Freedom of Religion, Tolerance and Neutrality:
An Ambiguous Trinity?

Conference on 21 May 2024 (in Dutch)

Freedom of Religion seems to be guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, is this formal, legally recognized freedom enough to ensure freedom in reality? Does the neutral secularity of the state enable free exercise of religion or does it filter religious traditions from the social fabric? Is religion a primary good like a mother language? Or is it rather a membership without obligation, comparable to a sports club membership? Can one express his/her religious conviction freely or is it limited to the private sphere? How does the neutral state safeguard the (minority) voice of believers in the public domain and their right to representation and acknowledgment?

During this study day, these questions will be addressed by key note speakers Mariëtta van der Tol (Lincoln College, University of Oxford), Sophie van Bijsterveld (Radboud University Nijmegen), Jogchum Vrielink (UCLouvain Saint-Louis Bruxelles), Samira Azabar (Radboud University Nijmegen) and Frans van Daele (European Commision). The lectures are in Dutch.

Date & Time

21 May 2024
4.30 – 8.30 pm UTC+2


University of Antwerp – Hof van Liere
F. de Tassis room
Prinsstraat 13, 2000 Antwerp


The registration fee is 30 euro.
Free entrance for students.
Please register online before 14 May 2024.


4.00 p.m.

Registration with coffee

4.30 p.m.

Welcome by Stijn Latré (UCSIA)

4.35 p.m.

Considering Tolerance: Questioning the Place of “the Other” in Society

Mariëtta van der Tol, Lincoln College, University of Oxford

5.15 p.m.

Freedom of Religion – From a Self-Evident Right to an Uncomfortable Right

Sophie van Bijsterveld, Radboud University Nijmegen

5.55 p.m.

Break (sandwich buffet included)

6.20 p.m.

Freedom of Religion: From Trump Card to Unlucky Card

Jogchum Vrielink (UCLouvain Saint-Louis Bruxelles)

7.00 p.m.

Double Standards. Which Limits to the Freedom of Religion?

Samira Azabar (Radboud University Nijmegen)

7.40 p.m.


with Samira Azabar (Radboud University Nijmegen), Sophie van Bijsterveld (Radboud University Nijmegen), Mariëtta van der Tol (Lincoln College, University of Oxford), Jogchum Vrielink (UCLouvain Saint-Louis Bruxelles), moderated by Hans Geybels (Logia)

8.00 p.m.


Frans van Daele (European Commision)

8.30 p.m.




University Centre Saint-Ignatius Antwerp


Christian-inspired think tank with over 180 experts who interfere with the general media


Koningstraat 2
B-2000 Antwerpen
Tel. +32 (0)3 265 49 60

Voorlopige locatie tijdens de renovatiewerken:
Blindestraat 14, 2000 Antwerpen