“Let’s Act for Democracy!” say 220 participants and more than 7700 visitors from across Europe

Last weekend, Amsterdam was all about European art and culture. For the second edition of the Forum on European Culture, De Balie and DutchCulture organised theatre and dance performances, lectures and debates, a spoken beat night and a genuine European cultural laboratory at more than 10 venues throughout the city. With more than 220 artists and thinkers from more than 30 countries, the conclusion was clear: Culture is the only way to go forward. It’s time to Act for Democracy!

Forum on European Culture 2018 in figures:
• More than 51 programmes with 220 international participants
• The 4-day festival drew more than 7700 visitors, which surpassed all expectations. To compare: in 2016 the Forum drew 3700 visitors.
• We received guests from more than 30 countries around the globe: from the United Arab Emirates to the US, fromIreland to Spain, from Mexico to Palestine, from the Netherlands to Belarus.
• Media from all over the world reported on the festival: of the 146 publications devoted to the event, 64 appeared in international media and 82 in domestic media. The festival was attended by 14 international and 38 domestic journalists.
• European art and culture were celebrated at 10 venues throughout the city of Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum, Concertgebouw, De Balie, Rijksakademie, Theater Bellevue, Frascati, Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam, Melkwegand not to forget the NDSM ferry and metro line 53.
• Visitors had a choice of exhibitions during the festival: The European International at the Rijksakademie,Santiago Sierra’s Political Prisoners in Spain in the streets of Amsterdam, and the What if? pop-up museum in the upper foyer of De Balie.
• 30 programmes were streamed live online. More than 20,000 people viewed these livestreams.

 An impression of what participants said:
Art and culture do not have an expiry date. Europe needs the productive opposition of the arts” – German writerSimon Strauss at Wir Schaffen Das

If we want an open world, but we cannot teach how to live in it, people keep looking for walls” – Italian writerAlessandro Baricco during the closing programme

My work is inspired by the greatest European artists like Auguste Rodin, Piet Mondriaan and Eric Fischl”  – Russian photographer Sergey Ponomarev – winner of the World Press Photo & Pulitzer Prize – during Russia, a part of Europe or apart from Europe?

“What makes a country more than an agreement about a line drawn on the ground?” – spoken word artist Jeannine Valeriano during Spoken Beat Night

The European way of life and culture should be celebrated and defended” – Forum curators Yoeri Albrecht (De Balie) and Cees de Graaff (DutchCulture) in newspaper Het Parool

In my parish I meet more ‘others’ than anywhere else: more Poles, migrants and diverse people, than at the Concertgebouw or over coffee at a café” – Dutch writer Vonne van der Meer during Faith in Europe: Is Europe losing its soul?

“When people ask me where I’m from I say I’m European. That’s my home. That’s my identity.” – German-Romanian musician Shantel during Musical Game Changers

New York Times about FOEC

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Were you not able to attend Forum on European Culture 2018 or would you like to rewatch a programme. Click here for the recordings.

About the Forum on European Culture
Last weekend saw the second edition of the Forum on European Culture: ‘Act for Democracy!’, jointly organised by De Balie and DutchCulture. At a crucial juncture in European history, cultural institutions in Amsterdam joined forces to celebrate European culture. To give an impression of the contributors: artists Santiago Sierra, Natalia Kaliada, Hans Kesting, Ivo van Hove, Lars Eidinger, Wolfgang Tillmans and Rem Koolhaas took to the barricades. Critical thinkers voiced their views, such as Ulrike Guérot, Srecko Horvat, Flavia Kleiner and Arnon Grunberg. There were performances by the incomparable singer WENDE, the Nederlands Kamerkoor and Balkan Beats pioneer Shantel.Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science Ingrid van Engelshoven made her acting debut on stage; and many more inspiring thinkers and makers came together for this four-day festival on Europe and its future. Visit the website for more information.

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