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Speaker Line-up


Joop Hazenberg


Joop Hazenberg is a writer and an EU expert. He has worked for over a decade on European integration and is based in Brussels since 2013. He is currently employed by the GSMA, the global trade body of mobile network operators, as EU External Affairs Director.


After a career in the governmental circles in The Netherlands, Joop became a freelancer, developing projects on major shifts in society. Since 2009 he published five books and one documentary, gave dozens of keynote speeches at international conferences, had many media appearances (including BBC World) and founded a think-tank in the Netherlands.


Talk description:

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is dawning. A wave of technology breakthroughs will alter our economies and society drastically, resulting in hyper connectivity, far-reaching automation and new forms of intelligence.


The dark side of this age of technological upheaval is already becoming visible: a further blurring of the distinction between reality and fiction. In his contribution to this TEDx event, author Joop Hazenberg will present whether technology can distort our vision on the world, on democracy and on what it means to be human.

Joachim Helms

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Joachim Helms has spent his career fighting for cannabis legalization working as the head of leading cannabis dispensaries in Amsterdam and Barcelona. Joachim works for the Greenhouse organization, founders of the dispensaries synonymous for highest quality and winners of many High Times Cannabis Cup awards.

Joachim and the Greenhouse offer a new kind of transparency and openness. Setting up Strainhunters - a behind the scenes look at the business of growing and sharing the ins and outs of cannabusiness via Joachim’s popular social media accounts.
Joachim is also representing the Dutch cannabis business when debating issues of legalization with the Dutch government.


Talk Description:

In the Netherlands, the sale of cannabis is tolerated. In reality that means it’s as good as illegal: It’s against the law to grow it, test it and transport it. Only the sale of cannabis is tolerated with innumerable associated regulations.

With the Netherlands now embarking on legalization experiments, Joachim reveals his two decades worth of secretive cannabusiness and his dealings and experience in Canada and the U.S. - where in the majority of states the weed has been legalized.
What can we learn from their mistakes? What system will drive the best of cannabis culture and avoid the worst?


Natalie Dikken


Natalie Dikken is a graduated Cognitive Neuroscience student at the University of Amsterdam. While she says to be fond of the human brain, throughout her studying years she has come to be an advocate of nutrition and health, wishing to spread word in particular about the gut.

It was the result of her inquisitiveness facing personal health hiccups that made her discover the importance of the gut-brain interaction. Our everyday lifestyle and the things we eat have a great impact on how our brains function. Natalie wishes to create awareness for this topic, which she considers should be openly laid out on the table not only because of its possible everyday impact on our feelings and behavior, but also since it holds the potential to be a great preventive and therapeutic solution to many mental health disorders.


Talk description

Every person on this planet has at least once in their lifetime had a ‘gut feeling’ about something. Most of us, though, have not once questioned the extent to which this expression is true.

Natalie Dikken will take us on a ride from our brain to our gut, revealing the strong interaction that lies between them in order to explain the influence of our gut on our everyday feelings and behaviors, and what we can do to take control of this.

Athira Menon

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Athira Menon is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Amsterdam. She is a theoretical astrophysicist and studies the evolution of stars especially those of binary stars, with the help of mathematical models and computer simulations.


She is this year’s winner of Fame Lab, Netherlands and runner-up of Fame Lab International- the world’s largest science communication contest. She is also a proficient dancer in the style of Bharatanatyam, India’s ancient classical dance.


Talk description:

We know we are all made of star stuff- ashes left behind by the explosions of massive stars. But did you also know that the majority of these massive stars live with companions? This simple fact fundamentally alters our understanding about the lives of stars and their dramatic deaths as supernovae and black holes.


Find out how binary stars are preparing us for a new era of astronomy- from the discovery of gravitational waves to the colossal flood of data to come from the largest sky surveys yet.

