He might be one of the biggest fans of TEDxSittard-Geleen; alderman Bert Kamphuis. At every event he’s spotted at a non-assigned front row seat, with a big smile on his face, eagerly waiting for what’s coming. Bert not only visits the events to be inspired; “In my work for the municipality of Sittard-Geleen, I continuously try to pass on the energy and inspiration to others. Many of the speakers are now part of my network and I keep in touch with them to keep the energy flowing”.


It all started a couple years ago at the first TEDx event in the South of the Netherlands; TEDxEutropolis, where Marc Maurer presented his Eutropolis concept for the Dutch, Belgian and German cross-border agglomeration in the Euregion Meuse-Rhine. Bert got addicTED to the TED-virus and since 2014, the Eutropolitan map has had a prominent position in his office, “as an eye-catcher and frequent topic of conversation”.

Last year he attended the first TEDxSittardGeleen event and was our biggest promotor on all social media. His favourite talk was the pitch of young Zuyd Hogeschool student Marc Sollet. “A young student who made the audience realize that the current educational system is insufficiently geared to dyslectic students. As a result of this, talents are not always fully exploited”. Marc not only received a long, standing ovation; he also started his own company and is advising his own teachers how to deal with dyslexia.


The Eutropolitan concept is still alive and kicking in Bert’s brains, as he would focus his own, potential TEDx talk “on the merits and opportunities of life, work, study and leisure activities in a cross-border area and the ways in which we could benefit from these advantages by increasing our citizens’ international awareness, competences and a more Euregional mindset.


Both the great success of the first edition and ideas for the upcoming events, make Bert enthusiastic; “I remember the end of the very first TEDx in Sittard-Geleen. I noticed that the speakers, the audience and the organisation displayed an enormous energy and positive flow, impressed by the inspiring talks. It was great to see and feel this energy! I really can’t wait for the upcoming events!”


With several TEDx events are already being held elsewhere in the Province of Limburg, one might raise doubts about the need for a TEDx event in Sittard-Geleen. But Bert is very optimistic about this; “TEDx attracts an audience with global minds, who like sharing innovative and mind-shifting concepts and ideas. The inspiration given by the talented speakers in a wide range of topics causes a domino effect. As a dynamic and entrepreneurial hub of innovation, business, industry, sport and education, the city of Sittard-Geleen greatly benefits from the TEDx events in its surroundings”.


By Jan Scheele – Curator / Co-Founder TEDx