01 Feb '21

‘Looking forward to once again bringing people together’

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door Anne Peeters

Willem Bongers-Dek, head of deBuren, the Flemish-Dutch culture and debate centre: ‘We took the opportunity of the closure decision to reinvent ourselves. We clearly announced an end to the physical delivery of our programmes and took the time to come up with new formats, to work according to a digital approach, to reach out to people in a different way.’

‘The digital divide has created the kind of barrier that we haven’t seen for a long time or didn’t wish to see. That same digital divide is now becoming a physical one. Connecting is what deBuren is all about: bringing people together. Our experience? Digital options offer many opportunities, but they cannot provide the broader social dialogue you get with people-to-people contacts. We are pleased with all the digital initiatives we have developed, but we really want to get back to physical spaces. To sit together and have a conversation, but I fear that it will be quite a while before that ­happens’