The words Entre Nous are French and mean 'between us', they refer to the title of an exercise during my obligatory time in the military that aimed to increase the fraternization among the conscripts.
Base camp Entre Nous derived from the interesting history of The Society of Humanitarianism (Maatschappij van Weldadigheid). It was a Dutch private organization set up in 1818 by general Johannes van den Bosch. This utopian initiative aimed to help the poor families in the aftermath of the Napoleonic French occupation by granting them farming land. From the whole of the Netherlands people were sent to Drenthe in order to get a better life. The experiment eventually lost its public support but it served as a model for the current welfare state. Today Dutch politicians argue that this model is also no longer efficient and too expensive, a clear alternative besides privatization of parts seems missing.
Base camp Entre Nous was a temporary laboratory, a test colony where the search for new sustainable possibilities for our welfare state was leading. It functioned as an humanitarian military base where during a period of one month (instead of soldiers) several artists were living and working. These craftsmen are residing today at the periphery of our society, lacking a clear market for their specific expertise. Therefore it is urgent to provide them the infrastructure in exchange for their craftsmanship and to activate their potential.
The residing artists were shortlisted by art institutions throughout the Netherlands, like in the past the poor and homeless were selected by departments of 'The Society'. During their stay in this base it was the idea that they would transform local qualities, expertise and resources towards future ideas & concepts for actual issues in the municipality Westerveld. It was the idea that in a later stage their ideas could be developed further.
An active side program was organized where multidisciplinary guest speakers who were invited could stay in this camp and share their knowledge with the audience. They were giving lectures and fueled debates around actual questions the people in the municipality Westerveld are facing. To achieve our goals we collaborated for example with Netwerk Democratie dedicated to a resilient democracy where citizens are more involved by using technology to contribute actively. The Creative Care Lab from Waag Society which looks at the responsibility of artists and citizens with respect to the major and significant changes in health care. In cooperation with the military academy (the NLDA) questions about conflict studies and humanitarian missions were highlighted. How do these missions in our world full of conflicts function?
Base camp Entre Nous followed the concept of #theorganisation and was meant to provide a real expirimental and collaborative space that stimulates informal exchange of human knowledge and resources to serve society. Its level of success was highly depending on the effort and generosity of all the 'shareholders' that help to realize and visualize the outcome of this research.