About Roanne

Dr. Roanne van Voorst is a futures-anthropologist, writer and (Tedx)speaker. She is president of the Dutch Future Society and works as a scientific advisor for HATCH, on the future of work. She obtained her PhD in 2014 (cum laude/ with honors) as an ‘anthropologist of the future’; her core research focuses on what she calls ‘sustainable humanity’: in times of robotification, what makes us human?

Read more about Roanne’s research and her ideas about sustainable humanity here, find information about her writing work or about the trainings and lectures she developed, here. You can also request Roanne’s speaking-availability for an event, or get in touch.

PSSST: Do you come from the Netherlands, just as Roanne herself? Then there is a special page for you in Dutch, in case you find that more easy!

Now working on a new book on the future of intimacy.
Want to be the first to pre-order? Sign up here.


Roanne both writes academic texts, as well as non-academic books and articles (for example for NRC Handelsblad). Her work has been translated into different languages and is published internationally.

Read her articles

She also occasionally writes poetry, both in English and Dutch.

Here is a selection of her recent poems
  • With 6 in a bed

    With 6 in a bed. From polyamory to lovedrugs and avatarflirts.


    To love is to be human; it is an experience that robots and algorithms can imitate, but are not yet able to experience. Love is one of the most compelling, guiding forces in our existence: we commit crimes for love, take risks, break hearts, as well as our own boundaries. Loving and being able to connect with others is the essence of being human: it makes us who we are. But the experience of love is changing. Medicines are currently being invented that can make you fall in love; there are robots to befriend and avatars that promise to be your perfect partner. Polyamory is on the rise; people have longer, healthier sexlives, thanks to new technology you can date anyone, everywhere, and at the same time there is a growing group of people who consciously live alone: the sologamists.

    In With Six in a Bed, future anthropologist Roanne van Voorst investigates first-hand how love is changing. In the clear manner that characterizes her work, she discusses sociological and philosophical literature, shares her interviews with futurists, experiential experts, inventors and above all, gives an insight of her own, longterm anthropological research. From the time she hired a sex doll to the day she tested and matched her DNA with her partner's; from experiencing what it's like to have a digital partner to the testing of all sorts of love drugs; from sexwork to genderfluidity: Van Voorst offers a fascinating and titillating preview of the future of love and intimacy.

    This book is available in Dutch

  • Ooit aten we dieren

    Once We Ate Animals


    Combining the ethical clarity of Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals with the disquieting vision of Alan Weissman’s bestseller The World Without Us, a thought-provoking, entertaining exploration of a future where animal consumption is a thing of the past.

    Though increasing numbers of people know that eating meat is detrimental to our planet’s health, many still can’t be convinced to give up eating meat. But how can we change behavior when common arguments and information aren’t working?

    Acclaimed anthropologist Roanne Van Voorst changes the dialogue. In Once Upon a Time We Ate Animals, she shifts the focus from the present looking forward to the future looking back—imagining a world in which most no longer use  animals for food, clothing, or other items. By shifting the viewpoint, she offers a clear and compelling vision of what it means to live in a world without meat.

    Hopeful and persuasive, Once Upon a Time We Ate Animals offers a tantalizing vision of what is not only possible but perhaps inevitable.

    A massive shift is already taking place—everything van Voorst covers in this book has already been invented and is being used today by individuals and small organizations worldwide.

    ‘This book will change your life. Start today’
    Antoinette Hertsenberg, TV-presenter

    This book is available worldwide

    Also available in Dutch, German, Japanese and Spanish (in 2022).

