How would you define fulfilment and
church of St Thomas in Zuidas for a long time, and
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
Published on Aug 26, 2013