Analysing the ground

In 2017, a geothermal heat pump was installed at the university, which required deep drilling at the VU Campus – as far down as 162 metres. Simon Troelstra, senior lecturer emeritus in the Earth Sciences, ensured that the drilling firm collected sediment samples at one-metre-intervals, which were then analysed.

From primeval rivers to modern-day Amsterdam

The results tell stories of the past, the present and the future of the city. They range all the way from the distant past – 2.6 million years ago – to the relatively near future (2030) of one modest piece of land, taking visitors on a journey from primeval rivers, ice ages, sea level rises and marshland reclamation all the way through to Amsterdam’s ongoing expansion. The exhibition also traces the last 1,000 years’ worth of activity on the uppermost soil levels to predict what is yet to come.

Complementing art

The exhibition also includes works of art by Femke Herregraven, who explores the new materials, geographies and value systems created by today’s financial technologies and infrastructures in multidisciplinary pieces such as games, drawings, prints, sculptures, videos and installations. 

‘Above and beneath the VU Campus: Past, present, future’ runs until 18 January 2019.