A two level game: The Hague talks outside and inside the Dome

by | 13. April 2019

Den Haag| On 13 April 2019 we held our talks at our second-to last stop in the Netherlands, at the Leyweg shopping centre in The Hague. Not only was the weather exciting, also our Dome Talks came in a slightly different form.

In The Hague, the European Public Sphere celebrated the 8th stop of its BeNeLux tour. We had just arrived from Amsterdam the evening before and it already went on the next day. Fortunately, we had a great helper again: Martin, who came from Culemborg and was on time.

 In The Hague, our dome was not at the centre of attention – the city centre – instead, we placed ourselves on the V&D square of the shopping centre Leyweg. After our request a few months ago, the shopping centre was one of the first to register back and wanted to become part of the Sphere community. In general, Leyweg is one of the meeting points of the colourful neighbourhood. No wonder: from Hema to cafés and many other shops, whatever the heart could want, you can find it there.

In The Hague, the construction went like clockwork. The low temperatures probably spurred us on. Despite that, the first dome talk came faster than expected. In front of the running camera two participants exchanged intensively about peace and justice in the EU. One of them had discovered the European Public Sphere in an event calendar and wanted to shoot a short film about it for one of his university projects. It’s nice so see how awareness and excitement about our initiative spread!

The highlight of the day in The Hague occurred after a short lunch break. As the first one being back on site and just about to set up the equipment, an informal conversation between a passer-by and myself started. 

“But Europe has to strive for a unity that is also based on the people and not solely on the economy.”

Participant under the dome

European Public Sphere

Lively discussions outside the dome in The Hague

She didn’t want to enter the dome, as she was dressed inappropriately for a longer stay outside, but at the same time there was a lot to discuss.

Raalph, one of the participants of the previous day, also suddenly appeared in The Hague. He joined only for the second dome talk on the topic of migration and integration and quickly got into the conversation. As the the talk continued and evolved, I finally asked if I could record everything.

The Hague was also the stop where we finally took some chairs out of the dome and arranged them around the two speakers. And then there it was, the first dome talk outside the Europe Dome. Little by little, more participants joined.  

They spoke for almost 2 hours – then the memory card was full and the camera battery empty. Here and there milk had to be bought in the supermarket, but everyone kept coming back to our vivid discussion. Even the rain could not stop them, so we moved the conversation under the nearest roof.  


Video of our 5 stops in the Netherlands

The Dome Talk in The Hague was one of the most diverse of our tour so far: integration, democracy, citizen consultations, party work, environment, communication between citizens and political representatives… Many thanks to all participants and to Raalph for the spontaneous and brilliant moderation!  

Also in The Hague, the second round of about 10 participants made it possible to get to know each other in detail and gave everyone the chance to have their say. Nevertheless, it was a challenge to get people under the dome. Therefore, we continue to work on new ideas to encourage even more people to take the step under the dome.

Despite its open structure and the possibility to leave it at any time, there seems to be an imaginary border for some of our conversation partners. Perhaps it would help to serve coffee and tea? Or to use an amplifier so that you can hear what is said outside the dome and want to react?

 What do you think?


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Video of our 4 stops in Belgium

Some impressions from our Dome Event: