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A Degrowth Movement in The Netherlands

During the 8th international degrowth conference in The Hague next summer we will pay attention to the potential for a degrowth movement in the Netherlands. In this Key Conversation we will seek to facilitate a space for exchange between initiatives (on food, housing, energy, mobility and money) that are aligned with degrowth principles, to generate momentum for degrowth thinking, practice and political mobilisation in The Netherlands. Here’s a short video message about our aims for this Key Conversation. For more details, please see below.

The emphasis for this Key Conversation is on networking and generating momentum for degrowth thinking and practice in The Netherlands. We plan to approach and invite existing initiatives and networks (local, provincial, national, and in different sectors) that possibly share and (implicitly) pursue degrowth principles, such as redistributing, caring, de-commodifying and commoning. We will seek these potential alliances in different sectors or spheres of work (food, energy, mobility, housing, money, etc.). Initiatives and networks would be invited to (1) discuss if and how they adopt/pursue these principles, in order to generate common ground, and (2) explore shared experiences of the challenges of a transition away from current growth-based social, cultural and economic forces. Our observation is that there is a myriad of relevant initiatives, but that these initiatives are not always able to find each other or work within their respective silos. We think that by opening a space for these initiatives to meet and connect under the umbrella of degrowth, we can foster exchange, learning and collaboration between them to acknowledge their common struggles, consider alternatives solutions and increase their collective power and impact. To contribute to these endeavors, we have come up with a range of possible activities, for which we will collaborate with the Dutch Degrowth platform Ontgroei. Activities could include:

  • Constructing a simple overview of degrowth objectives, principles and policies to help interested initiatives to recognize degrowth in their activities . 
  • Building a database of initiatives and networks in the Netherlands that could potentially participate and/or help organise the conference, as well as in long-term alliances within a wider degrowth movement.
  • A pre-conference session in early 2021 to start discussing degrowth with interested initiatives/networks (per sector).
  • Further recurring and informal networking opportunities throughout the conference rather than one single event, e.g., through ‘Dialogue Walks’ to discuss shared visions and challenges (experiences would be gathered through video/audio fragments), and/or through local/decentral meeting places outside of The Hague.
  • Thematic sessions around different degrowth principles, and then scalar or sectoral break-out sessions . Initiatives would be encouraged to contribute around relevant themes, not just to participate.
  • Create a collaborative map of the initiatives and networks.
  • Keynote, e.g., in the form of a carousel-type event (5 or 6 ‘portraits’ of initiatives in a sequence of short dialogues, facilitated by a moderator).

We see these activities as stepping stones towards building a degrowth movement in the Netherlands. Post-conference follow-ups include:

  • Create a community of practice page on ontgroei.nl, with quotes from the initiatives on “degrowth”, or as signatories to a degrowth manifest.
  • Digitalise and share the collaborative map (see above).
  • And much more… Stay tuned via Ontgroei, the Dutch degrowth platform.

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