(Maastricht, 1961) has been Secretary of State for European Affairs since February 2007. In that job he has made out a case for the improvement of international cultural relationships. 'Art and culture are... not the blob of cream on the cake but rather: man and society translated into form and reduced to their essence. And thus the heart of the matter,' he said recently in a speech. According to Timmermans it is of 'vital importance' to open the blinds to other cultures. Timmermans grew up in a diplomat family and studied French literature. He wrote his Ph.D. at the university of Nancy. A remarkable detail in his cv is the mention that both his grandfathers were miners. Before entering the government Timmermans was a Dutch Labour MP from 1998. Before that he worked as a diplomat and civil servant with the ministry of Foreign Affairs and was advisor to Max van der Stoel with the OCSE.
Archive available for: Frans Timmermans
On 27 July 2009 Michaël Zeeman died. He was only 50. His love of books and literature were unequalled. Books were his friends, his relatives, his loves. As a host Zeeman was attached to Winternachten for thirteen years. His death is not only a great loss for cultural life in the Netherlands, but for the festival as well. He leaves behind a gap which no-one can fill. But spiritually is he still with us. In Zeeman's Zealousness Bas Heijne talks to people from the world of the arts and politics about responsibility and inspiration; themes which were very dear to him. With poet/writer Antjie Krog, philosopher/writer Marjolijn Februari and foreign minister of state Frans Timmermans. Host: Bas Heijne. In Dutch