Roterdam declaration of the European Cultural Parliament
May 2017
The European Cultural Parliament, recognizing that

many European nations are challenged by the flow of refugees and immigrants straining their societal institutions and communities
as a result, debates in society have become polarized and fear, populism and nationalism have gained ground
Europe has the preconditions to actively promote an open, increasingly multi-centric world

states that, in order to unlock the possible value of culture and the arts for Europe and its societies,

  • the concepts of national and cultural identity should not be seen as fixed entities but rather as a mosaic that evolves over time. Framing culture and the arts in a fundamentalist and nationalistic context is a dangerous development that must be actively resisted. Conformity must not become the dominant trend in Europe.


  • cultural institutions and artists should foster their ability to connect people through an open dialogue and further integration and avoid segregation of individuals, communities and nations


  • in an increasingly multi-centered world Europe should not look upon itself as a dominant culture and must be actively open to other cultures recognizing and embracing their inspiration without sacrificing its cultural legacy


  • in the spirit of ‘unity in diversity’ and European values, the European nations and peoples should accept otherness as a source of inspiration for European cohesion


  • the strength of Europe and European values should be bolstered by actively stimulating culture and the arts in the educational system, ensuring that children and young people from all backgrounds are engaged in artistic activity and maintain and develop their natural sense of creativity


  • to further develop Europe we need to re-envision and enhance its institutions. New visions and dreams are needed to which culture and the arts should actively contribute


  • we should enable European urban design and architecture to actively create vibrant, vital and inclusive environments. Changes in urban space must be innovative and responsive while respecting local conditions.


  • there is a growing role for the arts in leadership practice and promoting ‘the art of leadership’ is strategic to Europe’s economic strength


  • Europe needs to identify culture and the arts as a major source of its soft power to contribute in a meaningful way to the global community. To bring about that contribution culture and the arts must be given a more prominent place in education and society and be funded accordingly


  • convened during the Rotterdam opera days the ECP recognizes that opera is a truly European art form which is continuously developing new expressions to successfully engage new audiences, integrate the inspiration of other cultures as well as inspire them. The ‘Operadagen Rotterdam’ provide a perfect platform for such developments
  • we protest Russia’s ongoing aggression in Ukraine. The ECP expresses solidarity for artists and cultural activists that support freedom and peace on both sides

Rotterdam, May 2017

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