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ASI Research Cluster Natural Hazards & Society

We are the research cluster Natural Hazards & Society within the Amsterdam Sustainability Institute.

This research cluster aims to connect our world-leading natural hazards research at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam with societal partners interested in natural hazards and their impacts on society, in the Netherlands and abroad. This research cluster brings together researchers working on process understanding and societal impacts of among others floods, droughts, heatwaves, fires, landslides, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions from different VU institutes and faculties. We also investigate how consecutive natural hazards can have compounding impacts, and the challenges for disaster risk management.

We study natural hazards as an important part of the Earth system and society. While the occurrence of extreme natural hazards may be rare, these events can have a disproportional impact on the environment and human lives. 

We are an expertise centre in multiple aspects of natural hazards in the Netherlands. Our knowledge contributes to minimizing the negative effects that natural hazards have on society through collaboration with land managers, policy makers and practitioners. Our geographical scope varies from local to global. We regularly speak to national and international journalists about our work.

At VU, we hold a monthly seminar series in which researchers from different disciplines share their work. The dates are announced on this and the page of the Amsterdam Sustainability Institute

Why does the polar circle burn?

ASI researcher Sander Veraverbeke explains in Universiteit van Nederland how forest fires in the polar circle occur and why we should do everything to prevent them from moving further North. The video is in Dutch.

Past events:

  • 19 December 2023 - Session on earthquakes with Prof. Wouter Schellart and Dr. Bernd Andeweg 
  • 17 October 2023 - Drought impacts, forecast and early action: lessons learned from the 2020-2023 drought in East Africa by Rhoda Odongo & Teun Schrieks
  • 21 November 2023 - Session on landslides with Dr. Benjamin Campforts


Early snowmelt and polar jet dynamics co-influence recent extreme Siberian fire seasons
R. C. Scholten et al. (2022) in Science

Droughts are coming on faster
D. W. Walker, A. F. Van Loon (2023) in Science

Why We Can No Longer Ignore Consecutive Disasters
de Ruiter, M. C., Couasnon, A., van den Homberg, M. J. C., Daniell, J. E., Gill, J. C., & Ward, P. J. (2020) in Earth's Future

The Art of Landslides: How Stochastic Mass Wasting Shapes Topography and Influences Landscape Dynamics
Campforts, B., Shobe, C. M., Overeem, I., & Tucker, G. E. (2022) in Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface

Accelerated western European heatwave trends linked to more-persistent double jets over Eurasia
Rousi, E., Kornhuber, K., Beobide-Arsuaga, G. et al. (2022) in Nature Communications

Parameters Controlling the Eruption Frequency of Long-Lived Felsic Magmatic Systems: An Example From the Milos Volcanic Field (Greece)
Zhou, X., Kuiper, K., Wijbrans, J., & Vroon, P. (2022) in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems

A spatially-explicit harmonized global dataset of critical infrastructure
Nirandjan, S., Koks, E.E., Ward, P.J. et al. (2022) in Sci Data

What happened during the earthquake in Turkey?

VU geologist Bernd Andeweg explains what led to the devastating earthquake in Turkey in 2023.

Want to know more?

Get in touch with the coordinators

Sander Veraverbeke

Marleen de Ruiter: