The Hannah Arendt Institute
in short

Bridging the gap between science and society

Our diverse and rapidly changing society offers us great opportunities while at the same time it presents us with concrete challenges. The Hannah Arendt Institute seeks to respond to these challenges and contribute to a stable society in which everyone feels involved. We do this by connecting scientific knowledge about diversity, urbanity and citizenship with the insights and experiences of policymakers, organisations and citizens. Together with them, we look for possible solutions that have a positive impact on the well-being of society.

Which challenges?

How can a local authority focus on social cohesion in neighbourhoods? What opportunities do new technologies offer to improve the quality of life in the city? How does an organisation focus on the multicultural employment market? The Hannah Arendt Institute tries to find answers to such questions. But not only that. Because the insights offered by science must also find their way to to society.

How do we want to have an impact?

  • We combine and create scientific research that offers a solution to concrete social problems.
  • We convert (sometimes rather technical) scientific research into practical tools and accessible materials: checklists, ‘good practices’, policy recommendations, audio-visual inspirational material, etc.
  • We bring together academics with the professionals and the general public so that they can learn from one another and actually get to work together.

Who are 'we'?

We are a partnership between VUB (University of Brussels), UA (University of Antwerp)  and the city of Mechelen. We determine our actions in consultation with both a social and a scientific council. Our non-profit association is supported by the Flemish Government and various partner organisations.

What's in a name?

Hannah Arendt advocated active citizenship in which plurality/the diversity of human expression, connectivity, critical thinking and open dialogue are essential. This is not only at the heart of a strong democracy, it is also important in our work: to make everyone participate in the debate and when building our society. We are inspired by Arendts’s ideas, but above all we continue to think for ourselves.

Which option do you choose?

Doing nothing is an option. But is it also your option? In any case, it is not the path we have chosen. So we focus on everyone who wants to make a critical-constructive contribution: citizens, policymakers, organisations… The more involvement, the better.  Talk to us, think with us or join us.

Talker, thinker or doer?

Then register for our newsletter immediately. We aim for debate, science and action.

In summary

Research. Rethink. React.


Well-substantiated research is central to our operations. Science, clearly presented, that is ready for use and at the service of society.


Thinking is dangerous. Not thinking is even more dangerous. We do not only give answers. We also question established assumptions.


Thinking is necessary, acting is crucial. We want our operations to culminate in action. But we also want your take on it. Because it is only in dialogue that we achieve mutual understanding.

More information?

Only a very limited part of our website is available in English, this doesn’t mean we can’t help you with questions or remarks. Feel free to contact us by means of the form on the right.

Hannah Arendt Institute, Grote markt 21, 2800 Mechelen, Belgium.

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