Though we definitely don't spend quite as much time at the zoo as we did when we were growing up, we are no less delighted every time we visit ARTIS. There's something truly magical about the place. As soon as we arrive, we feel we can breathe easy and lose ourselves in the beauty & the charm of the animals & their surroundings. Naturally, we were curious about what it's like to run such a special place, so we had a chat with Artis's director, Rembrandt Sutorius. Keep reading to find out what makes ARTIS unique, what inspires him and what's in store for Amsterdam's very own Narnia.
gloobles: Hi Rembrandt! Thanks for chatting with us. You’ve got a pretty enviable job, we must admit. How did you find yourself where you are today?
Rembrandt: I have always had a broad interest in & a passion for nature & sustainability. Luck & serendipity eventually brought me to ARTIS. I was looking for a role where I could have more of a social impact & had already provided ARTIS with strategic advice in my previous position as a consultant at McKinsey.
gloobles: Sounds like a natural transition. Tell us what you love about working for ARTIS?
Rembrandt: It is beautiful place full of stories & with a rich history. Our employees are very devoted; some animal caretakers have worked here for over 50 years. Furthermore, with lots of cultural heritage, a zoological garden, a botanical garden, a museum & a planetarium, every day is different.
gloobles: We always almost forget about the planetarium, but it's so cool! We won't miss it next time, that's for sure. What sets ARTIS apart from competitors?
Rembrandt: ARTIS is a green oasis in the middle of the city where we bring nature to the people. As of recently, we can call ourselves a botanical garden, a great recognition of the green heritage of the ARTIS-park. Besides the park with its animals, plants, trees & monuments, we focus completely on microbes, the smallest organisms in the world, in Micropia, & in the Planetarium, you can find out more about the overwhelmingly large cosmos. Next year, we will open the doors of het Groote Museum, which is currently being renovated. This museum is all about humankind, & visitors will be able to learn more about themselves & their role in the world.
gloobles: How cool is that?! Do you have a favourite or secret spot at ARTIS?
Rembrandt: The Hollandse Tuin for a picnic.
gloobles: Next time we're joining! If you aren’t toting your children along to ARTIS, where do you like to take them?
Rembrandt: Into nature. The Dutch coastline, dunes, lakes & forests are beautiful.
gloobles: We totally agree. It's really underrated actually. Who or what inspires you?
Rembrandt: Nature inspires me on a daily basis through the seasons, but so do many different people from Jane Goodall to Barack Obama.
gloobles: It's great to have diverse inspiration. It makes things much more interesting. Sometimes we all need a little bit of a break. When you’re super busy at ARTIS, where do you like to go for an inspirational coffee break?
Rembrandt: Anywhere in the park, just sitting on a bench or strolling among the trees. It always gives me inspiration & peace of mind.
gloobles: That's wonderful that you are still inspired at work every day. Not many people can say that! Where do you see ARTIS in the next ten years?
Rembrandt: As a beautiful & circular park, a place where everyone, regardless of background, can discover the interconnectivity of life in the broadest sense.
gloobles: Beautiful! We love that. Other than ARTIS, what’s your favourite zoo in the world?
Rembrandt: I really like many zoos & aquaria for different reasons, & I haven’t seen them all. But I like the cultural heritage at the zoos in Berlin & Vienna. The aquarium in Lisbon is stunning. Also, places like the Apenheul in the Netherlands are very much worth a visit.
gloobles: What about in the wild? Where do you like to go to see animals in their wild, natural habitats?
Rembrandt: Anywhere, but The Galapagos Islands & Zambia are dream destinations.