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Minister of Education Bussemaker to open "Practicing the Commons" Conference (Utrecht, July 10-14)

SCOOP member and conference chair Tine de Moor and her team put together this impressive XVI Biennial Conference of the IASC.

Our intention with this conference is not only to facilitate the exchange of scholarship between researchers working on commons (working and living across the globe), but also to bring to the fore the interaction with the practice of commons, hence the title of our conference, Practicing the commons, in the Netherlands, but also elsewhere in Europe, there is a renewed interest in commons among citizens. A booming number of new citizens’ collectivities in a wide variety of sectors is being set up around the country, from energy, to care, infrastructure, and nature conservation: citizens are building new institutions through self-governance and cooperation. An excellent opportunity to get hands-on experience about the current societal developments in the Netherlands is to join one of the excursions, all over the country. Enthusiastic representatives of new and old citizens’ collectivities will be welcoming you and showing you around. We will showcase the Netherlands’ long history in commons during the conference. During the conference you will nd various ways to engage in the academic and societal debates on commons: through the pre-conference workshops, over 120 academic sessions, 14 practitioners’ labs, 5 round tables, 3 clinics – all taking place around the wonderful Dom Square in Utrecht at the Academiegebouw (Utrecht University Hall) and UCK-Domplein (the Utrecht Center for the Arts).

On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday in the afternoon we invite you to listen to our keynote speakers and policy debates in the Janskerk. Make sure to be there on time, as there will be short cultural surprise events taking place just before the keynotes start. We have made sure that throughout the conference there are also many other social and cultural events, from discovering the historical foundations that lie below Utrecht, dancing with other conference delegates, to visiting the CASCO-exhibition: you are bound to meet many new colleagues in a pleasant atmosphere. We also want to draw very special attention to the future of commons-research: with our Young Scholars Meeting on Thursday evening, but also with the very special children’s mini-conference on commons at CASCO. You can’t start early enough with working on the commons.

We are very proud of the international character of our conference, with over 700 registered participants representing over 65 countries. As scholars active in the "Institutions for Collective Action"-Research Team and in the Institutions for Open Societies program of Utrecht University we have enjoyed preparing this big event for you. Our sponsors stem from various societal organizations and companies across the Netherlands, all with an active interest in making the commons work. Our main sponsors Agriterra and the Ministery of Foreign A airs are very keen on learning from your scholarship to support their work in the developing South. Sponsors BothENDS Foundation, the City Council of Utrecht, the Province of Utrecht, the DuurzaamDoor-program of the Ministery of Economic A airs, the Rabobank Foundation, the Dutch Council for Cooperatives and the Gebiedscoöperatie Westerkwartier are all present at the conference and keen to connect with you. The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) support our academic program. The Utrecht Convention Bureau has been an excellent partner in making our event happen. All our sponsors have a special interest in the commons and related subjects. Without them, this conference would not have been possible.