Video & Transcript: Lecture by Mayor of Amsterdam Femke Halsema

April 24, 2019

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"Imagined Urban Communities" - Queen Wilhelmina Lecture by Femke Halsema, Mayor of Amsterdam

Lecture: Femke Halsema, Mayor of Amsterdam

Discussant: Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Columbia University

Welcome Remarks: Maya Tolstoy, Interim Executive Vice President for Arts and Sciences & Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University

Moderator Ido de Haan, Queen Wilhelmina Visiting Professor, Columbia University & Professor of Political History, Utrecht University

Mayor Femke Halsema delivered the annual Queen Wilhelmina Lecture at Columbia University, further developing a 2016 essay she had written, titled “Power and Imagination.” In this essay she described the current dominance of cost-driven technocratic political dispensations coming at the expense of imagination and idealism. She argued that imagination and hope are powerful forces in society, driving participation and activism, and these qualities must be reclaimed as parts of our civic imagination.

In her speech at Columbia University, Mayor Halsema explored this question now as the mayor of an open and diverse city. How can cities form imagined communities? How might a common narrative appeal to citizens of global cities, and how can concepts of community converge with individual freedoms?

This event was held at Columbia University on April 9, 2019, and was sponsored by the Studies of the Dutch-Speaking World, the European Institute, and Columbia World Projects.