Economy, Religion, Governance & Organisation

ERGO is an annual conference that connects economy, governance and organisation together with religion, philosophy and happiness. ERGO brings together scientists from various disciplines who work with different methods. The conference also focuses on professional practice, where scientific theoretical approaches are translated into actual practice. This approach is a reason that politicians, managers and entrepreneurs have all attended ERGO. Increasing (hyper)specialisations within disciplines and functions have increased the value of interdisciplinary meetings that connect theory and practice for our participants.


“The solutions for current issues are hidden at the intersection of different disciplines”


Lans Bovenberg at ERGO III, 2015


The spiritual fathers of ERGO are economists Harry Commandeur and Lans Bovenberg, and theologist Paul van Geest. These scientists aim to connect different fields of study. They recognise the power and beauty of their own discipline, yet realise that contemporary challenges demand input from other disciplines to reach a solution. They realised early on that the solution for these contemporary issues lie at the intersection of different disciplines, which is currently clouded by the fragmentation of sciences.

The added value Commandeur, Bovenberg, and Van Geest experienced through exchanging insights from economics and theology resulted in the organisation of the first ERGO symposium. This symposium invited duos of theologists and economists to shed light on four core themes: guilt, trust, love and happiness. Since then four symposia have been hosted at the Clipper in Amsterdam. ERGO has provided a platform for well-informed discussions that have been central to various projects and programs now endorsed by the Goldschmeding Foundation.

'Love can save the market' Monic Slingerland - Trouw, 17 September 2015 (in Dutch)


The topic in 2015 was Love and Happiness: what is the meaning of love for the economy? Discussions took place on trust and relations between companies and clients, and about subjects such as moral leadership and reforms in the financial sector.


The topic in 2016 was Hope and Labour. Lectures focused on the interaction between an increase in trust, and the realisation of a healthy labour market.


The focus in 2017 is on Organising, Trust, and Leadership. Lectures focus on trust in the financial sector, trust in science and trust in faith and religion. Topics that initally seem to contradict, such as money and belief, and leadership and insecurity, will also be included in the sessions.

Love is the driving force behind the organisation of our economy and society

In October 2017 the ERGO symposium will take place for the fifth time with a focus on ‘Organising, Trust, and Leadership’. As before, interesting presentations are on the agenda, and some sessions will also include speakers from abroad. Beside lecture sessions, the symposium provides opportunities for the exchange of best practices, interviews, reflections, and personal meetings. Chaired by Yvonne Zonderop, the first day will host a number of speakers that approach the concept of trust from different angles. The following morning, Govert Buijs will chair sessions on the practice of trust and leadership in public sectors. The afternoon session is chaired by Jan Peter Balkenende, in which speakers from abroad present their vision of trust.


Govert Buijs at ERGO IV, 2016


The spiritual fathers of ERGO