The Fall of the Wall mini-festival: 9-10 November

In our minds, dictatorships exist in the past or faraway. Still, only two generations ago a huge part of Europeans was unfree. On November 9, exactly 30 years ago, the Berlin wall was torn down. To commemorate the past and celebrate freedom De Balie organizes this mini Fall of the Wall festival to discuss how it feels to live in a dictatorship and to take a closer look at young European democracies.

The dismantling of the wall marked the end of the Iron Curtain and dictatorial regimes in Eastern and Central Europe. The fall of the fortified concrete barrier sparked a moment of hope and optimism: freedom, equality and not to forget prosperity for everyone within reach. For a split second, it was even presented as the end of history.

Today this hard-fought democratic life is under pressure in many places. The breakdown of the rule of law in Poland and Hungary is progressing rapidly, but also in the West there is cause for alarm. The rise of the extreme right, a huge distrust of politicians and an answer on the increased nationalism in Europe seems anything but obvious. And what about Trump’s Amerika and Boris Johnson’s United Kingdom?

It is about time to define a clear strategy: how to survive a dictatorship/democracy? On November 9 we will commemorate the fall of the Berlin wall and we will celebrate freedom during the Tear Down This Wall party. On November 10 there is room to shake off the hangover with a recovery brunch and reflection on today’s democracy. How do we survive democracy? Or better said: how does democracy survive us?

November 9 – How to survive a dictatorship?
At the eve of the end of the Iron Curtain 30 years ago, we explore the world of recent European dictatorships. We discuss how it feels to live in a dictatorship, and what important survival strategies are. Is it that unlikely as we think that dictatorship will have a comeback in Europe?After the commemoration of the fall of the Berlin wall it is time to break the wall during the Tear Down This Wall party.

16.00 – 01.00 Listen to podcasts & watch video’s throughout the whole building
20.00 – 21.30 How to survive a dictatorship?
21.30 – 01.00 ‘Tear down this Wall’ party in our foyer with DJ

November 10 – How to survive a democracy?
This morning we will discuss how things stand in young European democracies. Can we explain current democratic struggles in Poland, Hungary and Romania, and the success of the AfD political party in Germany trough this historical frame? Why did democracy became a concept for many to distrust?

10.00 – 17.00 Exhibition space at foyer second floor
11.00 – 12.30 Recovery brunch: How to survive a democracy?