MVRDV - 'Sapiens' to open at Valley in 2021

'Sapiens' to open at Valley in 2021

From 2021, MVRDV’s project Valley in Amsterdam will host 'Sapiens', a unique place where young people and scientists can work together on projects that improve our planet. The creative centre will be used as a museum, workshop, and debate centre. The initiative will be launched by Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and real estate developer EDGE alongside MVRDV. 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. Watch the film about the Sapiens initiative below.

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.

Sapiens is part of the building Valley at the Zuidas in Amsterdam. Valley was designed by MVRDV, with founding partner Winy Maas as the principal-in-charge, and is being developed by EDGE. 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.

"We must dare to implement this concept,” says Benji Kusters, Rijkstrainee. “Now is the time." 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. "Humankind is ingenious. With the willpower of young people and the experience of the current generation we can go far”, adds Mirjam van Praag, president of the Executive Board of VU Amsterdam.

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 the corporate and densely built environment of Amsterdam Zuidas, 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.

Read more about Sapiens, including how you can be part of the world's first think tank that focuses on people and the environment, at

Main image © Ossip van Duivenbode