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Eppo van Nispen tot Sevenaer


Eppo van Nispen tot Sevenaer had a successful career in broadcasting, being one of the first persons to use digital interactive formats. He decided to dedicate his knowledge of digital media and how people use them to the future of libraries. He set up the highly acclaimed DOK Library Concept Center in Delft and worked together with the best scientists to create the world’s most modern library. In 2008, DOK was chosen by international experts as the most innovative of all libraries worldwide and in 2009 it was named the best library in the Netherlands. In 2010 he was asked to become the CEO of a unique foundation that helps to encourage book reading. Today, Eppo is the CEO of the Netherlands Institute of Sound and Vision, the second biggest audiovisual archive of the world. It serves as a tech-platform for cultural heritage as a human memory that works together with famous scientists all over the world from MIT, Frauenhofer Institut to the UvA. They work on search intelligence, digital forensics and preservation. Eppo is also president of a national think tank in Big Data. He is a well-known international speaker and lecturer.


Talk description:

In today’s digital world, information travels as fast and as far as data can go. There have never been so many tools to create and share all this information from the palm of your hand. Data and artificial intelligence are used to spread news in a way that you no longer know if these are real or fake. This is a real threat to our democratic society. People need to be media-literated: understand how, by who and where this information is created.

In this triggering, humorous, heartfelt and foremost fact-checked TED talk, Eppo van Nispen tot Sevenaer will take you on an inspirational roller-coaster in his stimulating stride for bringing media literacy to the university’s curriculum using the oldest powerhouses of information in the world. He will give a special insight on how to deal with the world of deep fakes using old school tools, from pure poetry to his 102-year old grandmother.

Maayke Damen

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Maayke-Aimée Damen (MSc. honours) is a pioneer in circular economy and sustainability: she has been working towards reinstating waste as valuable resource through various companies and projects. She takes her inspiration from nature to reform economic and industrial systems. With her passion for sustainability, sharp intellect and strong will, she has become a driving force in the field.


Currently, she is the founder of the Excess Materials Exchange (EME): a marketplace where companies can buy and sell any type of excess material and/or product. The EME actively matches supply and demand of materials, and materials with their highest value potential to create continuous material loops. 

Maayke has won various prizes and awards for her work, amongst others as MIT Innovator under 35, Emerging Innovator for the Ellen MacArthur Foundation CE100 network and Financial Times Top Talent in the Netherlands. 


Previously, Maayke-Aimée Damen developed the Resources Passport that has now been made into Dutch and European policy. The passport is currently being used by the EME and many other companies to start mapping the material metabolism of our economy. With the Resources Passport she won a scholarship to attent Singularity University (Google & NASA).


Talk description:

Maayke Damen, founder of Excess Materials Exchange (EME), means serious business. She wants to save the planet with maximum impact. And she wants to prevent valuable materials from being wasted and destroyed. Her chosen path to achieve all this? Running a dating site. In her talk she will tell you all about her dating adventures. You’ll end up with a whole new perspective on the concept of the circular economy and waste. Does it even exist?

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Josephat Torner


Josephat Torner is a human rights activist with albinism, who has dedicated his life to raising awareness and acceptance towards people with albinism in his home country of Tanzania and other sub-Saharan African countries. People with albinism in Tanzania and other 27 sub-Saharan African countries are at constant risk of persecution and murder by those in their countries, who believe that their body parts should be sold to witchdoctors in order to bring wealth. Josephat


Torner raises awareness in albinism worldwide and teaches the people with albinism what they can achieve, empowering them to get an education, raise families, start businesses, and live like everybody else. He has set up UN demonstrations and his efforts have resulted in children with albinism being enrolled in schools, as well as an educational community center and funds to provide material aid.


Talk description:

Josephat Torner speaks out and speaks up. He says that together we can break the deadly silence for people with albinism. When your countrie's old superstitions lead to murder, threatening your rights and existence, what would you do? Sharing his personal experiences of growing up in remote parts of Tanzania, Josephat Torner discusses the dangers of being surrounded with witchcraft and superstitions and why having the courage to speak out is so important. What is his counter-intuitive approach to change and why risk it?

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