About Roanne

Dr. Roanne van Voorst is a futures-anthropologist, writer, (Tedx)speaker and president of the Dutch Future Society. She obtained her PhD in 2014 (cum laude/ with honors) and is currently affiliated to the University of Amsterdam. As an ‘anthropologist of the future’; her core research focuses on what she has coined ‘sustainable humanity’: in times of robotification, digitization and big-data lead decisionmaking, what makes us human? And how does society remain humane? Her current research investigates these topics in the context of public health, in four different country case studies.

Read more about Roanne’s research, 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 here.

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
Read her books

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

Here is a selection of her recent poems


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, offered consultancy and academic advice to different Non-Governmental Organisations and companies, and participated in a 5-year long international research at the International Institute of Social Studies. Currently, Roanne is affiliated to the University of Amsterdam. She leads an international research team, investigating the future of public health in different countries. She is also chairwoman 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 deeply 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 digitizing companies, without losing human values? If decisions in hospitals are increasingly led by big data, how will this change our health policies? If robotics continue to improve, will we develop friendly relationships with them in the future, or will they take care of us when we are ill or lonely? How will we make friends, or love, or babies, in 5, 10 or 30 years from now?

Roanne has won several academic scholarships for her research projects, amongst which a funding from the Amsterdam Centre for European Studies (ACES) and the Catherine van Tussenbroeckfonds.

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 public health
  • The changing role of medical experts and general practitioners
  • Sustainable Humanity
  • The future of love, friendship and other forms of intimacy

For booking inquiries, please contact MVP Management: myrthe@mvpmanagement.nl

Upcoming talks:


Probiblio (about the future of humanity in society)

Year conference Partij voor de Dieren (about the future of food)

Kinderallergologie Symposium (on the future of food)

Sijthoff Media (on the future of society)

Sexuality Festival (on the future of intimacy)

Nacht van de Filosofie (on the future of love)

Saxion (on the future of friendship)

VINT (on futures-anthropology)

International Literature Festival The Hague (on feminism, the future of housing and the future of food)

Selection of recent talks:

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

'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

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; writer, podcaster, speaker

For an audience of medical experts, Roanne offered her view on digitization in public health. 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.

  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.

  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.

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

Get in touch!

If you want to inquire about Roanne's availability for a lecture or presentation on my work, please contact MVP management:  sophie@mvpmanagement.nl and/or myrthe@mvpmanagement.nl

If you want to interview Roanne for public media, please contact her publishers.
In the Netherlands, that is Podium for Park Uitgevers: Hannah.Bezemer@parkuitgevers.nl. In the US, that will be Harper Collins:  melinda.mullin@harpercollins.com.
For Germany, please contact Penguin Random House:

If you have a question or tip related to Roanne's current academic work on the future of public health, please Email to r.s.vanvoorst@uva.nl

If you have another question or message, please contact Roanne at support@roannevanvoorst.com

If you want to follow Roanne on social media, connect with her on Instagram or LinkedIn