Lecture

15 November 2007

Why Dissent is Impossible in Holland

A Russian anarchist, having moved to the Netherlands in the 1990s, initially saw the country as a haven of freedom. Yet he soon thought otherwise, experiencing as he did that his efforts at non-conformity were channelled in such a way as to take all radicality out of them. This example is illustrative of a wider point: though in some respects tolerant of deviant behavior, the Dutch do not have a word for “dissent,” and have few traditions of sustained opposition to state and society. In his keynote address, James Kennedy uncovers the historical reasons for this and looks in particular at what citizenship has—and has not—meant over the years. The relative absence of dissent in Dutch public life, in particular in respect to immigration and religious expression, is discussed in the context of Kennedy’s understanding of the notion of “active citizenship.” According to Kennedy, from the beginning of the 1960s till the mid-1980s, the Netherlands enjoyed the status of a gidsland—a leading nation, exemplary in terms of how its public life was based upon an activist model of citizenship. Yet, having lost its status, today the country struggles to come to terms with how to define a “good citizen” (the worrying prevalence of the refrain “Can Muslims be good, democratic citizens?” is but one example ) or even how and where to actually carry on the public debate about living together. Regarding the need for a “site” for public debate on these issues and for dissent from the prevailing consensus, can art or science provide society with such space?

In collaboration with

Suggestions from the archive

BAK, basis voor

21 June 2019, 20.00-23.00

Yallah Sabaya

BAK, basis voor Yallah Sabaya

Yallah Sabaya (“Come, ladies! Enjoy yourselves!” in Arabic) is a special evening just for women, an evening where dance and music connect women from around the world. All women, from every country or culture, are welcome to meet, chat, and dance. Yallah Sabaya is organized by Welkom in Utrecht, De Voorkamer, and BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht.

BAK, basis voor...

2 March 2019, 14.00-17.00

Utrecht for Her: Voices of New Women

BAK, basis voor New Women Connectors

New Women Connectors and BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht present the gathering Utrecht for Her: Voices of New Women. Utrecht for Her: Voices of New Women gathers refugee and migrant women from all backgrounds to learn about and share challenges that women newcomers experience, and how to veer these challenges toward solutions for policy and community forums to act upon effectively.

Gathering

12 April 2019, 14.30-17.00

Let’s Mobilize for a Europe We Want: Voices of New Women

BAK, basis voor New Women Connectors

New Women Connectors and BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht present the gathering Let’s Mobilize for a Europe We Want: Voices of New Women. The gathering is part of a series BAK, basis voor… in which BAK joins forces with other organizations in addressing shared urgencies and developing propositions for “being together otherwise”.

18 September–22 December 2019

Training Program Trainings for the Not-Yet

Trainings for the Not-Yet, a project by BAK, basis voor actuele kunst and artist Jeanne van Heeswijk in collaboration with many others, consists of an exhibition as a series of “community learnings,” performative workshops, artworks, learning objects, and conversations. The training program of the project encompasses community-to-community trainings, with artists, organizers, activists, dancers, cooks, and more, that take place every week during the project.