FROM 2020 TO 2021

‘2020 was, of course, an abysmal and unhappy year. A lost year, in many ways and for most people. But nevertheless a year that we shouldn’t forget too quickly. Because the pandemic acts as a stress test, making us focus on things that we’d otherwise have kept sweeping under the carpet. It’s a much-needed reality check, because the planet is not doing well.’

This is how our director George Brugmans’ end-of-year letter begins. About the state of the planet, the state of the cultural sector and the sustainability of the biennale concept in times of pandemic and climate crisis. A look back and a look forward.

Click here to read the end-of-year letter.


picture: Aad Hoogendoorn

Partner Exhibitions
What we do not know, is how long the current strict lockdown measures will be in place. Hopefully, for all of us, infection rates will drop and measures can be eased as of January 20. For now, the intention is to start 2021 with two partner exhibitions, METEOPOLIS in January, and NOW! In February.

METEOPOLIS is an exhibition by Rotterdam Weatherwise, a program of the City of Rotterdam. With ‘Scenarios for the Rotterdam of 2060’ as its subtitle, it challenges four design offices to imagine what Rotterdam could look like 40 years from now if the city were to embrace the water, rather than continue to fight it. An exercise in looking ahead in times of climate crisis.

For more information, click here

METEOPOLIS: Panorama Harbour

image: De Zwarte Hond



For NOW! DESIGNING IN TIME OF CLIMATE CRISIS, some 150 students of the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture (RAvB) and the Graphic Design and Non-Linear Narrative departments of the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Hague, are joining forces. Under the guidance of Thijs van Spaandonk, a curator of DOWN TO EARTH and head of the RAvB’s Master of Urban Design, and Roosje Klap, responsible for the graphic design of DOWN TO EARTH, and with Niels Schrader, head of the two KABK departments.

For more information, click here

NOW! Designing in times of climate crisis

image: RAvB, Freek van Riet / KABK, Petra Eros

NOW! is open to the public from February 12 through 28, 2021. Because of the pandemic, these dates are subject to change.

In March 2021 we’ll resume WHOSE ENERGY IS IT, ANYWAY? Not exactly as the exhibition has been on show until Sunday, December 13, when we had to close it due to stricter lockdown measures. We’ll present a version 2.0 integrating all of the knowledge gained during the first run in the virtual and physical work sessions for which the exhibition has been the arena.
The curators, Eva Pfannes, Thijs van Spaandonk, and George Brugmans, have shared notes and expertise with specialists and administrators and, in particular, with the many residents and representatives of social initiatives and organizations from the BoTu district, the focus of the exhibition. They came to the Keilezaal keen to find out what the energy transition can mean for them, whether and how they can become co-owners of this transition, and even how they can make an active contribution as a first step towards a CO2-neutral district. Their tremendous drive and involvement, and their commitment to facing the energy transition challenge is heartwarming.


picture: Aad Hoogendoorn

In the 2.0 version, we will also be presenting the IABR–WORKSHOP BoTu, which we will start up in Bospolder-Tussendijken itself after the exhibition ends in the spring of 2021. Together with Robbert de Vrieze, another member of DOWN TO EARTH’s curator team, we will activate the Local Energy Action Plan, the LEAP for Bospolder-Tussendijken, developed in the IABR–Atelier Rotterdam. From aking the transition visible in the exhibition to visibly making the transition on site, this is our concrete contribution to Resilient BoTu 2028 program, launched by Mayor Aboutaleb. And we’ll set it up so that chances are this workshop can remain active until 2028.

For more information on the exhibition WHOSE ENERGY IS IT, ANYWAY?, click here

Please note that, given the pandemic, IABR follows the guidelines of the RIVM, the Dutch Health Authority. As we want to ensure that there are never too many people present at the same time and that every visit is a safe visit, all visitors of WHOSE ENERGY IS IT, ANYWAY? have to reserve time slots in advance - which you can do here

For all further visitor information, click here

picture: Melany van Twuijver

DOWN TO EARTH is a biennale in times of pandemic – an anti-biennale. Instead of compressing a multitude of activities – concentrating them in time and place, inviting as many people as possible, from far and wide, through the same door – we will unfold the program over time. A biennale true to form is simply not possible under the current atypical circumstances.
From September 2020 until the summer of 2021, the IABR will present a series of relatively small exhibitions and other activities. We will also find safe ways to organise a limited number of events, such as work sessions and lectures.

Read the introduction to DOWN TO EARTH by the chief curator, George Brugmans, here

Read more about DROUGHT IN THE DELTA, the first exhibition of DOWN TO EARTH, here

Because of the pandemic, all dates are subject to change. So, check our website and agenda regularly, subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on twitter and instagram

Crucially however, make sure to stay healthy, safe and sane!