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Progressive Cafe: Designing a Pluralistic Digital Public Space in The Netherlands


This project aims to fight affective polarization and promote a pluralistic culture in the digital public space in The Netherlands. To realize this objective, the project will train 12 ambitious students and young professionals from various study and professional backgrounds to contribute to an inclusive digital public space.

These 12 students and young professionals will be selected via different platforms – including physical network and social media platforms. The project will organize a weekend (Paul Tang Academia) in which these young fellows will interact with researchers, practitioners, and policy makers.

During the weekend, they will learn about various normative positions on the public space and the role of digital platforms on democratic citizenship. Under professional guidance, they will also co-design future scenarios and policy frameworks that can help the Dutch public space to regain its autonomy from tech companies. The end goal of the weekend is to train a group of thought leaders that will promote a pluralistic public space in The Netherlands.

After the weekend, the young fellows will publish articles for the established Dutch Magazine, Vrij Nederland, and publish a podcast with different experts on the topic. They will receive professional guidance to realize these activities.

Further, they will organize an event (Progressief Café: Designing a Pluralistic Digital Public Space). The insights that they have generated during the podcast are articles that will be discussed with a broader audience. After the event, the fellow will write a policy paper that will be shared with the Dutch policy makers.

Together, they will develop a concrete policy framework (law) that the Dutch parliament can implement in its efforts to make the digital space inclusive and prevent the dominance of tech companies on the democratic culture.


Updated November 2022