Proudly presented: the 2011 program

On Monday 10 October TEDxAmsterdam organised a partner meeting at the beautiful residence of the Amsterdam municipality on Herengracht which the mayor so kindly opened up for us. While people slowly trickled in, the excitement was omnipresent. Monday night would be the night the first long awaited speakers for TEDxAmsterdam 2011 would be announced.

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Human spirit
Over 60 people were present which promptly led to the shortage of seats, “a tradition TEDxAmsterdam is known for” organiser Jim Stolze jokingly said (referring to the ever growing waiting list). The meeting was opened by TEDxAmsterdam 2010 speaker and alderperson for Ecnomic Affairs, Arts and Culture in Amsterdam. Caroline Gehrels started off by saying how proud she was to have TEDxAmsterdam here, “an event that is very present in the city.” She also told the audience the story of Howard Roarke, a 1920 NYC based architect. One of his creations was compromised by other designers, which made him decide to bomb his own design. He was arrested for this offense and decided to do his own plea. This plea about originality, uncompromising vision was in sharp contrast with the staid and uninspired conventions of the architectural establishment and showcased “an amazing vision, power and courage of the human spirit. Something we will also get to see during TEDxAmsterdam,” Carolien promised.

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The more, the better
After that Jim took the floor by telling us how great TEDxAmsterdam and other TEDx events are doing worldwide. In fact, the number of TEDx events went up from 29 in 2009 to 2400 in 2011. Jim adressed the comments he sometimes gets when mentioning this staggering number, people ask him why there should be so many events? Jim’s reply is: “The more TEDx events, the more ideas. The more ideas that get spread, the more ideas turn into actions that can change the world. What’s to argue with that?”.

What’s new about TEDxAmsterdam 2011?
Jim mentioned the great support we get from all the partners, such as Sanoma and Deloitte, or new partners like McKinsey. Marck Feller from Feller Media, responsible for all video streams, announced that the streams will now already start the day before. This is a warm up for the event itself, and the stream wil show highlights, speakers, partners, a peak backstage and more.

Another great new way of opening the day has been presented by Alex Bennet Grant from creative agency and partner We Are Pi. He announced that The National Ballet will form a human brain with 50 (!) dancers live on stage to symbolise the day’s theme: Human Nature.

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Last but not least, the speakers
Monique Dusseldorp announced the list of first speakers. A list she admitted, even as a convention organiser for over 20 years, got her extremely excited. Prof. Henk-Jan Honing (scholar of music cognition), Chief of the Netherlands Defense Staff Peter Van Uhm, Prof. David Lentink (bird and flight expert), journalist Joris Luyendijk (observes bankers in the City of London), Prof. Barry Schwartz (author of the book Practical Wisdom), Alan McSmith (African wilderness guide), Andrew Hessel (biotechnologist in the field of breast cancer drug development), Esra’a al Shafei (free speech activist in the Middle-East), Gary Wolf (co-founder of the Quantified Self movement) and Prof. Henrik Schärfe with his humanoid are a great list you can read in more detail about here.

All photos taken by Jan-Jaap Heine (c)