The North Sea Ambassy

On June 1, 2018, the Embassy of the North Sea was established at Lange Voorhout 19 in The Hague, based on the starting point: the sea is by itself. Representatives presented the North Sea as an independent entity, as its own political body with self-determination from 2030. From now on the North Sea is a political discussion partner, with a support base running from France to Norway, from seabed to atmosphere. From microscopic users such as plankton, to large users such as people and whales. From far-reaching horizons and tides, to local waves and currents. Preparations for a sovereign North Sea will be taken and negotiations will take place in the next twelve years.
At the Embassy of the North Sea, things, plants, animals and people in and around the North Sea get a voice. From 1 March to 30 June, the Embassy is building and working on a Plea on behalf of the North Sea. The process can be followed on this website. At the end of June 2018, the Plea is presented in The Hague.

Research into our relationship with the sea

We live together with the sea. She marvels and feeds us, once we came from her. At the same time we feared and tamed partly the big mirror of our country. The sea always stirs, in all sorts of ways. What is our relationship with our largest public space in 2018? What does the sea have to tell us? How do we improve our relationship with the North Sea, in favor of human and non-human life and the lives of future generations? Especially in the year in which the national government is working on a policy vision for the sea for the period up to 2030, we want to contribute to the dialogue by making as many voices, ideas and insights as possible: what would the North Sea itself say? What are the interests of fish, birds and algae? What do windmills, fishermen and ports say?

Parliament of things

The Embassy of the North Sea is an initiative of the Parliament of Things and is being built by Stroom Den Haag, De Noordzee Foundation, Building Conversation, The Ponies and Waag Society, with support from Creative Industries Fund NL, Mondriaan Fund and Bank Giro Loterij Fund and collaboration of Daan ‘t Sas, Tjallien Walma van der Molen, Studio Alloy, Jasper van den Berg, Partizan Publik, Andrea Simmelink and Jasmine De Bruycker. The photo images on this website are from Udo van Dongen, Juan Cuetos and Mart Smit.


05 Mar – Announcement start Embassy of the North Sea
05 Mar – 10 April – Collect motions
16 to 26 April – Program around De Dingen in Stroom The Hague
16, 17 and 26 April – Working on the Plea of ​​the North Sea in Stroom
01 June – Opening of the Embassy
June 16 – Embassy during Border Sessions
01 July – Presentation of the Plea of ​​the North Sea, at the beach in The Hague

Rotterdam in conversation

From March 26 to April 16 we will in co-operation with Theater Rotterdam organize four conversations at four special locations in Rotterdam. Building Conversation gives attention and care to the way we speak to each other with different forms of conversation. Just outside daily reality, the political topicality, apart from existing tensions, urgency and effect, we create a space in which we want to practice ourselves in conversation. There is no audience, there are no actors, there are only participants. Each interview takes place at a unique location in Rotterdam. In advance you will be received at the location where the meeting takes place. You walk together to the room where the conversation takes place. We conclude every conversation with a joint meal. We cordially invite you to participate in:

Conversation without words
Mon 26 March – 19:00
The Conversation without words is based on the annual meeting of the Inuit, in which tribal chiefs sit for hours together, look at each other and say nothing. The intensity that arises when you look at each other, but says nothing, is huge. This conversation shows us and experiences what is the basis of human contact and brings together groups in a very direct way.

Location: still unknown

Parlement van Dingen
Ma 2 april (tweede paasdag) – 14:30 uur

We zijn eraan gewend dat de mens spreekt, niet alleen namens zichzelf maar ook namens andere entiteiten: het heelal, het regenwoud, de dieren, de stad. Parlement van de dingen is geïntroduceerd door filosoof Bruno Latour die een pleidooi houdt voor het recht van het object. Tijdens het Parlement van de dingen onderzoeken we wat het voor ons Westerlingen betekent om als de dingen en vooral ook met de dingen te spreken.

