Polder Simulation Center

For POLicy Decision-support and Evidence-based Reasoning

An initiative led by UvA IAS

The world is changing rapidly and getting more interconnected, largely driven by far-reaching globalisation and new technologies. The complexity of our society is urgently felt in the realm of policymaking. Challenges like climate change, pandemics, or inequality are just some examples that clearly show that all our systems (economic, social, environmental) are closely intertwined through many interacting processes. Because of that, policy interventions can have all kinds of unexpected and also undesirable side effects. The outcome of seemingly small interventions on the system as a whole is extremely hard to predict.

POLDER is a research collaborative that helps policymakers to unravel complex challenges, create actionable insights, and explore new avenues of intervention. We develop and apply novel decision-support methods, using theories and tools from complexity science, system dynamics and network science. POLDER works together with researchers from all academic fields, and in co-creation with the direct stakeholders, to support responsible and effective decision-making.

Policy and Complexity in the 21st Century

The series ‘Policy and Complexity in the 21st Century’ brings together researchers and practitioners to discuss the challenges of policy-making in the complexity of today’s world.


UvA Institute for Advanced Study (IAS)

Oude Turfmarkt 147
1012 GC Amsterdam

+31 (0)20 525 2863


When trying to navigate through complex challenges, like the corona pandemics, it’s common practice that policy makers consult researchers from various disciplines. Processing all this information and data is not trivial. The policy maker is essentially the interdisciplinary processor of all this disciplinary scientific knowledge. This stresses the need for real co-creation between science and policy.

Albert Faber
Senior Policy Advisor, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate

The complexity sciences – note the plural – have a proven ability to inform policy makers on a wide range of persistent and complex policy issues. The real art is in bridging the gap between the abstract notions and complicated methods on the one hand, and the lived experience of those policy makers on the other hand. POLDER aims to bring practitioners and scientists together to fully exploit complexity’s promise for Dutch policy practices.

Lasse Gerrits
Professor of Urban Planning

The future powerhouses of the economy, the governmental resilience, and the healthcare at large will be driven by those countries that fully recognise the interwoven complexities of these systems and deploy the deep lessons learned from complexity science.

Peter Sloot
Professor of Complex Adaptive Systems