2019 Opening remarks by HRH Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands

Your Royal Highness,
Dear Laureates,
Dear friends,

Democracy Needs Imagination is this year’s leitmotif for the independent jury to select the laureates of the Princes Margriet Award for Cultur - Ahdaf Soueif and City of Women. It is also the underlying theme of our broader strategic approach at the European Cultural Foundation.

But what does it actually mean - Democracy Needs Imagination? Isn’t democracy an undeniable, unshakable principle of our lives, our societies in Europe? What can imagination add? How do we learn to imagine? And what is the role of culture in this?

There are many ways to answer these fundamental questions. One is by analyzing the current state of democracy. Another is by unraveling the very notion of imagination and the role of culture. Let me share a few thoughts on the latter in the context of today’s world.