  • De Beste Plek Ter Wereld

    The Best Place in the World


    A non-fiction work about the unsustainability and inequality of modern cities, based on Roanne’s long term fieldwork in one of the most poor and dangerous slums of Jakarta, Indonesia. She narrates the inventive, creative and often hilarious strategies that slumdwellers use to cope with recurrent risk. Above all, she asks the question what we really need to live a good life? (hint: lots of mango’s, a reasonable amount of pubic hair, and a Jacuzzi)

    ‘A wonderful, even moving portrait of a slum’
    Gustaaf Peek, author & poet

    ‘Impressive. A lovingly written monument’
    Eveline Stoel, writer

    ‘Roanne van Voorst has the courage to step into the raw life of the poorest people in Jakarta, and through her eyes we experience their sometimes painfully, funny struggle to exist’
    Step Vaessen, correspondent for Al Jazeera

    Available in Dutch (De Beste Plek ter Wereld, Brandt) and Bahasa Indonesia (Marjin Kiri)

  • Lief van je

    The Kind Girl


    A shocking and urgent novel, about camaraderie, loneliness, love and anxiety about the unknown, based on true stories of soldiers and veterans. This novel explores the increasing fear of refugees, characterizing modern politics.

    ‘Very powerful, with a unique and new voice that continued to resonate for days after I finished the book. Wonderful phrases and images follow each other up at a rapid pace; Roanne van Voorst is a real natural in literature.’
    Herman Koch

    ‘The most beautiful book of the year. Couldn't put it away anymore. I cried, laughed, and was deeply moved’.’

    Available in Dutch (Lief van Je, Brandt)

  • FEAR!



    Modern times are characterized by uncertainty. If there is one skill that we need to thrive in the nearby future, it is how to deal with stress and the unknown. In this interview bundle, some of the most courageous people in this world share their lessons on courage-building and goal-setting in fragile situations. From self-hypnosis to visualization to rational analyses – the interviewees tested the most effective strategies to overcome anxiety, and share their formula for success in this book. Featuring Alex Honnold, Lynn Hill, Catherine Destivelle, ‘Spiderman’ Alain Robert, Cedric Dumont, Steph Davis and many more.

    ‘Fear! breaks down what it takes to become successful under highly stressful circumstances: mental and physical practice, balancing risk versus outcomes and push way beyond your limits.’
    Tommy Caldwell, legendary rock climber and author of The Push

    Available in English (E-book only), Dutch (Alles onder Controle, Brandt) and French (Vaincre ses Peurs, Editions du Mont Blanc)

  • De Verhuizing

    The Move

    To impress his superiors from the Ministry of Housing, an ambitious social worker organizes an event for top officials and neighbours in a deprived neighbourhood. He tries to make the area in which he works clean, modern and safe, but gradually he finds out that he has been missing something crucial…

    A psychological novel that takes place in a modernist setting, criticizing the idea that cities can be completely planned, inspired by Le Corbusier and one of his greatest critics: sociologist James C. Scott.

    ‘A book begging to be turned into a movie.’

    ‘A razor-sharp psychological portrait about human relationships in work and private relationships. (…) There is a subtle tension that rises towards the end of the book. The finale can be called unexpected and almost disconcerting. Well written debut novel by anthropologist Roanne van Voorst.’
    Carol Tummers, NBD Biblion

    ‘Van Voorst unmistakably wrote this black-humorous novel from a great insight into vulnerable groups and into the human psyche.’

    ‘Van Voorst has shown that she can combine her scientific knowledge with a fluent writing style.’

    Available in Dutch (De Verhuizing, Atlas Contact)

  • Jullie zijn anders als ons

    You’re different from us


    A non-fiction work exploring the increasing migration of people with different ethnic backgrounds, to the Netherlands. Van Voorst shows that unlike the populist idea that integration has been a failure; migrant youth are actually mingling in into society very well – while also maintaining traditional, or developing complete new, mixed cultures.

    ‘A book that can be read as a journalistic longread, but van Voorst also provides a competent overview of research and theory. She does this in lively prose, level-headed and without prejudices, but also not afflicted with political correctness: ****’
    De Volkskrant

    ‘Significant anecdotes. Despite all the problems and misunderstandings, most immigrant youth feel more Dutch than is suspected.’

