Bildung in our educational practice -

25 October 2014
13.30 – 16.30
Concertgebouw Amsterdam

School of Civilization

Half a century ago in 1872, a young Friedrich Nietzsche attacked the educational system of his times in a series of lectures. The 27-year-old professor revealed an educational system completely permeated by the need to make profit; a school of civilization no longer in existence, because the spirit of true cultivation was now hated and feared. The ideal of a thriving culture had become that of the mass media: hollow, insipid and soulless, as dependable and durable as newsprint.

It would appear that the words of Nietzsche still apply to the educational system of our time, in which, dictated by economic interests, cultural Bildung has been bypassed. Is this educational crisis a result of a cultural crisis? How could we escape the tyranny of mediocrity? How should a ‘school of civilization’ be equipped, and what should be taught? How could we create an intellectual and artistic foundation for a true ‘school of civilization’, at which art and culture may flourish?

Baroque musician Jordi Savall, conductor Yoel Gamzou, journalist and writer Ariadne von Schirach, and theatre director Johan Simons discuss music, art and society.
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Full videos

Johan Simons on art, Sisyphus and sentiment during the Nexus Symposium School of Civilization.

Jordi Savall performs music of Karl Friedrich Abel, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Johan Schenck on the viola da gamba.

‘Books are agents of empathy. Books bring compassion.’

Published in

Journal Nexus

Nexus 67

School der beschaving

School der beschaving

Nexus asked the authors of Nexus 67 the following question: imagine that you teach at what Nietzsche calls ‘the school of civilization’. This Dutch publication contains thought-provoking answers to this question.


Israel, 1987

Yoel Gamzou

conductor and founder of the International Mahler Orchestra; completed Mahler’s Tenth

The Netherlands, 1990

Sywert van Lienden

political activist

Germany, 1979

Ariadne von Schirach

journalist, sociologist, psychologist

The Netherlands, 1946

Johan Simons

acclaimed theatre director

The Netherlands, 1966

Simon Reinink

managing director of The Royal Concertgebouw


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