Knowmads International

KnowmadsKnowmads Hanoi is part of a bigger picture, which started in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 2009. Below you can read more about how it all started!
You can visit the website of Knowmads Amsterdam at to check about their 6 months program and all the other great things they have been doing!
Besides Knowmads Amsterdam, there have been conversations and initiatives in different parts of the world, from South America to Europe and Asia.

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The Knowmads story

Knowmads shoePerhaps it all started with one Thomas Heide in the late 80’s, seeking to start a school that should become “a home for lost geniuses”, that later became KaosPilots. Perhaps it started when Uffe Elbæk grew KaosPilots to international fame during the 90’s. Perhaps it started in 2004 when Floris Koot and Peter Linde organized a conference around chaos and complexity. Perhaps it started with KaosPilots Netherlands, where Pieter Spinder joined as team coach. Perhaps it started in 2009, when Pieter Spinder’s son Jelte asked him: “Why don’t you start your own school?”

Perhaps it started on a boat in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, one night later that summer, when a group of entrepreneurs and educators sat together with the intention to combine their years of experience and experiment in creating the best possible education and dreamed of possibilities. Pieter Spinder took the lead as our fire-starter. His contagious vision on education, an education built on love, action and leadership spread. Friends joined him to contribute from their expertise. It definitely had started when in February 2010 it opened its doors and the first students enrolled.

The first students at Knowmads Amsterdam came from all corners of the world: South Korea, USA, Brazil, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands. Year after year, tribe after tribe, students from dozens of countries joined Knowmads Amsterdam, experiencing the most diverse personal journeys. Journeys based on questions, not answers. Who am I and in what world do I (want to) live? What do I want to contribute/change? How do I create the organization/project to get it done? How do I bring it into the world?

One of the journeys worth mentioning here is from Guus Wink, former KaosPilots student, one of the co-founders of Knowmads Amsterdam and the founder of Knowmads Hanoi. It took a few nice coincidences involving a challenging trip to Finland, a failed project in Ho Chi Minh City and a random meeting in Sweden for Knowmads Hanoi to be started as a cooperation between Knowmads Business School Amsterdam and the Center for Sustainable Development Studies (CSDS) Vietnam.

In April 2013, after moving to China, Guus received a message from Nguyen Doan Huan from CSDS Hanoi. They exchanged ideas about starting innovative educational programs in Vietnam and Guus decided to move to Hanoi in September 2013. Already in November 2013, Knowmads Hanoi and CSDS welcomed Team 1, a team of 15 students from Vietnam, Bolivia, France and the Netherlands. The ‘pilot program’ turned out to be a great success and enabled Knowmads Hanoi to grow while changing and developing, being a pioneer in innovating education in Vietnam.

After running four great teams in Hanoi, Guus decided it was time to move back to Amsterdam for new challenges. Luckily enough, true Knowmads showed up and accepted the challenge of not letting Knowmads Hanoi close the doors as its importance for Vietnam and its people is tremendous. Looking forward to the future, in June 2016, the facilitators invited the interested alumni on a journey of capacity building, so that Knowmads and its community will stay alive for many years more! We’re now running Team 6 and a series of other programs, workshops, and events.

To be continued!


Knowmads Hanoi