for people and nature

Sapiens was initiated by Naturalis Biodiversity Center, university VU Amsterdam, architecture firm MVRDV, and real estate developer EDGE. University of applied sciences Inholland joined early 2022.  They 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.

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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 we can work together on solutions. With science we can get far, but we need practice to make things happen"

Edwin van Huis, general director of
Naturalis Biodiversity Center.

Maatschappelijke thema's

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.

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"Sapiens fits perfectly with the municipal ambition of the transition to a sustainable, circular metropolis"

– Femke Halsema, mayor of Amsterdam

The municipality of Amsterdam supports the realization of Sapiens

Read the whole statement of support (in Dutch)

"Humankind is ingenious.
With the willpower of young people and the experience of the current generation we can go far.”

Mirjam van Praag, president of
the Executive Board of VU Amsterdam

Unique concept

for and by young people

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 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.


build today



ready to go to work

Sapiens comes at the right time. We, Homo Sapiens, are inventive. But we have also changed our own living environment in such a way that we will no longer be able to live there ourselves in the future. With our current way of life we are heading for our own extinction and many other species with us in this era, also called the Anthropocene. At Sapiens we immediately get to work with each other and provide solutions in a positive and realistic way. With small tips, advice and suggestions, but also improvements on a large scale.

Sapiens is the first institute that totally dedicates itself to the problem and links in a unique way 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.

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"As an international hub and with a wide range of knowledge institutions and (international) companies, the Zuidas is an ideal place to establish connections that involve the region, the nation and other countries intensively in the creation of a sustainable society.”

– Femke Halsema, mayor of Amsterdam.

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