The Prof.mr. B.M. TeldersStichting is a Dutch liberal think tank affiliated to the VVD political party. The foundation is named after Benjamin Telders, who was a legal scholar and philosopher and chair of the Liberal State Party (a predecessor of the VVD party). During World War II he was arrested by German (Nazi) occupiers. He died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp shortly before The Netherlands were liberated.
The Prof.mr. B.M. TeldersStichting was founded in 1954 as a completely independent liberal think tank by a board under the chairmanship of Johan Witteveen, a professor in economics who was to become Vice-Prime Minister of The Netherlands in the 1960s and Director of the International Monetary Fund in the 1970s. In 1972, the Prof.mr. B.M. TeldersStichting established a link with the VVD, although as an organisation and in its policy formulation, the think tank remained independent. The current Chair of the Board is Robert Reibestein, who previously was partner of Mc Kinsey Consultancy. The current Director of the foundation is Patrick van Schie, a historian who wrote his dissertation on the history of Dutch liberalism from 1901 to 1940.
The Prof.mr. B.M. TeldersStichting publishes policy papers and books on all kinds of political and societal topics, from the market economy to environmental issues, from crime fighting to defence policy. In addition, together with a commercial book publisher, the foundation publishes books for a wide audience on the history of liberalism and its leaders, the political philosophy of liberalism and the leading thinkers in liberal (political and economic) theory. Each year, several conferences and seminars on various topics are organised. Also, an annual Telders Lecture is held. Talented students from Dutch (and Belgian) universities are selected to take part in the Prof.mr. B.M. TeldersStichting liberal summer school. The quarterly journal of the foundation is Liberale Reflecties, whose chief editor is Prof.dr. Marcel Wissenburg. The TeldersCommunity, an online platform for discussion as well as a digital library for all our publications was launched in 2014. Most of our publications and debates are in Dutch, although some are available in English.
The Prof.mr. B.M. TeldersStichting does not adhere to one particular variant of liberalism, though liberalism’s classical thinkers always appear to be an important source of inspiration. For us, the freedom of the individual is the most fundamental point. We therefore consider it essential that a free and democratic society, in which there is no accumulation of power and public power is always democratically controlled and legitimised (via checks and balances), continues. It is not the US-type of liberalism, as it has developed in recent decades, that we embrace, but a liberalism that is vigorously opposed to socialism, religion-based politics and other kinds of communitarianism.
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