Van Abbe debate - For students who dare to ask questions


Van Abbe debate For students who dare to ask questions

10:00 - 16:00

This event will be in Dutch! 

The next Van Abbe debate will take place on 5 April, 2019. It is the only tournament where students do not compete with each other, but discuss societal, cultural, political, ethical and philosophical issues together.


For all HAVO and VWO students from class 4 onwards who dare to ask questions and are not satisfied with quick answers. Teams of 6 students participate. Teams are supervised by one or two supervising teachers.


The Van Abbe debate is a competition in speaking, listening and thinking. The participants will be immersed in social, political, cultural and philosophical questions. They do not need to prepare themselves beforehand.


Each team conducts three rounds per round: a classic debate of 4 minutes and 2 cooperative debates (cobats) of 10 minutes each. The classic debate is a warm-up. The teams receive an improvisation theorem. Well-known and unknown Dutch people lead this statement with a short, inspiring story. Sometimes they will use an element from the current exhibition in the Van Abbe. Needless to say that the statement is always an interesting and topical issue. The two teams are told whether they are for or against the statement. They have a few minutes to prepare their arguments.

The first cooperative debate starts with exactly the same issue as the classic debate. The guest speaker now links a question to his story instead of a statement. The teams start with that question: together they try to acquire as much insight as possible. The participants make use of each other's reactions and questions. A cooperative debate is a debate in which you do not fight against each other but with each other. The winner will be the team that makes the sharpest contribution in the joint search for new questions and answers. The second cooperative debate is similar in structure to the first one. The teams will speak in response to a new position.

Questions, contact or a training book? Visit the site: (website in Dutch)

Do you want to attend the debates for free? Then sign up by sending an email to