News and Events

Human Library: Meet your prejudice *

Visit the Human Library in Tilburg on Friday January 25, 2019. 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 Friday, January 25, 2019
Time free entry between 13:00 - 18:30 hrs.
Location Bibliotheek Midden-Brabant (public library) - LocHal, Burgemeester Brokxlaan 1000, 5041 SG Tilburg (Spoorzone)
Entry Admission is free. It takes about 30 minutes to 'read a book'.
Speakers 'Human books', and lectures by Hans van Dijk, Alkeline van Lenning, Marion van den Heuvel, Willem Sleegers, Yvette van Osch, Ileen Verbeek, Rebecca Bogaers, Kim Janssens and Susanne Smits.
Organization Academic Forum, Bibliotheek Midden-Brabant, Animo, Complex
Contact Ingemarie Sam
*Certificate This activity may count towards the Academic Forum Certificate 2017-2018. You are expected to attend at least one lecture, and to read one human book. The report on this event should therefore at least cover these two elements in the program.
logo facebook academic forum Facebook: Human Library Tilburg

See also: Opening LocHal (Dutch).


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 program starts at 13:00 hrs. with an opening speech by Peter Kok (director of Midden-Brabant Library), Hedvig Niehoff (director Marketing and Communication, Tilburg University), and the story of Özcan Akyol. Assistant professor of Organization Studies Hans van Dijk will then teach a workshop in which he will explain by means of oranges how stereotyping works. After this opening, the “borrowing” of human books will start, as well as the program of lectures by a number of scholars on their research in the area of prejudice. See below for the program.


(click on a title: more information becomes visible)

Beyond stereotypes - Hans van Dijk (Dutch)

Beyond stereotypes - Hans van Dijk (Dutch spoken)

Social scientist Hans van Dijk is going to help us look beyond our stereotypes. In an exercise involving oranges, participants will gain a better understanding of the influence of stereotypes on how we see other people, and the advantages of such stereotypes. He will also offer concrete suggestions on how we can look beyond the stereotypes and get to know people around us better. These insights can be used in a variety of social situations and interactions, ranging from working with different colleagues in a team to dealing with underprivileged people in society.

Friday, January 25, 13:00 - 14:00 hrs. Location: KennisMakerij (LocHal).

Hans van Dijk

Hans van Dijk is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Organization Studies at the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences of Tilburg University. His research focuses on the relation between diversity, social equality, and achievement. He has done field research in various projects, at Shell, for instance, at the Federatie Cultuur (federation of employers in the arts/cultural organizations), and at TakeCareBnB. He received his PhD  cum laude in 2013 at the Department of Human Resource Studies of Tilburg University.

Prejudices with regard to feminism - Alkeline van Lenning (Dutch)

Prejudices with regard to feminism - Alkeline van Lenning (Dutch spoken)

Many women these days claim that, yes, they are emancipated, but, so they will hasten to add, they are not feminists of course. Since the radical feminism of the seventies, feminists are seen as men haters, unfeminine, angry, and hysterical. But feminists are no longer campaigning for public conveniences for women, they no longer bare their bellies to show they are, as the Dutch slogan went, ‘boss in their own belly’, nor do they pinch men’s bottoms in the streets like they did back then so that men would experience what that is like. These days, feminists are carving our careers for themselves. They dress for success, wear chic bras, shave their legs, and break into ‘male strongholds’. Alkaline van Lenning describes the transition from feminist ‘street fighting’ to modern feminists shaping and realizing their ideas in jobs, in education, and in politics. Feminists are not only fighting misogyny and inequality, but also homophobia or stereotypical ideas about gender. Why then is it that women as well as men are still criticizing feminism in such strong terms?

Friday, January 25, 14:15 - 14:45 hrs. Location: KennisMakerij (LocHal).

Alkeline van Lenning

Professor Alkeline van Lenning started out as Coordinator of Women’s Studies in 1982, at Tilburg University, or rather the Catholic University of Brabant, as it was called at the time. Since then she has had a long track record at the university. In the last fifteen years, she has combined teaching, in the Netherlands and abroad, with management, as Dean and Program Director of Liberal Arts and Sciences and as Director of Education at the School of Humanities. In her research, she has focused on gender differences in the division of labor in modern families, and the historical and cultural differences between Playboy Playmates of the Month.

