Guided Tour World Soil Museum

What is sand actually? And what is its role in landscapes, ecology and land use? Find out at the World Soil Museum, and admire the beautiful and highly diverse collection of soil profiles!

Organisator Studium Generale

ma 27 mei 2019 14:00 tot 14:45

di 28 mei 2019 12:30 tot 13:15

Locatie Gaia, gebouwnummer 101

Everyone is familiar with sand. But do you actually know what sand is? Sand is simply defined by size; particles of a certain size are called sand. Yet, there is a large diversity in colour, grain sizes and mineral content of sands. These differences are reflected in sandy landscapes, and explain variations in ecology and land use history. Enjoy the stories of the sand during a visit to the World Soil Museum! Explore the beautiful and highly diverse collection of soil profiles, guided by head of the museum Stephan Mantel.

As the museum can only welcome 30 participants at a time, you are advised to be in time at the entrance of Gaia to ensure your spot in the tour.

About Stephan Mantel

Stephan Mantel

Researcher Stephan Mantel is Head of the World Soil Museum, and curator of physical collections at ISRIC. His fields of expertise include land degradation, land evaluation, land use planning, soil management, soil sciences, soil classification, tropical soils and geo-information.


ISRIC — World Soil Information, legally registered as the International Soil Reference and Information Centre, has a mission to serve the international community as custodian of global soil information. It is striving to increase awareness and understanding of soils in major global issues.

See for more information on the World Soil Museum.

About The World of Sand (21-28 May)

Sand. Ordinary and incredibly diverse. Beautiful. Omnipresent and becoming scarce at the same time. In this theme week, Studium Generale explores the many aspects of this versatile material. What it looks like, how it sounds, how we source it, what you can do with it and, especially, its growing scarcity and the consequences this has.

Did you know that sand is the most consumed raw material on earth after fresh water? And that your smartphone wouldn’t exist without it? It is used for buildings, infrastructure, glass, computers, cosmetics and detergents – omnipresent things in our daily lives. With visions of deserts in your mind it might be hard to imagine, but did you ever realize that sand is a finite source, and actually becoming scarcer? And that the increasing pressure on this resource may have serious implications, ranging from sand conflicts and ecological destruction, to compromised food production and flood protection?

Delve into the everyday and at the same time unknown world of sand, and explore its special nature and role from various angles. Admire its beauty and diversity, and find out why sand has so many different uses. Discover where we get it from and how we extract it. Learn about the social and ecological effects of sand extraction, and discuss what role science and policy could play in promoting sustainable sand use.