28 June 2019 from 13:00 to 19:00

Living on a finite planet – Alternatives to economic growth

1st Utrecht Degrowth Symposium

Snail. Credit: iStock.com/Sander Meertins
Credit: iStock.com/Sander Meertins

The first Utrecht Degrowth Symposium will be held at Utrecht University on Friday 28 June. It is a timely opportunity to consolidate the emerging degrowth platform in the Netherlands with international experts from various disciplines.

Degrowth is a social movement and academic field that envisions pathways to a sustainable future. These pathways include a democratic and redistributive downscaling of the material size of the global economy, a measure that would allow societies to stay within the reproductive limits of ecosystems. Originated in the early 2000s, degrowth is now widely researched and practiced across Europe. However, not all experts support the idea of degrowth and argue that sustainability can be achieved through innovations that contribute to economic growth. This Degrowth Symposium aims to spark a research-based discussion on this much-debated topic.

At the symposium we invite academia and civil society to discuss degrowth:

  • What is degrowth?

  • What does degrowth mean in practice?

  • What is the academic and societal debate on degrowth about?

  • Is degrowth a sustainable alternative to a society dependent on economic growth?

  • Is this solely a discussion for the Global North, or also for the Global South?

Expect an afternoon with international keynote speakers from academia and civil society, a panel debate and lively interactions.

Credit: iStock/com/feellife


13:00 Doors open & music
13:20 Welcome


Degrowth as a project for societal transformation: its science and its relevance
Lecture by Dr Barbara Muraca, University of Oregon (with Q&A)  


Degrowth in the Global South: scientific and policy perspectives
Lecture by Dr Julien-François Gerber, International Institute of Social Studies (with Q&A)  


Interactive break: What does degrowth mean to you? 


Degrowth in practice: examples from Germany
Lecture by Nina Treu, Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie (with Q&A)


Prospects for degrowth: a discussion
Panel discussion with Kris de Decker (Lowtech Magazine), Nina Treu (Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie), Ties Temmink (Extinction Rebellion)

17:35 Closing




Moderators: Dr Giuseppe Feola and Ana Poças.


Utrecht University researchers work together with colleagues from other universities and civil society at the Dutch degrowth platform to study and discuss degrowth in a transdisciplinary way. The symposium is organised by:

PhD Candidate
PhD Candidate
Research and Education Assistant


The symposium is supported by Pathways to Sustainability, and the Utrecht Sustainability Lectures (Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development).

Start date and time
28 June 2019 13:00
End date and time
28 June 2019 19:00