Debate 11/2:
Does it make Sense to Love Europe?

Debate with André Wilkens from the European Cultural Foundation

Who is André Wilkens?

 “I am a child of Europe, and like many of us, I have my very own personal European history. I have experienced Europe, have travelled it extensively. There were problems and crises, there were detours and flaws: such is life! […] Yet, this Europe, imperfect as it is, is the best thing we have built in the last centuries.”


Andre Wilkens works on European and international affairs. He grew up in East Berlin, and after the collapse of the Berlin wall lived in Brussels, London, Turin and Geneva. He worked for the EU the UN and other foundations. He is one of the founding members of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and also co-foundedDie Offene Gesellschaftin Berlin, which aims at building a vibrant open society. Currently, Andre Wilkens is the director of the European Cultural Foundation in Amsterdam. 


“The Discrete Charm of Bureaucracy: Good News from Europe” (2017)

We have a lot to thank Europe for: liberty, positive visions of utopia, border-free travel. André Wilkens tells its stories: stories about Europe, about people in Europe and about himself. Not abstract ideas, but personal experiences. About football, music, architecture and much more. Because Europe needs a new narrative, one which is better, more exciting, more modern, more personal, one which includes both the good and the bad, the highs and the lows. With all the ingredients that make a good story.  “Right now, we need to understand what a miracle we have achieved with Europe. Only those who know its history can shape the future with confidence.” “I wanted to write an optimistic story about Europe. And right now, as Europe seems to be reaching its limits or even threatens to collapse, an optimistic story seems necessary, important, relevant.”


European Cultural Foundation

The ECF is an independent, impact driven organization with more than 60 years of experience based in Amsterdam. They catalyse, connect and communicate civil society initiatives in arts and culture, to work together for an open, democratic and inclusive Europe.