On being wrong - Willem Sleegers (English)

On being wrong - Willem Sleegers (English spoken)

Researcher Willem Sleegers will give a short talk about how people respond when they discover that their beliefs are mistaken. People hold different beliefs about the world, themselves, and each other. However, many of these beliefs are incorrect. Examples include stereotypes, common misconceptions, and even grand world beliefs. A common finding in research on this topic reveals that people often respond to being mistaken in such a way that they maintain their original (incorrect) belief. In this talk, we will discuss research on the many ways that people respond that maintain their original beliefs, and when it is more likely for people to change their minds.

Friday, January 25, 15:00 - 15:30 hrs. Location: KennisMakerij (LocHal).

Willem Sleegers

Willem Sleegers is professor at Tilburg University School of Social and Behavioral Sciences. In his research, he focuses on assumptions. An assumption is something everybody accepts as a fact without asking for any evidence. For example: “Napoleon was a small man”. Everybody thinks that this statement is true. However, it isn’t. What happens with us when we find out that our assumptions turn out to be wrong? That’s what Sleegers is specialized in! He will tell you more about this in his presentation.

The development of prejudice in children - Marion van den Heuvel (Dutch)

The development of prejudice in children - Marion van den Heuvel  (Dutch spoken)

Do babies have a preference for their own race? At what age does thinking in stereotypes develop? How does this work in a child’s brain? How do you study this behavior in babies and young children? These questions and many more will be discussed by Assistant Professor Marion van den Heuvel of the Department of Cognitive Neuropsychology.

Friday, January 25, 15:45 - 16:15 hrs. Location: KennisMakerij (LocHal).

Marion van den Heuvel

Dr. Marion van den Heuvel is an Assistant Professor at Tilburg University in the Department of Cognitive Neuropsychology. She teaches social neurosciences and does research on how the baby- and child brain works. In her research, she focuses on young children’s emotional (brain) development in relation to the mother’s fear and depression during and after pregnancy, and the child’s bond with its parents. She is also interested in the effects of too little sleep on parents and children’s emotional brain.

Honor culture – Yvette van Osch (English)

Honor culture – Yvette van Osch (English spoken)

A brother who hurts his sister to save the family honor? Many Dutch people find honor-related violence incomprehensible, and many think that it only happens in non-Western cultures. However, various professionals, including police officers, legal professionals, and social workers, come across it on a daily basis. How can they deal with honor-related abuse if they cannot understand the phenomenon? Based on a new socio-psychological perspective, I will try to explain honor-related violence, also from a Western perspective.

Friday, January 25, 16:30 - 17:00 hrs. Location: KennisMakerij (LocHal).

Yvette van Osch

Yvette van Osch is an Assistant Professor at the Tilburg University Department of Social Psychology. Her research focuses on emotions across cultures, honor culture, gender differences on the work floor, stereotypes, and social exclusion. During her Bachelor's at Tilburg University, she was chairwoman of Complex, one of the two study associations that organize Human Library. Moreover, Yvette has won several education awards, for Best Teacher (2016) and Best Master’s Course (2017-2018).

Statelessness (lecture for adults) – Ileen Verbeek (Dutch)

Statelessness (lecture for adults)  – Ileen Verbeek (Dutch spoken)

A stateless person is defined as ‘a person who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law.’ In a legal sense, a  stateless person does not exist. If you do not hold a particular nationality, you are not recognized by any government. This means that you will not be able to get a passport or other documents, as a result of which you cannot travel (internationally). But it also means you do not have access to schooling, to health care, to the regular job market, and even that you will not be able to collect parcels from a pick-up point. In principle, there is no place anywhere in the world that you have the right to stay at, and every government expects you to leave the country. But leave to go where? Stateless people keep on having to explain to others that they have no nationality, explain that they are not lying, that they have done nothing wrong, and that they did not flush their passport down the toilet. As a result of all this, stateless people often feel ‘uprooted’, as if they lack an identity or personality. In her lecture, Ileen Verbeek talks about the far-reaching consequences of statelessness for the people involved, and about the prejudices held by many on statelessness.

