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How would you define fulfilment and

church of St Thomas in Zuidas for a long time, and

community spirit?

I fill in for the minister on Sundays once a month,

Many people associate words like ‘spiritual’ with

but that is completely separate from what I do at

new age vagueness. I think it means being able

De Nieuwe Poort. Faith does play a social role. In

to reflect and involve oneself on a deeper level.

the US, religious institutions have evolved much

This is what we are trying to achieve in De Nieuwe

more in that respect and are active in areas like

Poort. Recently, a member of one of the discussion

community spirit, spirituality and reflection. We

groups asked a question about whether what is

read the Bible as one of the books, but we see it as

good for a client is also beneficial to society.

a work of literature. It’s not about Jesus or God but

Reflecting on specific questions like this one and

about Biblical humanistic themes. What makes a

discussing the answers create a sense of spiritual

human being a human being? What is stopping

purpose. In a world of competition, of putting

you from becoming who you really are? These are

the self before the other, people want to feel a

basic things, so basic indeed that we often forget

connection with others that is not based on what

to stop and think about them.

they can do for you. I feel community spirit is about this connectedness and that includes people who have ‘not made it’ in life. How did you notice this need for spirituality? Each year I recount the Easter and Christmas stories in the church of St Thomas. As I tell these stories I reflect on our times. The numbers attending these gatherings are such, that I surmised that there must be a need for a deeper meaning. People, many of whom live locally and work in Zuidas, often come to the church because they have heard about the event from others. Golden Calf

Do the people working in Zuidas have the time to reflect on philosophical issues?

One of the aims of De Nieuwe Poort is to

Good question. Why would people, who work all

build a more humane society. Is Zuidas

day, have a relationship, children and a social life,

not humane enough?

want to make time to come here? People have to

Many workers and employers in Zuidas play a

get rid of the idea of the take-away. If you take a

specific role. They are bankers, lawyers, advisors.

training course you know what you have learnt at

These are good parts to play and in a different

the end of it. At De Nieuwe Poort the take-away

way I myself play a part, too. But playing a part

idea remains in the background. It’s more of a

can produce some unwanted side effects. People

process. The effect of the lectures and talks only

often confuse the person with the part. At De

makes itself felt later on. You mustn’t come and

Nieuwe Poort we give people the chance to

expect instant enlightenment after one night.

become a person again. One way of doing this is by organising a lunch break. During these breaks

Do the church or religion play a part

people step away from the part they are playing

at De Nieuwe Poort?

and become themselves. I don’t want to moralise:

Talks about religeous beliefs are not encouraged.

I’m a clergyman and that is a role, too. But it is

This place is about other things. De Nieuwe Poort

good for the soul to go back to basics every once

is a foundation that is defined as an institution

in a while.

promoting ‘general benefit’. I am originally a theologist and clergyman and have worked in the

Text: Romy Lange • Photography: nadiafotografeert


Hello Zuidas #9  
Hello Zuidas #9  

Hello Zuidas September/Oktober 2013