31 may - 4 june 2023

Peter Frankopan: Opening Forum on European Culture

Thu 1 June | 17:00 - 18:30 | De Balie | Grote Zaal
Kees Foekema
Programme editor

“The environment is the very stage on which our existence plays out, shaping everything we do, who we are, where and how we live … and if the theatre closes or collapses, that marks the end for us all.” – Peter Frankopan, The Earth Transformed (2023)

Peter Frankopan, author of the international best-seller The Silk Roads (2015) will open the fourth edition of the Forum on European Culture.

In his highly anticipated new book The Earth Transformed (2023) Frankopan revolutionizes how environments have shaped the development – and demise – of civilizations over time. Our desire to centralize the agricultural surplus is at the root of the bureaucratic state; our growing demands for harvest have resulted in an increase in the shipment of enslaved people.

This often neglected climate-geopolitical relationship will also shape our shared future. During the opening of the Forum, Frankopan will deliver a keynote address on this year’s central theme ‘A Culture of Democracy’. Europe faces a crossroads. Do we decide on a future defined by imperialism and destructive exploitation or a future defined by democracy and ecological restoration?

Claudy Jongstra’s monumental artwork Guernica de la Ecología, with the exact same dimensions as Picasso’s famous war painting, will be the background and conversation piece of this opening programme. In her work, the internationally renowned artist and eco-activist uses natural materials such as wool as a warning against climate change and a plea for biodiversity.




an artwork made of wool with the exact same measures as Picasso’s Guernica, will be the backdrop for this urgent conversation.


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