Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands: "Cultural cooperation and exchange are essential"

December 2008 -

On 9 December 2008, Princess Margriet presented the first ROUTES - Princess Margriet award for cultural diversity to Professor Stuart Hall for his life’s work as intellectual pioneer and researcher of 'diversity', and to Jérôme Bell and Pichet Klunchun for their controversial artistic performance Pichet Klunchun & Myself. The award was established by the ECF after Princess Margriet resigned as chair last year. The new chair, Princess Laurentien, is pleased with the establishment of the award. "In the first place, the award fills a gap: there are prizes in Europe for organisations in the area of diversity, but not for individuals. While people are ultimately the ones to shape and communicate these important themes. Artistic and cultural expressions are the perfect tool for stimulating dialogue. It is important for us to feel at home so that we can participate in society more powerfully and with more confidence."


Presentation of the ROUTES-Princess Margriet award. © Maarten van Haaff

Barometer for burning issues
The ECF was established in 1954 to build bridges between the various cultures in Europe and neighbouring countries, including around the Mediterranean Sea like Morocco and Turkey. Princess Laurentien: "To me, the ECF is an organisation that has much to share thanks to its extensive network within the artistic and cultural worlds throughout Europe and neighbouring countries. It can share the experience and stories of people from every cultural corner of Europe." According to the princess, through its work the ECF gains insight into cultural issues that are current in Europe. "Europe is continually changing. Cultural cooperation and exchange are essential to societies in which openness and involvement of all inhabitants has central focus." 

The princess believes culture is indispensable to both individual and social development. "Certainly in today’s Europe and neighbouring countries, the region in which the ECF is active. With its subsidy programme, the ECF keeps track of artistic trends in society. These are often a barometer for the burning issues under the surface. To the ECF, that is the power of culture."