Friday, January 25, 17:15 - 17:45 hrs. Location: KennisMakerij (LocHal).

Ileen Verbeek

Ileen Verbeek studied psychology, victimology, and international human rights at Tilburg University and Complutense University of Madrid up until 2016. Ze is currently affiliated to the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion in Tilburg.

Stigmatization and work – Rebecca Bogaers, Kim Janssens en Susanne Smits (Dutch)

Stigmatization and work  – Rebecca Bogaers, Kim Janssens en Susanne Smits (Dutch spoken)

People with psychological problems have fewer opportunities in the job market and experience problems finding and keeping paid work. Research shows that employers tend to be biased against them, and those seeking employment are faced with the dilemma whether or not to be open about their psychological health problems. In this lecture, we will go into the stigmas involved in mental health problems in the workplace and we will do so in an interactive way. Specific attention will be paid to stigmas prevalent in the armed forces, and in municipal rehabilitation practices.

Friday, January 25, 18:00 - 18:30 hrs. Location: KennisMakerij (LocHal).

Rebecca Bogaers, Kim Janssens en Susanne Smits

Rebecca Bogaers, Kim Janssens and Susanne Smits are PhD students at the Tranzo Academic Collaborative Center Mental Health Care of Tilburg University. Rebecca does research on the extent to which mental health problems are taboo or can be talked about in the armed forces, and how people suffering from these problems there go about seeking help. Kim does research on people with psychological problems and their search for paid jobs.

Human Library Tilburg Junior: Lezing over Kinderstaatloosheid door Ileen Verbeek (Dutch)

Human Library Tilburg Junior:

The girl that lost her country (lecture for children on statelessness) door Ileen Verbeek (Dutch spoken)

If you are not a national of any country in the world, this means you are stateless. It also means that you do not have a passport or other official document to prove that you belong in a particular country. This has enormous consequences. It means you cannot go to school, you cannot see a doctor, and you cannot go to hospital. But besides this, stateless children can feel excluded and unwelcome. This is what the children’s booklet ‘Het Meisje dat Haar Land Verloor’ - ‘The girl that lost her country’ - is about (to be downloaded via In her lecture, Ileen Verbeek talks about stateless children in the Netherlands and elsewhere in the world, and about the prejudices they encounter.

Friday, January 25, 16:00 - 16:30 hrs. Location: StemmingMakerij (LocHal).

This lecture is suitable for children from group 5 to 8 (Dutch spoken).

Other program

(click on a title: more information becomes visible)

Walk without Judging - Walk life coach Annemieke (Dutch)

Walk without Judging - Walk life coach Annemieke (Dutch spoken)

In a group walk “Walk without Judging”, you will experience how you can observe differently and how it feels to observe without prejudice.

I see
I hear
I smell
I taste
I feel

I find … mainly myself

Everyone perceives things. That is what our senses are for. We also interpret the things we perceive and everybody does so in different ways. That has to do with where and how you were raised, what you have experienced, and what your character is like. What you are is mainly expressed in your opinions. In your interpretation of what you observe, you will mainly find yourself.

Living room- Vittorio Persikan (English & Dutch)

Living room- Vittorio Persikan (English & Dutch spoken)

Vittorio is famous in Tilburg for his ‘living room’ at Piushaven, where he sells ice cream in summer and Persian delicacies and warm drinks all the year round. He likes to share his story as an Iranian refugee and stories of famous and less well-known authors and poets. During this Human Library edition, visitors to Human Library Tilburg are invited into his living room to come and eat or drink something good.

This event is supported by Stichting Steunfonds Katholiek Hoger Onderwijs.

Book titles

Meet some book titles here below

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

<< Click on the images below for more information >>

Criminal Mind

Criminal Mind

AEC syndrome

AEC syndrome

Tattoo Man

Tattoo Man

Facing adoption / BPD

Facing adoption / BPD



Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Muslim Traveler

Muslim Traveler

Lesbian with children

Lesbian with children

The odd one out

The odd one out



Blind Russian student

Blind Russian student



Syrian refugee

Syrian refugee



Drag queen Miss Baksel

Drag queen Miss Baksel

The Lunatic

The Lunatic

When: 25 January 2019 13:00

End date: 25 January 2019 18:30