    ‘Anthropologist Roanne van Voorst gives nuanced insights into the various youth cultures and describes the characteristics and integration problems of the most important groups of immigrant youth.’

    ‘Young people from ethnic minorities often do not get to speak for themselves in the integration debate. Until Van Voorst opened up the conversation.’

    ‘In a smooth and lively way, van Voorst describes the differences between native and immigrant youth in the Netherlands, alternating sharp analyzes with personal stories of immigrant youth.’

    Available in Dutch (Jullie zijn Anders als Ons, De Bezige Bij)


Roanne has conducted research all over the world, from Inuit villages in Greenland to the slums of Jakarta and from refugee-camps in Greece to brothels in Austria; amongst conflict actors in Haiti as well as with sexworkers in the Netherlands.

In 2014, she obtained her Ph.D. (with distinction/cum laude) at the Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research (AISSR). She has since worked as a consultant for the Danish Institute of International Studies (DIIS) on a research project on the future of cities, offers consultancy and academic advice to different Non-Governmental Organisations and companies, and is currently affiliated to the International Institute of Social Studies. Roanne is also chair/president of the Dutch Future Society.

As an anthropologist of the future, Roanne’s approach typically involves in-depth interviews, extensive literature research and participant observation: a methodology in which the researchers emerges herself into the topic of study, so that she can experience, rather than just cognitively understand the matter at hand (simpler put: Roanne personally tries out many of the things that she studies). She combines this way of working with futuristic scenario-building – a method in which she was trained at Utrecht University.

In her ongoing research, Roanne focuses on what she calls ‘sustainable humanity’. In the next 20 years, humanity is likely to face more changes than the past 300 years. Roanne asks what keeps us human, in times of robotification, Artificial Intelligence, fake news and global crises. How can we move ahead as modern citizens and companies, without losing human values? If robots become even more efficient in carrying out our tasks (and soon they will), how can we avoid making humans redundant on the workfloor - and should we? Will we develop friendly relationships with robots in the future, will we end up worshipping them, or will they take over and destroy mankind? How will we care for our loved ones, our parents and our children? How will we make friends, or love, or babies, in 5, 10 or 30 years from now?

Curious to learn Roanne's insights on these topics?
Come and visit one of her public talks, read some of her articles on the theme,
follow a training that she co-designed,
or be the first to pre-order her book on the future of love.


Roanne regularly speaks about her research and books, moderates or presents events, or reads from her work.

Some of her favourite themes:

  • The future of love, intimacy and sex
  • Sustainable Humanity
  • The future of friendship
  • The future of work
  • The future of food

For booking inquiries, please contact MVP Management:

Upcoming talks:


International Literature Festival The Hague


Nacht van Ontdekkingen - talk on sustainable humanity

Het Filosofisch Kwintet - on the future of humanity, with Steven Pinker, Philipp Blomm and Rutger Bregman

IMPAKT festival - keynote talk on the Future of Love

Explore the North - talk on Sustainable Humanity

UWV (Employee Insurance Agency) - talk on Sustainable Futures at work

Most recent public talks

Roanne was a guest in the Eindbazen podcast, to talk about how you can be realistic and hopeful for the future

'The future of work' for IKEA International

RUG University, keynote talk on dealing with unknown futures

Avebe, keynote talk on the future of food

'The future of love' for BRAINWASH Talks

Roanne in the Rudi&Freddi podcast (with Rutger Bregman and Jesse Frederik of De Correspondent) on the future of food.

Impossible Bodies - a future scenario on cyborgs, trans- and humanism

The Brave New World conference (Leiden)

Roanne on storytelling, sci-fi and future-scenarios

Roanne's summer discussion at the TNW Couch Conference (co-organized by the Financial Times) on future leadership demands - in our personal lives, and in companies.

