News > EM Netherlands: Interview with sociologist Dick Pels about ‘A Heart for Europe’

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EM Netherlands: Interview with sociologist Dick Pels about ‘A Heart for Europe’

This month, Dutch sociologist and Europe-expert Dick Pels launched his book ‘A Heart for Europe’ in Bristol, England. In the midst of the Brexit debate, Pels proposes to reconsider and reinvent Europe. European Movement Netherlands spoke to Dick Pels about his new book.

Why did you write ‘A Heart for Europe’ in this time of euroscepticism and turmoil?

Pels: “I seem to be one of the few that still supports Europe. In the past few years that has become arguably more difficult in the light of the weak responses of the EU on the many challenges it faced: the euro crisis, the Russian threat in Ukraine, the refugee flow as well as the attacks in Paris and Brussels. However, only through rediscovering our passion for the European project, can we address the ‘perfect storm’ that Europe currently faces.”

What is the most important argument of your book?

‘European civilization is the never-ending quest for a more gentle, more relaxed, more trustful and less dangerous society: a society in which people are no longer afraid of each other, of their institutions, or of themselves. But Europe currently finds itself in the eye of a ‘perfect storm’, being chased by the multiple dangers of populist nationalism, Russian revanchism, neoliberal financial havoc, religious terrorism and refugee chaos. Facing these violent challenges, we urgently need to rethink our European ideals of peace, freedom, democracy, sustainability and the good life. It is urgent that we regain the original passion which lay behind the European project, in order to rescue the idea of a civilized European patriotism from the politics of fear which is conducted by both right-wing and left-wing nationalists.’


You can download ‘A Heart for Europe’ for free at:


You can read the full interview in Dutch here:


Dick Pels is a Dutch sociologist and freelance political writer. He has taught at various Dutch and English universities, and was director of the research foundation of the Dutch Green Party until 2013.

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