Amsterdam 2016

Theme: The paradox of freedom – how can we sustain Europe’s freedoms in the face of multiple threats? 

Amsterdam, ’the most liberal city in the world’ (Russell Shorto), welcomed Jews from Iberia, the Pilgrim Fathers and early Baptists from England, Hugenots and Wallonians from France and Belgium, philosophers and educators like Descartes and Comenius, and refugees today from around the world. In this historic city of refuge, we take a look at threats to Europe’s freedoms today.

Today Europe is facing major challenges: financial, political, social and spiritual. The influx of refugees has revealed ‘true’ values of many Europeans.

With key topics: • Refugees  • Security and terrorism • Unfreedom of the free market • Reframing the EU …

Among the numerous speakers and contributors were:

Dr Jonathan Chaplin (Cambridge), Professor Prabhu Guptara (Zurich), Ds Arjan Plaisier (secretary PKN), Professor Dr AntonGiulio de’Robertis (Bari), Lorcan Price (Dublin), Dr Richard Turnbull (Oxford), Professor Dr Frans Alting von Geusau (Tilburg), Ds Wim Rietkerk (Utrecht) …

A5 - poster Amsterdam The 2016 State of Europe Forum

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 20.05.09

Celebration of Freedom programme (Sunday 15.30-17.15), tracing the roots of Amsterdam’s DNA of freedom to a surprising source.


Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 20.05.20Forum programme (Sunday 19.30 through to Monday 18.30) offering three plenaries and a range of ten seminar topics, urgent issues facing Europeans today.

Location: The historic Zuiderkerk in central Amsterdam is easily accessible via the Metro (one stop from central Station, Nieuwmarkt, exit Nieuwe Hoogstraat). See here for map.

Freedom is one of the EU’s stated values. But what does it mean? And how much do we believe in it? Freedom for all, or only freedom for ourselves? It’s time to examine the paradoxical nature of freedom which requires boundaries and sacrifice to sustain.

As in the previous years, this forum convened politicians, church leaders, civic leaders, educators, academics, media specialists, activists, and all concerned with the future of Europe.

Held annually around Europe Day, May 9, in the capital of the country currently holding the presidency of the EU, the forum is pan-European, trans-confessional and multi-disciplinary. It aims to encourage responsible participation towards shaping tomorrow’s Europe in line with Robert Schuman’s vision for a ‘community of peoples deeply rooted in basic Christian values’.