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Student & Society in Dialogue

8 December 2022 19:00 - 21:00

During Student & Society in Dialogue students of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) and Hogeschool van Amsterdam (HvA) sit down with Amsterdam's local residents to have a conversation about societal issues. In this meeting we will discuss two themes: 1) the pursuit of a fair energy transition; 2) creating spaces for mental strength. What can the municipality or the housing associations do in this regard? Do you expect help from other parties? Whose? And maybe you have tips for local residents yourself? Join the discussion!

The discussions will form the basis for the project Science with the Neighborhood. During this project, students and researchers from the VU and HvA will conduct research into a fair energy transition and improving spaces for mental strength in Amsterdam. Because these developments concern us all, the experiences and ideas of citizens of Amsterdam are extremely important in order to properly implement this research. During this meeting you can decide about which of the two topics you would like to talk. 

Theme 1: fair energy transition
To tackle climate change, we must switch to a different energy system. This means that we have to say goodbye to fossil fuels such as oil and gas and switch to sustainable ways of generating energy and electricity. The municipality of Amsterdam has set the goal of being climate neutral by 2050: from then on, the city may no longer emit greenhouse gases. Amsterdam wants to be gas-free by 2040. That is quite a task, since many people in Amsterdam are still dependent on fossil fuels.  The shift to a new energy system will impact every resident.

Effects of the gas crisis
The current gas crisis and rising energy prices show how important energy plays in our lives. For some people this means that they can no longer pay their energy bills. The combination of high energy costs and poorly insulated houses often leads to energy poverty. We use this term when a household has to spend more than ten percent of its disposable income to heat the house sufficiently. This also regularly has other consequences for health, well-being, social life and finances.

All together
Now that we all have to switch to new forms of energy, it is very important that we all prevent inequalities from arising. How can we ensure that the energy transition proceeds in a way that is fair and just for everyone?

Theme 2: mental strength
Mental health and well-being remain an urgent problem in our society. Mental health problems affect different people, at different ages. Signs of burnout, anxiety, loneliness and depression have been reported more in the past ten years and the recent corona crisis has not made things any easier.

In our fast-paced society, it can be difficult to keep up with the pace. There are high expectations and an individualistic mentality is the norm. In addition, mental health issues are often taboo. That is why it is increasingly important to create spaces where people can work on mental health.

Our mental health and well-being is related to the way we interact with ourselves, with others and with our environment. To strengthen that mental health, we need to create spaces where it can be worked on, and where there is guidance and support. It is also important that there are public places where you can interact in a safe and inclusive way.

How do we make those spaces safe and inclusive? That is a difficult task. Many different people live in Amsterdam, so you have to deal with many social and cultural differences. In addition, the accessibility of such a place and whether it is feasible to create this place must also be taken into account. What helps people to connect? And how can we create spaces where people feel safe and dare to talk? We are curious to hear your ideas!

On 8 December (19:00-21:00) there will be a meeting at these two locations:

  • OBA Hallen (west-centre)
  • OBA Geuzenveld (new west)

Registration is not necessary. You can just come by and walk in. 

There will be a meeting on 6 December (16:00-18:00) as well. Click here for more information about that date.

The results of the studies will be shared on 22th of June during the science communication festival. Here too, we want to discuss the direction of the research and possible reflections and needs from the citizens of Amsterdam. Are we thinking in the right way about a 'fair energy transition' and 'mental strength'? whale role could and should policy makers play? Of course, you are warmly invited to this event as well!


OBA Geuzenveld (new west)
In cooperation with Buurtcampus

  • 18:00-19:00 neighbourhood conference HvA public administration students; 'the just city'
    By HvA students about their research in the neighbourhood on: poverty, work, housing, care, education and public space
  • 19:00-19:30 snack and drink
  • 19:30-19:40 explanation dialogue sessions
  • 19:40-20:40 dialogue sessions
    By VU students about 'fair energy transition' and 'spaces for mental strength'
  • 20:40-21:00 closing and reflections

OBA Hallen (west-centre)

  • 19:00-19:30 snack and drink
  • 19:30-19:40 explanation dialogue sessions
  • 19:40-20:40 dialogue sessions
    By VU students about 'fair energy transition' and 'spaces for mental strength'
  • 20:40-21:00 closing and reflections

About Student & Society in Dialogue

Starting date

  • 8 December 2022


  • 19:00 - 21:00


  • OBA Hallen | OBA Geuzenveld


  • Amsterdam

Organised by

  • Athena Institute


Feel free to contact Geertje Tijsma.