Declaring Reason in Museum Meermanno

In the 2017 elections for the House of Representatives in the Netherlands, France and Germany, the European Union is put under unprecedented challenges and even threatened to its very existence. Reason enough to explore concepts of governance and understand the democratic legacy of our forefathers.

Declaring Reason is a collaboration between Museum Meermanno and the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (KABK) that presented the works of third year Graphic Design students who investigated the history of parliamentary democracy by means of books and manuscripts from the museum’s collection.

The results of this unique partnership were presented in the form of the exhibition Declaring Reason that opened on June 2nd, 2017 at Museum Meermanno.

photos by Roel Backaert

Books reviewed during the project included the Atlas Maior by Johannes Blaeu, the Tractatus Politicus by Spinoza, the Encyclopédie by Denis Diderot, the Social Contract by Jean Jacques Rousseau, Aan het Volk van Nederland (To the People of the Netherlands) by Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol and the Dutch constitution. The core objective was to contextualize these 17th and 18th century publications by understanding their historical relevance and connecting them to contemporary political scenarios. Each of the selected books has shaped our understanding of democracy in a particular way.

Declaring Reason was tutored by Niels Schrader and Lauren Alexander from the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, and included theory component tutoring by Maarten Cornel.

Participating students

Matyáš Bartoň, Hilde Barwegen, Nóri Békés, Leith Benkhedda, Kylièn Bergh, Paul Bille, Antonia Brell, Thijmen van Brunschot, Kiki Coster, Rudi van Delden, Niels van der Donk, Carmen Dusmet Carrasco, Vanessa Eck, Jan Egbers, Lukas Engelhardt, Elizaveta Glukhova, Michiel Heemskerk, Daniel Hernández Chacón, Saber Javanmard, Rebecca Joly, Ies de Jong, Daan Kars, Kerekes Dóra, Rik Laging, Iris Lam, Jungeun Lee, Anna Lenczewska, Zuzanna Loch, Andréas van der Mast, Kay Pisarowitz, Paw Poulsen, Taisiia Reshetnik, Guillaume Roux, Rebecca Rui, Josephine van Schendel, Theresa Scherrer, Marika Seo, Alexandra Sukhorukova, Lou Top, Lin Ven and Vrijs Wannes.

Project details


Museum Meermanno

Type of work

Installations, video, prints