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Earth Sciences; vital to the future of society

Earth Sciences

Earth sciences is in many ways at the heart of society, and both are undergoing dramatic -and related- changes.

Earth sciences has delivered fundamental knowledge on the functioning of our planet and enabled exploitation of Earth’s environments and resources. Earth sciences is now paramount in understanding the consequences of this exploitation and provides the required insight to mitigate negative aspects, including the effects of climate change and over-exploitation of soils and natural resources.

Earth Science is vital to the future of society. Research into deep Earth processes that shape the planet, into the evolution, change and consequences of past and present Climate, and into Resources such as heat, water, hydrocarbons, aggregates, and economically relevant minerals, are fundamental to sustainable use of Earth of our planet. These research efforts require a system Earth approach. We use field observations, state of the art in-house and field laboratories, complemented with a suite of modelling and Earth Observation tools to achieve our research goals.

Our department plays a key role in the Science for Sustainability theme of the VU, in which we study the prerequisites for a future-proof sustainable equilibrium between society, environment and economy. Many of our staff are working on issues closely related to sustainability, including climate change and its causes and impacts, the depletion of natural resources, and the energy transition. Much fundamental knowledge exists on a range of subjects including greenhouse gas dynamics in forests and peatlands, underground CO2 storage, risks such as wildfires, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, atmospheric dynamics and budgets, ocean dynamics including sea level rise, geothermal energy, droughts, etc. Our work on greenhouse gases has direct links with governments, international organisations (UNFCCC) and monitoring the Paris protocol reduction measures, and is receiving increasing attention from the media.

The Department studies a wide range of aspects of System Earth, with an emphasis on an integrated approach. The topics range from high-pressure - high-temperature experimental petrology to biogeochemical cycles.  The Department is subdivided into two clusters:

Our strong research basis forms the core of our teaching programs. Our BSc and MSc programmes are consistently rated among the best in natural sciences in the Netherlands, see NVAO, Elsevier.

View all of our publications, sorted by year of release and categorized by publication type, ranging from journal articles and doctoral theses to lectures and conference contributions.

Education programmes

The Department of Earth Sciences offers the following Bachelor's and Master's Degree programmes:

Bachelor's degree programme Earth Sciences (in Dutch)

Bachelor's degree programme Earth, Economics and Sustainability (in Dutch)

Master's degree programme Earth Sciences
Geology and Geochemistry (G&G)
Earth and Climate (E&C)
Global Environmental Change and Policy (GEC&P)  

Master's degree programme Hydrology
Process Hydrology
Water Risks

Research clusters

The Department of Earth Sciences consists of 2 thematic research clusters:
- Earth and Climate
- Geology and Geochemistry

More over


Feel free to contact us

Call +31 (0)20 59 87310 or +31 (0)20 59 84375

E-mail the department Secretaries:
F. (Fenny) Bosse, e-mail: 

VU Amsterdam, Faculty of Science
W&N building
De Boelelaan 1085
1081 HV Amsterdam