Roanne; writer, podcaster, speaker

Some recent examples of performances: on pop-festival Lowlands she shared her vision on the future of love, food and music; during TedxTalks in Amsterdam and Wageningen she envisaged a sustainable future of our world – one in which nature, humans and technology flourish; during a ‘history and future dinner’, she spoke for an intimate audience of futurists and trendwatchers, during a lunchtalk at Patagonia she spoke about the future of work, and during a booktour in Indonesia, she read from her work and engaged in meet-and-greets with her readers.

Roanne is known for her ability to explain complex matters in an accessible and engaging manner. With her anthropological background, she is not your average futurist: instead of just pointing out trends, she explains how these trends will affect humanity: the way we think, live, love, work and feel. Moreover, as is common in the field of anthropology, Roanne personally tries out- or engages in - many of the future trends that she studies: whether it be a future food-product, a sex doll, an app, a job of the future, or a future-house. This often leads to unexpected, funny and – most importantly – incredibly insightful lectures about the impact that technology and other modern innovations have on human beings, on our companies, our families and neighbourhoods.

Roanne enjoys working with event coordinators to customize her talks within the scope of her research. Below is a top 3 of the most requested topics:

  1. The future of love, sex and gender

    Did you know that soon, most people will live single, in a house without roommates? That ‘sologamy’ is the new thing? Did you know that in the nearby future, sexdolls and avatars may have taken over the job of sexworkers? That long-distance technology will make it easier for couples to feel connected and stay intimate, even if they are hundreds of miles apart? All of these trends will deeply impact the way in which we experience love. It is often taken for granted that love is a universal force: something that never changes. But in this talk, Roanne explains that no such thing is true. By taking her audience into the history of love, relationships and marriage, she shows that the way in which we fall in love and care for romantic partners, constantly evolves. At this moment, we are on the breach of what is perhaps one of the biggest changes in the history of love: in the future, we will never love the same.

    Roanne; writer, podcaster, speaker
  2. The future of work and education

    If robots and algorhytms become ever more efficient in carrying out human tasks, there is a fair chance that humans will become redundant on the workfloor. In this fascinating talk, Roanne helps companies and employees understand what individuals can do and learn, in order to remain professionally successful in the future. She discusses the skills that our children should already start developing, to increase their chance on a good job. And she also shares a future-scenario in which ways robots and humans collaborate, allowing us more free time for the things in life we value – even if they are usually not paid.

    Roanne; writer, podcaster, speaker
  3. The future of food

    What will you be having for breakfast, lunch or dinner in 2030? Where will this food be sourced? And how will it be prepared? Will we eat burgers made from cultured meat? Snacks made from insects? Or pills and powders based on your DNA profile? It may sound far-fetched, but with a growing world population we must carefully reconsider our food system – and times are changing, faster than you thought possible. With videos, images and personal stories about the future food that she tested for you, Roanne offers an insight into your future meals. Based on scientific research and dozens of interviews with futurists, trend watchers, lawyers, lobbyists, sociologists, historians, food experts, psychologists, inventors, vegan bodybuilders, influencers and farmers, Roanne outlines an anthropology of the future. She shows how norms, trends, and cultures in societies will rapidly change and introduces you to a post-cruelty future.

    Roanne; writer, podcaster, speaker

What others say

‘Our largest event-space was fully booked after we’d booked Roanne to speak about the art of overcoming fears. The audience was amazed and thrilled!‘ - Patrick Baars, Marketing & Communicatie account manager NKBV
‘Roanne gave a public lecture for our Better Future Campus, for 80 senior managers and corporate professionals. She spoke about courageous leadership with wisdom and humour – the audience loved it.‘ - Michel Barth, Managing Partner of Better Future
‘The 200 people in the Museon thoroughly enjoyed Roanne’s story. Her knowledge and expertise are impeccable, and she is a passionate speaker – everyone was moved. We immediately booked her again!‘ - Diederik Veerman, curator Museon

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