Locatie: Zandwacht, Maasvlakte 2 (i.s.m. Observatorium)
Voor deze locatie is een bus geregeld. Vertrek: 14:30 uur vanaf Theater Rotterdam, Schouwburg

Agonistisch gesprek

Ma 9 april – 19:00 uur

Het Agonistisch gesprek is een gesprek geïnspireerd op de theorie van Chantal Mouffe en de praktijk van de Maori. De agonist is de tegenstander, niet te verwarren met de antagonist, de vijand. Tussen consensus en oorlog ligt een groot scala aan mogelijkheden waarin we elkaars tegenstanders kunnen zijn, daar moeten we gebruik van maken. Hoe brengen we gefixeerde standpunten weer in beweging?

Locatie: still unknown

Samen denken – een experiment
Ma 16 april – 19:00 uur

Samen denken – een experiment verloopt volgens de theorie en praktijk van de Amerikaanse kwantumfysicus David Bohm, waarbij wordt uitgegaan van de zelfregulerende werking van een groep mensen. Het gesprek heeft geen leiding, geen voorzitter, geen taboes en geen onderwerp. Een gesprek waarin chaos, frustratie en irritatie gezien mogen worden.

Locatie: still unknown


Building Conversation in De Balie for Forum on European Culture

The artist collective Building Conversation challenges you to start a conversation with your European fellow citizens. Do you dare break out of your daily bubble and take part in a genuine conversation?

The increasingly divided European society is crying out for renewed attention to the need for conversation between people. Nowadays, people who disagree with each other hardly ever meet in real life. How can we get people to really talk with one another? What are the right circumstances in which people dare to discuss complex subjects in today’s polarised society?

For the Forum on European Culture, artist collective Building Conversation challenges you to start a conversation with your fellow European citizens in the form of an Agonistic Conversation. This session will focus on European issues and the challenges that Europe needs to address. For example, should Europe close its borders to immigrants or not? Should The Netherlands stay within the EU or not? It’s up to the participants to bring in the topics that will be addressed during the conversations on the 1st of June.

The Agonistic Conversation is a conversation between opponents, developed in response to philosopher Chantal Mouffe. She believes that the political arena needs conflict and that the arts can contribute to the development of the agonistic space. Building Conversation combines the theoretical framework of Chantal Mouffe with the practice of the Maori, who have an impressive way of dealing with conflict in their own communities.

Do you dare break out of your daily bubble and take part in a genuine conversation?

De Balie /Podium / vr 1 jun / 10:00
Building Conversation + Forum on European Culture

Building Conversation is going East

From 2017 to 2020 Building Conversation is situated for a longer period in Amsterdam. We call it our #conversation marathon. We truely make time and space for the conversation between people who do not naturally meet each other. Every year we visit another part of the city where we take the time and challenge people to take part in the experiment with us.

In the past year, we held more than 25 talks in Amsterdam Noord. This year we can be found in Stadsdeel Oost, the east of Amsterdam. Here we organize a long weekend full of conversations. Three times a year, each time in a different neighborhood. We do this with local partners, multiple forms of conversation and various themes. We start in the Indische Buurt. Do you live there, you want to take part or have good ideas how to work together? Let us know.

More information about Building Conversation in East will follow as soon as possible. Do not want to miss anything? Keep an eye on our newsletter and follow us on Facebook. Then we’ll see you in East!

Prologue to the evening program with Bruno Latour

Since 2015, a growing community of artists, scientists, philosophers and writers is building The Parliament of Things. Inspired by the work of Bruno Latour they raised a public platform and started a speculative research in which human and not human actors and actants can meet to discuss each other’s interests and positions. Can we envisage a politics beyond humans? Can we speak on behalf of things? Can we speak as things? And: does this make sense? What can this approach add to our political institutes and the processes of public opinion?

On the occasion of Bruno Latour’s visit to Amsterdam and prior to Latour’s presentation of his new book Facing Gaia Building Conversation and The Parliament of Things hosts a special Assembly. During this assembly, the Parliament of Things, we investigate what it means for us to speak on behalf of things, on behalf of nature. Will this remain a dualistic relation between people and things, or is it conceivable that a different relation will unfold, that we will give ourselves a different place in the universe?

Date: 28 November 2017

Time: 16:00 – 19:00 (diner included) – SOLD OUT

Location: Veem House for Performance Studio