Transition to a sustainable wellbeing-economy

Thursday February 20th

19:45 live music by Wolke
20:15 speakers
Café Loburg

For half a century now gross domestic product (GDP) – and in particular, its growth – has been the main focal point for public policy. In fact, GDP has almost become synonymous with the “success” of a country. However, is GDP really a reliable measure for the wellbeing of citizens? Does this continuous economic growth not inevitably lead to overshoot of our planetary boundaries? Most importantly, how can we transition towards a society where wellbeing and sustainability are the core goals, rather than economic growth?
In this Science Café, our guest speakers Rutger Hoekstra and Caroline van Leenders will try to answer these questions, and will paint a picture of what is needed to transition towards a sustainable wellbeing-economy.

Rutger Hoekstra is an expert on metrics for well-being and sustainability. He is the author of Replacing GDP by 2030 and the founder of, a consultancy company that helps governments look beyond GDP and companies Beyond-Profit. He works as a guest researcher at Leiden University.

Caroline van Leenders works for the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland, RVO) and is, with more than 20 years of experience, a true expert on sustainable transitions. She has written several books on the topic, and was featured as number 53 in Trouw Green Top 100 in 2016 (and since then, she is part of the jury).

PREVIOUS SESSION: Attention in a distractive world

Thursday January 16th

19:45 live music
20:15 speakers
Café Loburg

FOCUS, we all need it in our study and work, or to navigate and travel safely from place to place. Yet in the world around us there are many distractions, visual and auditive signals that all compete for our attention. Luckily our brain filters these signals, enabling us to function in a world of information overload. In this Science cafe we explore the current knowledge of how these filters work and how the transmission of important information can be promoted. Our speakers will guide you through the world of distraction. Our first speaker Prof. Stefan van der Stigchel will focus on visual stimuli, whereas our second speaker, Prof. John van Opstal, will address auditory stimuli.

Prof. Stefan van der Stigchel is a professor in Cognitive Psychology at the department of Experimental Psychology at Utrecht University and principal investigator of the research group AttentionLab. For his research on visual attention, he received a VENI and VIDI NWO grant. Stefan is author of the popular science book “Zo werkt aandacht”, published in English as “How Attention Works” in January 2019. His second book “Concentratie” was released in the Netherlands in November 2018 and will be published by MIT Press in 2020.

Prof. John van Opstal is Chair in Biophysics at the Faculty of Science and Director of the Donders Centre for Neuroscience, both at Radboud University, Nijmegen. Prof. van Opstal studies sound localization behaviour of human and non-human primates. He regards sound localization as an action-perception problem, and probes the system with fast, saccadic eye-head gaze-control paradigms, to study the very earliest underlying neurocomputational mechanisms. He exposed his ideas in his book “The auditory system and human sound-localization behavior”, published in April 2016. Prof. van Opstal received numerous prestigious awards and grants such as NWO VICI and ERC advanced.

Exploring and discussing science with professionals, funky music and a drink.