Wiardi Beckman Stichting

Objective
The Wiardi Beckman Stichting (Wiardi Beckman Foundation, or WBS) is a Dutch research centre for social democracy, and is linked to the Dutch Labour Party. The foundation is named after H.B. Wiardi Beckman, a prominent Social Democrat who was killed in Dachau in March 1945. The WBS was founded on 5 February 1946.

The WBS aims to identify and analyse critical social issues, with a long-term perspective and from a social democratic philosophy, and to provide future-oriented advise.

‘Van waarde’ project
In the aftermath of the banking crisis that started in 2008, the Netherlands and Europe find they need to reinvent themselves. However, administrative and financial regulations threaten to dominate this reinvention process. It is therefore essential that a number of social democratic core values and objectives remain recognizable and consistent. The ‘Van waarde’ (‘Of Value’) project, WBS’s moral compass, is an attempt to update social democracy and to calibrate people’s dreams and aspirations for the 21st century.
We aim to pinpoint, unite, and reinforce a ‘flesh-and-blood’ style of politics in social democracy, keeping in mind the following:

  1. Paying attention to people’s personal aspirations and problems, ranging from traditional indictments of poor working conditions to the contemporary desire to combine professional and personal fulfilment without too many strains;
  2. Connecting these personal stories with a scientific analysis and social criticism, and with a broader view, thus turning personal problems into public issues. This translates into the following questions: Which trends can these personal experiences be fitted into, and which trends do we want to promote or suppress? What would a better society look like?
  3. Reflecting on the success and failure of desirable ‘concrete reform efforts’, partly through international comparison, resulting in a vision of what needs to be done.

Independency of policies and policymakers
The Wiardi Beckman Foundation is independent of existing policies and policymakers. We do however regularly carry out supporting work for the Labour Party, such as drafting discussion papers, contributing to election programmes, and advising the parliamentary group and the party executive. The WBS receives government funding in proportion to the Labour Party’s number of parliamentary seats, as well as financial support from the Labour Party itself. Donations are an additional source of income.

Contact
You can reach us via email at the following address: info@wbs.nl.

List of publications and events
While the majority of the publications is in Dutch, employees and fellows of the WBS also publish in English. Columns, in English, by René Cuperus can also be found on the website of Social Europe. See below for a list of publications and events:

2015
On the 1. of September the Wiardi Beckman Stichting and Policy Network organized a conference and a public debate on 'British Labour meets Dutch Labour; Progressive Politics in the New Hard Times' at De Balie in Amsterdam. The evening public debate, featuring Chuka Umunna and Lodewijk Asscher among others, has been recorded by De Balie: British Labour meets Dutch Labour

2014
Handbook Progressive Governance Conference “Making Progressive Politics Work; A Handbook of Ideas”

2013
Rene Cuperus - Back to the European Community. A reply

2012
Rene Cuperus - Squeezed between a German and a British Europe?

Paul Taggart - Rethinking populism

Rene Cuperus - A new post-populist phase?

Michiel Emmelkamp - Ill-placed trophies and Tea Gatherings

2011
Rene Cuperus - The Party Paradox

Rene Cuperus - Why was the Left trapped into Multiculturalism?

Rene Cuperus - Exploring the cultural challenges to social democracy

2010
Rene Cuperus - The Low Countries run into populist chaos

2008
Rene Cuperus and Frans Becker - Which way out? New leaders, new thinkers, new parties. A message from the Dutch polder