Thema 2018

Theme 2023

What is it that rules when inequality divides?

The distance between the people and the rulers has never been this large. The gap between the ones in power and the powerless seems to be expanding, and the feeling of powerlessness is creeping up on many of us. Even though power is an abstract concept, we are all aware of its existence. What is power, who or what masters it and how do we deal with it?

Power exists in all the different aspects of our society: science, media, money, religion and physical power. Every form of power can influence your actions, whether you are aware of it or not. Science decides whether it is necessary and mandatory to wear a facemask or that our car is too polluting. Algorithms decide for us what we get to see or read. It is only possible to become president of the United States when you own money and we would think twice before starting an argument with a boxing champion.

Have we lost the ability to make decisions for ourselves? We all realize that there are some things we do not have control over and we find it hard to give our control away to a superior. Even the people that live in freedom or in a free state are still not completely free. Power is a concept that everyone has to deal with and power structures exist in every relationship. Between family, friends, colleagues, it is everywhere around us.

The feeling of powerlessness is creeping up on us: power structures on the geopolitical level are slowly but surely shifting, global warming is an issue that leaves the individual powerless and we feel less heard by the ones in power. When power falls into the wrong hands, dangers such as the misuse of power, intimidation and repression may appear. Who can counterbalance the power? Why does one individual stand above the other? Are the existing power structures the underlying reason for the inequality in our society?

But is power in its essence always something bad? In our society, a society in which we cherish our freedom the most, we find it hard to accept that others make decisions for us. More than ever, governments need to make impactful decisions that affect their citizens in order to fight the crises of our time. This in combination with the fact that people are not willing to give up any more of their freedom makes this job even more challenging. There is something unethical about the word ‘power’. It sounds barbaric and it does not seem to fit in our contemporary cultivated society. But power can also be used in the right and positive way: it can be used to make an impact or make a difference. In other words: when is it better to give up your power instead of seeking to claim it? Is the contemporary balance of power outdated, or does it need to be revised in order to create a fairer, more sustainable and more inclusive society?

Do we stay in this ongoing conflict between people and power or are we willing to combine our powers to tackle the problems of our time?

At the 44th Veerstichting symposium we are closing the gap between attendees from different generations. Under the guidance of inspirational speakers, astonishing performances and passionate participants, the 15th and 16th of June 2023 we will be immersed in the world of power.

wie is hier verantwoordelijk


Bram Leferink op Reinink - Chairman
Judith Capel - Treasurer
Fien Lurvink - Creative Director
Ewout van Waasbergen - Participant Recruitment for Shapers
Julia Davids - Participant Recruitment for Students
Eeke van Onna - Marketing & Logistics

Masters of Ceremonies

Wouter Cox
Stephany Kerremans


Van Lanschot Kempen


Universiteit Leiden



Liberty Global





Surlinio Social Media

Louwman Group






 +31(0)71 512 35 45