The Freethinkers’ Space was an exhibition space created in July 2008 by the Dutch conservative-liberal People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the ultranationalist Freedom Party (PVV) in their party offices in the national parliament building of The Netherlands in The Hague. The aim of the Freethinkers’ Space was to offer a platform for artists who were affected by what the initiators termed as “Islamic censorship” and who, in the VVD's and PVV's view, were not represented – or protected – by existing art institutions. In 2010, the Freethinkers’ Space was closed when the conservative-liberals forged a government with support of the ultranationalists, claiming that freedom of expression could now be protected through government once more.
Following its closure, municipal representative of the liberal-democratic Democrats 66 Rogier Verkroost (D66 Eindhoven) and Green Party MP Jesse Klaver (GroenLinks) called upon re-opening the space. Both politicians stated that the installment of the new government did not put an end to questions concerning art and censorship. For the project Freethinkers’ Space Continued they each curated their own exhibition and presented a Freethinkers’ Lecture in the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, exploring the conflictuous relationship between art and politics with regards to creative expression.
GroenLinks and D66 extended the challenge to other political parties to create their own Freethinkers’ Space. Amsterdam's Labor Party alderman Carolien Gehrels (PvdA) responded to this call by creating a Freethinkers’ Space in contemporary art center De Appel in Amsterdam.
The Freethinkers’ Space of Democrats 66 included works of Rockstar Games, Autechre, Ruch Palikota, and Madonna. The Freethinkers’s Space of the Green Party included works of Mark Rutte, Robert Oey, Jeroen Henneman, and Lidwien van der Ven. The Freethinkers’ Space of the Labor Party included works of Thomas Hirschhorn, Nicolas Dings, Hans van Houwelingen, Emanuel Boekman, and Carolien Gehrels.
Jonas Staal, based on a concept by Jesse Klaver (Green Party) and Rogier Verkroost (Democrats 66).
Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (NL)
De Appel, Amsterdam (NL), Mondriaan Fonds, Amsterdam (NL), Promoveren in de Kunsten, Amsterdam (NL), PhDArts, The Hague (NL)