Questioning the European Intellectual Elite

European citizens seem to increasingly lose confidence in the EU. The division between the elite and the working class can no longer be ignored. What responsibility do young European writers, journalists, artists and other thinkers have?

Questioning the European Intellectual Elite

There is a general sentiment that the European elite has failed the EU. European citizens seem to increasingly lose confidence in the EU, the division between the elite and the working class can no longer be ignored. A new generation of intellectuals must decide what role and responsibilities they want to take on. Should they try to restore the faith in Europe, like their predecessors tried to legitimate this supranational unification, or should they reconsider their goal or tactics?

At this programme a group of young German and Dutch intellectuals comes together to think about the task of the new intellectual generation for the future of Europe. What responsibility do European writers, journalists, artists and other thinkers have? With Tamar de Waal, Simon StraussBastiaan RijpkemaTom Müller, Laurens Dassen and Kiza Magendane.

About the speakers

Simon Strauss (1988) is a German journalist, historian and author. He studied classical studies and history in Basel and from 2012 till 2016 pursued his PhD at the Humboldt-Universität in Berlin. In 2017 he released his debut novel Sieben Nächte (2017) to much critical acclaim. The German newspaper Tagesspiegel hailed him as one the greatest talents of his generation. He is also part of the Arbeit an Europa initiative.

Bastiaan Rijpkema (1987) is a Dutch legal philosopher, author and a university lecturer at Leiden University. He (co-)wrote several publications on law and democracy. He writes for NRC Handelsblad and Trouw.

Tamar de Waal (1988) is a Dutch legal philosopher and university lecturer at the UvA Amsterdam Law School. She studied Philosophy and Law. She is chair of Foundation Civic. Her research focuses on migration, integration requirements and democratic citizenship, among other things.

Kiza Magendane (1992) is an Amsterdam-based writer and policy entrepreneur with Congolese roots. His work focuses on migration, politics, identity and the relationship between Africa and the world. He is a columnist for De Kanttekening and a regular contributor to De Groene Amsterdammer and NRC. He is working on his first book on what it means to be Dutch.

Tom Müller (1982) is a German publicist and author. He studied Romance studies and German language and culture. He founded the Lauthals podium in Berlin for young musicians, authors and illustrators. He is director of publishing house Tropen in Berlin. This Fall his debutnovel Die jügsten Tage will appear.

Laurens Dassen is the President of Volt Nederland, part of the European movement ‘Volt Europa’. He joined Volt in Februari 2018, and co-founded the Dutch team. Before he worked in the financial sector in different roles in Amsterdam and Dubai. Laurens holds an MSc in Business Administration from the Radboud University Nijmegen.


This is a co-production between De Balie and Goethe-Institut. The Goethe-Institut is organizing an international cultural symposium in Weimar from 19 to 21 June 2019 under the title Recalculating the Route. Find more information here:


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Tamar de WaalLegal philosopher, lecturer and researcher
Simon StraussAuthor, historic and journalist
Bastiaan RijpkemaLegal philosopher, lecturer and author
Kiza MagendaneWriter and entrepreneur
Tom MüllerPublicist and author
Laurens DassenPresident Volt Netherlands