As a zoöp, one of Het Nieuwe Instituut's inspirations is the concept of vivir bien, 'living well', found in Indigenous communities in Central and South America. On 20 September, Director Aric Chen welcomes Bolivian historian, anthropologist, Aymara leader and Bolivian Vice President David Choquehuanca to explain what vivir bien means. Francien van Westrenen is the moderator for an event exploring living well, in harmony with all life.

Bolivia and Ecuador are among the countries playing a pioneering role in granting (legal) rights to other-than-human life. They are at the forefront of the international movement to recognise the rights of Nature and the Earth - a movement that has inspired the development of the zoöp model at the institute.

From anthropocentric to Pacha-centric

'Living well,' the literal translation of vivir bien, also known as suma qamaña, sumaq kawsay, or buen vivir, is a world view shared by many Indigenous peoples in the Andean region. In their philosophy, they make no distinction between humans and other beings or elements that are part of the living entity of Pacha (Mother Earth). All are worthy of respect and should live in harmony.

The principles of living well together are included in the constitution of Bolivia, so that the living whole of planet, people, non-humans, time and space forms the guideline for all laws and regulations. The agricultural system of the country is also organised according to these principles. Supporting a jointly maintained, more-than-human commons, this agricultural approach provides all life with nourishment.


17:30 – 19:00
Spanish with live English translation

Het Nieuwe Instituut
Museumpark 25
3015 CB Rotterdam


Entrance is free