World Soil Museum

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File:New World Soil Meuseum in Wageningen.JPG
The World Soil Museum building.

The World Soil Museum is a museum exhibiting the various soil types in the world, from the volcanic ash soil from Indonesia to the soil from the Amazon. The museum is a part of International Soil Reference and Information Centre (ISRIC) and is located in the campus of Wageningen University and Research Centre (also known as Wageningen UR) in Wageningen, Netherlands. The World Soil Museum was started as the International Soil Museum in 1966 on a request of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Soil Science Society.[1][2]

The World Soil Museum's samples of the various soils from around the world offer an educative insight into soils and ecosystems. Soil monoliths accompanied by data that include detailed profile descriptions, chemical compositions and physical features, information on the landscape and land-use impart knowledge on the world's soils in an attractive manner. The museum's collection of soil samples totals 32, which represents the major soils found around the world. The soils of the Netherlands are displayed in a special section, known as the ‘Dutch corner’. The sections exhibits all the major soils found in the Netherlands. It also showcases the soils that have changed significantly under the influence of long-term human activity.[3]

The museum has a collection of over 1,100 soil profiles from more than 70 countries.[citation needed]

The design of the World Soil Museum

The design was by EGM Architecten and commissioned by Wageningen University and Research Centre.[citation needed] It is intended to suggest a thick piece of turf taken from the soil.

The museum is located between the Gaia and Lumen buildings and its entrance is shared with these buildings. The entrance area is transparent and has an open character, while the museum itself is presented as a more closed group with a rough, earthy look. That reticence is explained by the fact that soil samples should not be exposed to high levels of light.

The exhibition space in the museum has two levels. Visitors arrive on the top level and then descend into a pit, thus approaching the soil samples from a natural perspective.

The World Soil Museum was officially opened on 7 April 2014 during a symposium 'Soils of the World' by ISRIC.[citation needed]


  1. "Records of the General Conference, 13th Session, 1964". UNESCO. Retrieved 5 January 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Mantel, Stephan; Land, Hiske. "The World Soil Museum: education and advocacy on soils of the world". European Geosciences Union. Retrieved 5 January 2014.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "World Soil Museum". International Soil Reference and Information Centre. Retrieved 5 January 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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