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Start of Sapiens: workshop, museum and debate centre in the Zuidas for and by young people

In Valley, Inholland University of Applied Sciences, Naturalis Biodiversity Center and the VU University of Amsterdam are working together towards a sustainable future

The striking 'Valley' residential and office tower in Amsterdam's Zuidas business district has been completed. This makes the arrival of Sapiens - workshop of the Anthropocene, museum and debate centre - a fact. Sapiens is expected to open its doors in the spring of 2023.

Valley was recently handed over by project developer EDGE to RJB Group of Companies. On 14 February, these two parties, together with the substantive partners of Sapiens, Inholland University, Naturalis Biodiversity Center and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) signed the lease. Sapiens can start!

Urgency to save the earth

The need for a place like Sapiens is clear. It is time for a thorough revision of the Anthropocene; for structural action on climate, biodiversity and sustainability. At Sapiens, young people in particular will work on concrete projects and initiatives to tackle the enormous questions raised by the climate and biodiversity crisis.

Working on system change

The disturbed balance between humans and nature has to improve if we want to have a future as humans. That is why in Sapiens we are working on a system change for society; a transformation of sectors and new methods of cooperation. Philipp Pattberg, director of the Amsterdam Sustainability Institute at the VU University Amsterdam, says: "What is at stake is nothing less than the survival of the human species. What we must do to avert this catastrophe is also clear. In the words of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres: 'Making peace with nature is the defining task of the 21st century. It must be the highest, highest priority for all.'"

Young people in the lead

"We want to help everyone, and especially young people who are concerned about the livability on our planet for future generations, by making their concerns visible, sharing knowledge, and thinking along what solutions we can find together for a sustainable future," said Naturalis Biodiversity Center general director Edwin van Huis. Young people will lead Sapiens, supported by advice from seasoned experts. This applies to the substantive projects, but also to the organisation itself, which will be given shape in the coming period.

Integrating sustainability in education and research

Students from VU University Amsterdam and Inholland University of Applied Sciences, as well as young researchers from all three organisations, play an important role in this initiative. "This is an opportunity for our students and colleagues to contribute to the development of a new, truly sustainable way of life together with inspiring academic and professional partners. Moreover, with their acquired knowledge and experience, they can contribute to the further integration of sustainability into our education and research. This way, the knife cuts both ways," says Mieke van den Berg, member of the Board of Governors of Inholland University of Applied Sciences.

Photocredit: Marcel Steinbach

More information

Visit for more information about the building.

Sapiens is an initiative of Naturalis Biodiversity Center, VU University Amsterdam and Inholland University of Applied Sciences, and is made possible with the support of project developer EDGE and building owner RJB Group of Companies.

Want to know more? Please contact Amy van Nobelen at

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