Friday 3 March: event “Free thought & free speech in Dutch higher education”

Are free minds still welcome and nurtured in the Dutch higher education system? Or are these institutions increasingly complicit to a narrowing of the mind, maybe even becoming centers of propaganda and censorship? How are ‘woke culture’ and ‘cancel culture’ threatening the ideals of a radically open debate? Is there enough space for political diversity and ideological pluralism?

Can dominant narratives of for example gender, multiculturalism, religion, vaccination, health, geopolitics, and climate change still be freely and openly challenged? How are terms like “far-right extremism” , “discrimination”, “transgressive behavior”, “fake news”, “science denial” and “conspiracy theories” used to stigmatize and eliminate alternative but valid knowledge positions? How can we combine radical academic freedom with a sense of responsibility for truthfulness and values like respect, inclusion and social safety?

We will explore these questions together during my upcoming event on free thought and free speech, on Friday 3 March in Amsterdam, co-organized with the Great Citizens Institute.

Free Thought & Free Speech In Dutch Higher Education
Event Details

Date & Time: Friday 3 March 2023, 15:00 – 18:00
Location: City center of Amsterdam, details will be communicated by e-mail
For: Everyone involved with higher education
Language: English
Registration: send an e-mail to
Costs: Free

Since my coming out as whistleblower of woke extremism at the social sciences departments of the University of Amsterdam, I have been scapegoated and ridiculed, but I have also received massive support.

A significant portion of the letters of support were sent by colleagues from higher education institutions (universiteiten & hogescholen) from all over The Netherlands. They did not only send support, but also expressed their concerns about the state of free speech and free thinking in the Dutch higher education system.

On Friday 3 March, I want to bring these people together. If you teach and/or do research at one of the higher education institutions of the Netherlands, or are in any other way involved with Dutch higher education, you are more than welcome to join.

After a short introduction by myself and prof. Michaéla Schippers (Erasmus University Rotterdam & the Great Citizens Institute), we will have an exchange with all the participants in two sociocratic rounds. In the first round, we will exchange what our everyday experiences are with free speech and free thought in our work. In the second round, we will exchange our analyses about the underlying mechanisms, and what can be done to open up our institutions and promote a “higher education of the free mind”.

Please see the event details in the info box. The event is free, but please send an e-mail to register. I hope to see you on Friday 3 March, it will be an interesting and relaxed event!

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