The danger of consensus

In Society
Wednesday, 24 September 2008 00:00

Philosopher makes a case for a pluriform society

If it were up to him, the ‘living together, working together’ slogan of the current Balkenende Cabinet would be scrapped. ‘Why should we suddenly do everything together in the Netherlands? In what kind of society will this result?’ Sjaak Koenis objects to the populism of politicians such as Wilders and Verdonk, who approach debates with a ‘modern versus backward’ style. It reminds him of the 19th century rather than the 21st century. And what does the political party Trots op Nederland (‘Proud of the Netherlands’) really try to convey? Koenis warns for the danger of consensus.


A community adrift

Tuesday, 20 May 2008 00:00

The scientific side of online games

Today’s most popular online computer game is World of Warcraft, with ten million players worldwide. The player groups, forming communities, closely resemble the real world: people also work together to be successful and make or break friendships. Each year, computer games bring in more money than does Hollywood. These and other aspects make the online gaming phenomenon an interesting avenue for scientific research.


What is (good) art?

In Culture
Wednesday, 05 March 2008 00:00

Too many subsidies lead to mediocrity and tedium

Giving a master class on subsidised art (referred to as ‘state art’ by some) at TEFAF, the world’s largest and most commercial art fair – where there probably isn’t a single piece of euro-subsidised art to admire – might seem highly inappropriate. Or is it? Joop de Jong smiles. “That makes the discussion all the more interesting,” says the arts and heritage senior lecturer from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. “I hope there will be artists as well as art dealers and wealthy buyers amongst the visitors. The more who disagree, the better. Art and art subsidies are pre-eminently suited to argument.”


Thief becomes owner

In Culture
Monday, 03 March 2008 00:00

Art crooks would do best to take their chances in the Netherlands

Believe it or not: the thief who steals Rembrandt’s Night Watch today will be its rightful owner in thirty years. And this period is even shorter for paintings not in a public collection or registered as national cultural heritage. If Van Gogh’s Child with Orange (estimated value: €30 million) were stolen from its TEFAF stand, the thief would have to wait only twenty years.


Maastricht in bits and bytes

In Culture
Wednesday, 14 November 2007 00:00

New policy on heritage being developed for Maastricht

A city is more than just a collection of bricks. It is also the decor of a tremendous history. "But first and foremost, a city is the people who live there and give that city meaning", argues Pieter Calje. With infectious enthusiasm, he describes the 'the cultural biography of Maastricht' project, in which citizens and experts are joining forces to write the history of the city. History comes together in a virtual city, and we can only hazard a guess at the consequences for the future.


Can we stop evolution?

In Culture
Monday, 30 July 2007 00:00

Future scenarios for climate change and the protection of biodiversity

Ever since Al Gore put the changing climate on the map with his film ‘An inconvenient truth’, the climate has been “hot” news. Sustainability has developed into a hype, whereas the term ‘sustainable’ stands particularly for the preservation of ecosystems and species that still exist. But will this still be the case in 50 years? Or will we have accepted that the climate is simply changing and that you cannot stop evolution? Carijn Beumer hopes to have an answer to these and other questions in several years from now.


Maaike Lauwaert played with Lego when she was a child, but children these days spend a lot of their time playing with computers. How does a computer game compare with a doll’s house?
 

A small country with big ambitions

In Culture
Tuesday, 05 September 2006 00:00

The role of the Netherlands on the scientific global stage during the first half of the 20th century

“Leave government to the scientists; they’re the real experts.” If you think this is a slogan promoting a new political party, you would be mistaken. During the first half of the twentieth century, Dutch scientists saw a bright future for themselves in the political arena. And politics was only one of the areas for which they had ambitious plans and ideals for securing a better, more peaceful society.


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