Academic Forum

Expand your horizons, take time to reflect

Human Library: Meet your prejudice *

Visit the Human Library in Tilburg on Wednesday April 11, 2018. Instead of a book, you can borrow a 'person' and hear their life story. There will be many different 'books' whom you can talk to, such as refugees, an orphan, a transsexual, people with a handicap or people who have a peculiar lifestyle. The Human Library aims to take away prejudices and stimulate social cohesion. (language: Dutch & English)

Program information
Date Wednesday April 11, 2018
Time walk-in between 14:00 - 18:30
Location Dante Building, Tilburg University campus
Entry Admission is free. It takes about 30 minutes to 'read a book'.
Speakers 'Human books' and lecturers Mark van Brandt, Marloes van Noorloos, Dongning Ren and Hans van Dijk
Organization Academic Forum, Bibliotheek Midden-Brabant, Animo, Complex
Contact Ingemarie Sam
*Certificate This activity may count towards the Academic Forum Certificate 2017-2018
logo facebook academic forum Facebook: Human Library Tilburg


Human Library is an originally Danish concept that is conquering the world. In a Human Library, the 'books' are people who have all experienced or are experiencing a particular prejudice in their lives. They are willing to share their life story and, for one afternoon, they are a book that can be read. The book title describes the stereotype they represent.

Video: impression 2018 (language: Dutch)

Life story

The visitors, i.e., the readers, choose a book with a story on which they have certain presuppositions or questions. They subsequently join the book at the table and the ‘reading’ can begin. The book tells his or her story. The readers can ask the book all the questions they want and, conversely, the books can ask their readers all sorts of questions. In this way, the readers hopefully allow their prejudices to be challenged.

One reader said:

'What touched me most was the personal character of the dialog and the possibility that two people who have only just met for the first time can directly share very personal stories. It was a very special experience for me, a wonderful book that I will not forget in a hurry.'


The most recent edition of Human Library took place on April 11 in the Dante Building at Tilburg University campus.


During Human Library on April 11 scientists Hans van Dijk, Mark Brandt, Marloes van Noorloos en Dongning Ren shared their research findings about prejudices in a short lecture. Also in the next edition of Human Library in January 2019 a number of scientists will present a lecture or a workshop.

About prejudices en how to reduce them (English) – Mark Brandt

Researcher Mark Brandt will give a short talk about his work on seeing someone as dissimilar and prejudice. In our work, we find that seeing someone as dissimilar leads to prejudice and that this is true for many people. Even people's good intentions and openness does not seem to help. This means that we can't just rely on our good intentions if we want to reduce prejudice. That may all sound depressing, but there is hope. Research also finds that getting to know people with different views and perspectives and working with those people can break down these walls and increase tolerance.

Strafrecht: Over haatzaaien en bestrijding vooroordelen (Dutch) – Marloes van Noorloos

De strafwet over haatzaaien en groepsbelediging is al lange tijd onderwerp van maatschappelijke discussie. Denk maar aan politicus Geert Wilders, die eerder is vrijgesproken voor een aantal uitspraken over moslims, maar vorig jaar wel veroordeeld is voor zijn ‘Minder, minder’-uitspraak. Hoe ver kunnen we in een democratische rechtsstaat gaan met het verbieden van zulke uitlatingen? Door haatzaaien te verbieden wordt geprobeerd de uitwassen van vooroordelen te bestrijden, maar hoe zit het met die vooroordelen zelf?

Ostracism: about bullying and stereotypes – Dongning Ren

Prejudice leads to ostracism, exclusion. Ostracism is powerful. It makes people feel alone, worthless, purposeless, and out of control. Why should you avoid ostracizing others? What can you do if you are ostracized?

Oranges and diversity – Hans van Dijk

Social scientist Hans van Dijk helps us to look beyond our stereotypes. Using an exercise involving oranges, participants will get a better understanding of and insight in the differences between people and their frame of reference. These insights can be helpful in various situations, ranging from working with diverse colleagues in a team to understanding how the integration of refugees can be facilitated.

This event is supported by Stichting Steunfonds Katholiek Hoger Onderwijs.

The next edition of Human Library Tilburg will take place in January 2019 in the Bibliotheek Tilburg Centrum, LocHal (public library in city center, on its new location in the Spoorzone Tilburg).

Meet some book titles

Living with the AEC syndrome (website: English / language film: Dutch).

image human library Criminal Mind Human library AEC syndroom-EN image human library Tattoo Man image human library adoptie-borderline EN image human library Jewish image human library niet aangeboren hersenletsel EN image human library Muslim Traveler image human library lesbian-with-children image human library the odd one out image human library ex-addict image human library Blind Russian student image human library PTSD Human library Ammar Alkhatib Human library Ismay Repko image human library drag queen Miss Baksel image human library de gek-en

When: 11 April 2018 14:00

End date: 11 April 2018 18:30