On Thursday 26 August we organised the Niels Stensen Conference, which took place in Driebergen. A hybrid conference, in which plenary sessions of 50 physically present participants were broadcasted via a livestream to a group of online participants.

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Niels Stensen Conference 2021: The Use of data in Society

Science, conspiracies and polarisation


After the welcome speech, the keynote speaker, EU Parliamentarian Paul Tang, showed us what concerns there are at the European level and what measures governments should take. A complex problem where not only the government should take responsibility, but also the scientists.

After his we had an inspiring and interesting four-talk including Q&A with Dr. Han van Krieken with Dr. Paul Tang, NSF alumnus Dr. ir. Alain Starke and NSF alumnus Dr. Catalina Goanta.

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After our lunchbreak, there were four workshops which were also conducted in hybrid form:

  • Workshop 1: 'Conspiracy Thinking' by Prof. Dr. Stef Aupers
  • Workshop 2: 'Digital Targeting and Polarization in Social Media' by Dr. Sanne Kruikemeier
  • Workshop 3: Fairness and the Right to Non-discrimination by Prof. dr. Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius
  • Workshop 4: 'Democratic Control Of Algorithms' by Drs. Kees Verhoeven


The theme challenged the attendees enormously. The harmful effects of fake news and filter bubbles in social media were discussed, as well as the increase in polarization and conspiracy thinking.

We ended the day with music, drinks, a vegetarian BBQ, entirely in style with our global footprint objective and a dinner speech by Pim Korsten, Researcher & Strategist at FreedomLab - A Conversation About Data Usage In The Future !

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