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Kennisland was formally founded by Frans Nauta in July 1998. He met Joeri van den Steenhoven and Bartjan Jansen in early 1999. The three came together to start up Kennisland, with Jetse Sprey as the silent strength behind the scenes. The intention was that Kennisland should become a think tank capable of acting as a flywheel for the development of the knowledge-driven society in the Netherlands.

Their mission is to make society smarter and to empower people to learn and to renew themselves continuously. Kennisland develops solutions to the questions that arise during the transition to a knowledge-driven society, and is part of the vanguard of that process. They learn how this must be done by developing interventions, both on a commission basis and on our own initiative. They share the knowledge accumulated in doing so with as many people as possible, because knowledge only gains value when it is shared.

SIX and Kennisland have a long working relationship, and partnered together for the 2011 event Co-creating democracy: citizen participation in the 21st Century