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Amsterdam-Berlin - Felix Meritis joins The Festival train

By Florian Mueck • Dec 22nd, 2009 • Category: European Thinkers, The Festival Embassy, Top News

We are thrilled to announce that Felix Meritis, an independent European centre for art, culture and science and a national and international meeting place in Amsterdam, has joined The Festival train as a Friend.

Just like us the people behind Felix Meritis believe in (the need for) cultural diversity in Europe as an engine of progress and social cohesion. That is why they conduct a public European cultural dialogue with individuals in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and further afield and take part in national and international cultural networks.

The motto of Felix Meritis is Connecting Cultures. Felix Meritis has initiated many international projects, such as Gulliver, Gulliver Connect, The People Network, Essay International, The Amsterdam-Maastricht Summer University and the Network of Centres for European Culture and Debate (NCECD).

Felix Meritis cooperates with such partners as The Caucasus Foundation (Tbilisi), Cultural Front (Beograd), Kuhnya (Novosibirsk), KulturKontakt (Vienna), Red House (Sofia) and the Berlin Conference for European Cultural Policy (through A Soul for Europe), European House for Cultures (Brussels), SICA, the Month of Philosophy Foundation, and the Globalisation Lecture Foundation. In this way Felix Meritis ensures that the Dutch cultural and artistic sector is visible all over Europe.

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We had the chance to talk to Linda Bouws, the director of Felix Meritis:

The Festival // Linda, great talking to you… Your motto is Connecting Cultures. We want to connect people from all over Europe. What are your key lessons learned in your field? Can we learn from you?

Linda Bouws // Connecting people by bringing them together is one thing, to connect cultures through connecting people is another. The key-word here is continuity. To keep people involved needs a permanent informal but interactive and underproductive approach that is willing to deal with inconveniences, complexity and rather diverse opinions on serious matters. This costs time, money and the sometimes defending of not so popular standpoints.

The Festival // Tell us about it… :) You cooperate with the initiative “A Soul for Europe” where it says, “The cultural soul of Europe is becoming increasingly more important to bring Europeans together.” We couldn’t agree more. Can you give some concrete examples of bringing Europeans together through culture?

Linda Bouws // The expanding list of activities of the A Soul for Europe initiative organised by locals of all kinds of backgrounds and disciplines, among them a lot of long-time participants of the Felix Meritis People Network is the proof of the pudding. Felix Meritis itself acts as supporter and facilitator of these widening practices of connecting cultures in a very practical definition. See the list of recent gatherings and other activities and publications on our website.

Besides that the growing amount of sister, daughter and FMF-alike initiatives elsewhere in Europe do offer “connecting-culture” programmes on a daily basis, like we do in Amsterdam and incidentally abroad, from New York to Istanbul; from Berlin to Belgrade. These partner initiatives now can be discovered in Sofia, Belgrade, Novosibirsk, Tbilisi, Oporto and Brussels.

The Festival // What means Europe to you in general?

Linda Bouws // The only geographical area in the world where citizens of 27 nationalities are capable of living together and enjoying the same human, cultural and social rights guaranteed by European institutions and the implementation of European decisions within the national regulations.

The Festival // In order to move so many people from all over Europe to Berlin in July 2012, we need local supporters and ambassadors in the different countries and regions. Are there Dutch personalities from the cultural scene you could think of?

Linda Bouws // Aren’t you looking for European personalities and not so much local heroes? My experience is that only a person to person contact will lead to a promising continuity of the contact, see my first answer.  But if you need help - an Amsterdamer who can act like a European - let me know…

The Festival // Last question. Will you be there in Berlin in July 2012?

Linda Bouws // After having looked into the programme and my agenda, I really hope so!

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Contact

Felix Meritis
Keizersgracht 324
NL-1016 EZ Amsterdam
tel. +31 (0)20 626 23 21
fax +31 (0)20 624 93 68
e-mail felix@felix.meritis.nl

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Florian Mueck is European, initiator and co-founder of The Festival: "Passion for Europe maybe does not exist in the media. But it does exist in many hearts of many people."
Email this author | All posts by Florian Mueck

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