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Zoöp is the title of an organisational model for cooperation between humans and nonhuman life that safeguards the interests of all zoë (Greek for 'life'). The Zoöp model makes the interests of nonhuman life part of organisational decision making.

Live stream of the book launch of Rights of Nature and presentation of the Zoöp model and practice: 23 september 09.45 - 11.15 CET

Live stream of the presentation of the Zoöp legal framework: 24 september 15.30 - 16.00 CET at

The Zoöp project is based on the premise that the global climate crisis and ecological devastation are the effects of an economic model that has systematically put human interests above nonhuman interests.

  • Zoöps strengthen the position of nonhuman life in human society and empowers organisations to contribute to ecological regeneration.
  • Zoöps contribute to ecological regeneration in a way that resists extractivist dynamics 
  • The zoöp model is designed to be applicable to a wide variety of organisations, non-profit and for-profit, that want to make ecological regeneration part of their DNA.

The Zoöp concept and its key methods were developed in a public research trajectory of Het Nieuwe Instituut that took place during the Terraforming Earth Labs (2018),  the  Neuhaus academy for more-then-human knowledge (2019), and the Venice Exploratorium (2020).

The following people have contributed to the development of the zoöp model and important aspects of its methods:  

Yin Aiwen, Brice Ammar-Khodja, Samuel Bianchini, Sanne Bloemink, Andrei Bocin-Dumitriu, Ziegavanden Berk, Gijs Bosman, Laura Burgers, Ricardo Cano Mateo, Cristina Cochior, Francesca Cozzolino, Leonardo Dellanoce, Malou den Dekker, Natalia Derossi,  Andre Ficcato, Syne Fonk, Sjefvan Gaalen, Edwin Gardner Lotte van Geeven, Michelle Geraerts, Marcel Goethals, Paulina Grebenstein, Max Hampshire, Thieme Hennis, Robin Hoske, Martina Huynh, Ian Ingram, Franceso degl’Inocenti, Theun Karelse, Sophie Krier, Klaas Kuitenbrouwer, Anne van Leeuwen, Jane da Mosto, Gilbert de Nijs, Yanshan Ou, Daniela de Paulis, Marthijn Pool, Patricia Ribault, Jarl Schulp, Hugo Scurto, Francesco Sebregondi, Bianca Slieker, Fabian van der Sluijs, Debra Solomon, Youran Song, Jay Springett, Daniël Steginga, Miha Tursic, Sander Turnhout, Josh Wodak, Thijs de Zeeuw.

The legal aspects of the model and the legal documentation have been developed by Vincent Koorstra, Ernestien Idenburg, Klaas Kuitenbrouwer, a dedicated team of De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek and of NLO.

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Zoöp Background

The zoöp concept is the result of a public research trajectory of Het Nieuwe Instituut that had its first phase in the Terraforming Earth workshops in 2018. The question explored there, was how to make the word more habitable for human and nonhuman life in the long term.


Image: Patricia de Ruijter,

The Zoöp model

A zoöp is a cooperation between a human organisation and a representation of localised, non-human life. The format consists of several interlocking parts.


Image: Patricia De Ruijter,

The Zoönomic Method

In the summer of 2020, as part of the Venice Exploratorium, teams from four different cities in Europe critically explored and refined a method for engaging with a site as a zoöp. The method has been applied in several experimental settings since, each leading to further refinement. It has developed into the general framework for the practice of zoönomy, and for the (zoönomic) development of zoöps.


Image: Zoönomic Method research, Site I


Zoöp Sprouting Festival University College Utrecht
7 November

In this festival University College Utrecht (a recent proto-zoöp) will present the notion of the zoöp to its community, hold workshops around all the different aspects of UCU Zoöp, and set in motion the first steps towards the future. UCU will organise ‘rings’ of volunteers to develop different aspects of their Zoöp ahead of the next festival, when they will harvest what has been accomplished and set new goals.

The festival will take place online, on Saturday 7 November. Klaas Kuitenbrouwer (researcher at Het Nieuwe Instituut) will be the opening speaker. There will be workshops on developing zoönomic methods, learning from indigenous knowledge (by ecological activist Céline Nana Kun), learning to observe nature, and other topics.


Image: courtesy of University College Utrecht.

09 september 2021
Legal format ready

With the dedicated help of law firm De Brauw and of NLO and a lot of thinking, revising and rewriting the three building blocks of the Zoöp model are now ready! We made the certification text that states the conditions under which organisations will be called Zoöps. We wrote the statutes of the Zoönomic Foundation, the body that will represent the voices and interests of nonhuman life as board observer in Zoöps; and we made the standard contract that stipulates the rights and obligations of the Zoöp and the Zoönomic Foundation towards each other. These interlocking documents together form the backbone of the Zoöp model.

Many, many thanks to all bodies that have helped to bring it this far!

Image: edited image of Houtouwan village in Shengshan. Original: Jane Qing.

De Brauw accepts pro bono commission to develop zoöp charter
15 June

Respected law firm De Brauw has accepted the pro bono commission of critically assessing the zoöp legal structure and developing the charters and documents required to establish actual zoöps. De Brauw was ‘intrigued by legal implications of this innovative and remarkable project’. We are excited and grateful for the valued support of De Brauw and greatly look forward to this collaboration.

Image: Hanging Gardens of Babylon, first published in Je Sais Tout magazine, France, December 1909.