Wageningen University and Research Centre

ISRIC co-organiser of the Spanish Soil Exposition


Today (Oct 1,2015), the opening of the exposition ‘The soil, a walk through life’, which is co-organised by ISRIC, will take place in Madrid. The exposition has been organised in the context of the International Year of the Soil and will be displayed in the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales for six months. This museum is connected to the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC).

In Spain they use the Year of the Soil to show the importance of the soil to society, to show them that life as we know it would not be possible without a healthy soil. The Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid is concerned about the soil degradation which is common in Spain and joins the Year of the Soil with a bilingual exposition in Spanish and English. “We from ISRIC have decades of experience in research and education on the subject of soils from around the world and the sustainable management of those soils. We from the World Soil Museum have contributed to the design of the exposition, They also borrowed some of our soil monoliths and hand pieces,” states Stephan Mantel, head of the ISRIC-Soil Museum in Gaia-Lumen.

The central question of the exposition in Madrid, where about 250.000 visitors are expected, is: ‘What is Soil? Only lifeless material or more than that?’ A lot of people do not notice the ground under their feet until their shoes get dirty or when they take up gardening, but the importance of the soil lies a lot deeper, states the Natural Sciences Museum on their website. For the grand public it is a still unknown source which makes life on earth possible. The soil has essential functions such as food supply, climate control and water treatment, but in the last 50 years people have caused soil degradation in many places. This has led to the important loss of a non-renewable natural resource.

The slogan of the museum, which is meant to lure people to the exposition is: Welcome to the world of soils. Hoping that you will never step on it in the same way... The museum states the importance of the soil as: “A world full of colour, with multiple shapes and textures and full of life, with the goal to bring society closer to this unknown underground paradise, to make people realise the importance of the preservation of the soil for the future of life on this planet.”

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