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The evolution of society through Sustainocracy displayed at city hall Eindhoven during Dutch Design Week 2016

It may seem a paradox to show an emerging, new governance and societal interaction model in the midst of the 160 year old party political democratic system of the city hall of Eindhoven. But that is what evolution is all about. The symbolism of progress, even if the new replaces the old, simply because it is better suited to address the challenges of our era, is worth contemplating with joy and sense of opportunity and faith. Just look at the pictures below. On the wall we see the portraits of all mayors of the city of Eindhoven since 1850. They look over the exposition as a reflective token of the evolution of time, from the military uniforms of a non-disputable hierarchy, up to the new era, on a new wall, of the emerging participation society…..

Our demonstration was simple. A table at the center of the exposition remained empty, symbolizing the challenge of dealing with reality without prejudism, hierarchies, stacks of money or power positions. We place the core human and natural values on this table as defined in our new democracy referred to as Sustainocracy. Together with the four pillars of any society (government, citizens, scientific knowledge and innovative entrepreneurship) we look at our reality from a core values perspective and define our priorities for changes together. Visitors could experience such values driven interaction by simulating it using their own local priorities and issues of great concern.

Around the table, in the hall we then show some of the spin-offs of such innovative drive, each changing our society and its functioning while inspiring the world through its cocreative progession and measureable results. This was the layout of the central table and the surrounding spin offs.


The city council room was left aside as a symbol of the past in which party politics and economic priorities took our attention away from our core values. A new center of debat had emerged, the sustainocratic, multidisciplinary table of shared responsibilities…..

During the 9 days of exposure we received over 1000 visitors from our own citizen’s collective and from many other local and international communities. These visitors from across the world joined our sustainocratic table and got inspired to take the ideas home with them. We organized a civilian participation debat in the council’s room. This also evolved with international presence (Spain, Turkey and Afganistan). Six points of attention were joinedly defined and drawn up as a manifest to our community level 4 leadership (awareness driven eco-system) to enhance our progress even further:

  • Acknowlegde and value social entrepreneurship,
  • Find ways to make the huge impact social entrepreneurship indexed and measureable,
  • Engage citizens to the core values at city neighborhood level
  • Dare to be ambitious when dealing with the core values. The silent majority needs to be considered in the progressive plans, not just the strongly heared conservative voices,
  • Involve the younger generations through participative learning processes,
  • Exchange inspiration, experiences and best practice among the other communities in the world which too are engaged in this evolutionary challenge…..

Many visitors reacted both suprised and committed: “It exists, you are showing it here in Eindhoven, so now we want this too!”

Dutch Design Week 2017 goes global. Contact me by reacting to this blog if you want to engage with Sustainocratic progress and join this week in october 2017 with innovative initiatives, seminar or congress participation, etc.

You cannot buy responsibility


Van Gogh inspires

We all know Vincent van Gogh from his extremely valuable paintings. However,┬áthe way the human being Vincent inspires people with his character, world changing views and talent to perceive and describe his surroundings, is less know. That’s why a group of passionate entrepreneurs came together this day to highlight this element in particular while suggesting a relationship with the unique characteristics of the mentality and landscapes in the Dutch province of Brabant. Van Gogh inspires because he himself was inspired which can still be recognized from the creativity, paintings and unique style of Vincent.

Start in Eindhoven
We gathered in the old characteristic Park Hotel of Eindhoven.┬áDuring the lunch, offered by the new owner of the hotel, organizer Jan Karel Felderhof explained the “Enjoy Van Gogh” program and objectives. We then spend some time to get to know each other in the group as well as the individual motivation to participate.

It was a lovely sunny summer’s day. Park hotel had organised a light lunch after which we would go by bike to the “Van Gogh village” Nuenen. Van Gogh had only lived there 2 years but they were significant for many of his paintings, conflictive relationships and worldview development. The 10 km bicycle ride took us through areas of Eindhoven and Nuenen which one would normally not see when any other means of transportation is used. This made the tour already a pleasant exercize.

At the Vincenter in Nuenen we were received to get some insight in the life of Van Gogh, listen to some real, recorded testimonials of people who actually had met him personally, and see an exposition of his time. We then walked to see the actual places with a guide. She compared visual landmarks with the Van Gogh paintings, showing how Vincent interpreted what he saw and practiced techniques on canvas. We learned things about the person, his personality, his perseverence and struggles with dogma’s of a protestant elite family and his free and often troubled mind. The many letters he wrote to his brother Theo are a well documented remainder of the way he interpreted and analysed himself and his relationships or work.

Despite his family struggles Vincent described his relationship with Brabant as “the place where your dreams appear close to reality”. It was this sentence among others that linked his mentality to the one we also felt ourselves. The land in which we live and where we do our own creative work, where Philips once found fertile grounds to grow, is worth viewing to try to explain the typical value driven mentality, the community building around quality of life and powerful innovative entrepreneurship of our region.

The group consists of entrepreneurs, visionairs and executives in the field of paradigm shifts, hospitality, export, art, productivity and healthcare. Each with his/her own leadership mentality, determination and fully aware of the challenges we face as a species. In essence we could sense to be little Van Gogh ‘s in our own talented way. What would the sum of this unique group bring and what can we bring to the world.

Gradually this became the topic of our conversation as we cycled back to Eindhoven with a stop at the 11th century watermill to enjoy a Vincent beer brewed by one of the participants.

Vincent beer

Vincent beer


Enjoying the afternoon stop at the watermill

We then continued our return to Eindhoven with a small detour to get a feel of the Van Gogh bicycle path, an ingeneous night time experience of light reflection based on one of the paintings of Van Gogh.

Bicycle path resembing the milky way of one of the paintings of Van Gogh

We then continued to the center of Eindhoven for our evening meal en open dialogue at Mr. Frits (the way the general public referred to Frits Philips, former president of Philips after the founders Anton and Gerard) restaurant.

Excellent dinner

Excellent dinner

We were received with an excellent three course meal during which we had ample time to share ideas, insights, ideology and feelings about Vincent, the day, our group of beautiful people and what we could do together in cocreation.

Great group of local entrepreneurs ready to make a difference like Van Gogh did.

Great group of local entrepreneurs ready to make a difference like Van Gogh did.

It was an excellent day. We don’t know yet what will come out of it all other than all kinds of positive intensions to show the people some of our history, the way we live and take commitment around issues that generate positive vibes. Vicent van Gogh was the inspirer who opened our eyes to how inspiring we and our region is and worth showing to the world.