TEDxGhent #5 | Celebration

Get ready for a day full of inspiration

At TEDxGhent, we believe there are plenty of reasons to celebrate. Not only is this our 5 year anniversary, but so many people are doing amazing things to inspire us and make our world a better place. We’ve invited a couple of them to give a talk on our stage. So let’s celebrate them together. We’ll spoil you with great speakers, good food, plenty of inspiration and a big surprise.

You’re guaranteed to learn and experience things you never thought of before with topics like city ecology, fossil fuels, education, freerunning, communication, artificial intelligence, entrepreneurship and more.

Join us for this celebration on June 13th.

Where? Muziekcentrum De Bijloke, Ghent
When? June 13th, from 10am to 6pm (doors open at 9h00).
Tickets? SOLD OUT


We are proud to introduce some of our speakers. More introductions will follow soon.

2015 FilipVandenAbeele3 zw

copyright © Thibault Grégoire, Read My Lips

Filip Van Den Abeele

Oil Depletion – Fuel for Thought

As we are eager to give you some fuel for thought, Filip Van Den Abeele will be joining us to talk about oil depletion and the consequences of that on our daily lives. Which form of energy will save our lives? How will cars and planes be powered? What if the oil runs out? And how about the effects on the climate? He will be providing us with hard facts and will take our current energy production under the microscope. Prepare for a dynamic presentation which will make the fog disappear from relevant figures…

Visit his website, or find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

2015 SebastienFoucan zw

Sebastien Foucan

A world without boundaries

This speaker is well-known for his appearance in the Casino Royale James Bond movie opening sequence. Being the founder of Freerunning, Sebastien Foucan believes that to find harmony and well-being, you need to be connected with the environment. Aiming for a world without boundaries, he takes us through his own circuits and moves to show us how we can improve our own well-being. Currently he is active as a motivational speaker, and teaches at the Foucan Freerunning Academy in London.

Visit his website. You can find him on Wikipedia and Twitter.

2015 GeertHeyneman zw

Geert Heyneman

From weeds to botanicals for a Gin

Have you ever made Gin out of weeds and invasive plants?
Geert Heyneman is going to provide us with his view on ecology in Ghent. Being a greenplanner and botanist, he focuses on nature in the city. Having followed courses on cooking and distilling, he made a gin out of what we would call weeds, to show us that actually no greens are lost in this city, and that we can use those plants to our advantage.

Visit his website. You can find him on LinkedIn.


2015 Laurine Burdorf zwLaurine Burdorf

PhD student at the Department of Ecosystem Studies (NIOZ-Yerseke)

Meet Laurine Burdorf – the winner of the TEDxGhent PhD contest 2015, where some of the masterminds of Ghent presented their research and competed for a spot on the TEDxGhent main stage. Trained as a (marine) biologist at KU Leuven and UPMC Paris, she started her PhD in 2013 at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) in Yerseke. As part of a research-team at the NIOZ and VUB she studies the intriguing electric cable bacteria that are present throughout the seafloor. Within her PhD Laurine has tried to elucidate in which environments electric cable bacteria thrive – from large-scale global distribution to small-scale lab created environments.

In her talk ‘Electricity in the seafloor’ she will elaborate on the efficiency of this electron transport, and how it opens up future application in bio- and nanotechnology.

To learn more about Laurine and her project visit her page on microbial-electricity.eu.

2015 Matthias Stevens zwMatthias Stevens

Citizen participation at the extremes

Matthias Stevens is a computer scientist with a passion for maps, mobile apps and community-centric projects aimed at tackling socio-economic and environmental injustices, from European cities to remote rainforests. Since 2012 he works as a post-doctoral researcher at University College London (UCL).

Before, as a PhD student at VUB and the Sony Computer Science Lab in Paris, Matthias co-founded NoiseTube – a platform which enables anyone with smartphone to contribute to dynamic maps of urban noise pollution.

At UCL, Matthias leads the ExCiteS group’s effort to design, develop, evaluate and deploy a generic (software) platform that enables people with no or limited literacy – in the strict and broader technological sense – to use smartphones and tablets to collect, share, visualise and analyse data. In his talk Matthias will explain how this platform fits in the group’s strategy the enable vulnerable communities to document and communicate about the environmental or socio-economic issues they face.

Visit his page on the website of UCL, or find him on LinkedIn.

2015 EllendeBruin zwEllen de Bruin

Business meetings are evil

Ellen de bruin will be joining us for a talk on why we shouldn’t go to business meetings. Ellen is a science reporter at the Dutch twin newspapers NRC Handelsblad en nrc.next. She has a phd in psychology and mainly covers social sciences and human behavior.
She has written a few books: Dutch Women Don’t Get Depressed (2007) and Onsterfelijkheid voor beginners (Immortality, A Beginners’ Guide, 2009). In 2014 she published her latest book Vergaderen? Niet Doen! (Don’t Go To Business Meetings), a book listing all that is bad about business meetings, underpinned by scientific research.

It’s not a book on how to do meetings more efficiently, it is a book against pointless and boring meetings. According to her you shouldn’t go to meetings at all. She says meetings are an attack on freedom, creativity, joy of life, and they cost too much time, energy and money. They are too institutionalized, the kill productivity and they never meet their goals.

Visit her website, or find her on Twitter.

2915 TineHens zwTine Hens

Let’s re-do the economy

Tine Hens is an independent journalist for the Belgian newspaper De Standaard, Humo and Knack, and a writer. She is the author of Oorlog in tijden van vrede (War in time of peace) – a book on the memory of the First World War. Tine’s most recent book, Het Klein Verzet (Small resistance), tells an extraordinary story of ordinary people from Denmark to Greece who are trying to re-think and re-do the economy-as-we-know-it. They are the rebels of today that came to realize that you can change a lot by small actions.

In her talk, Tine will elaborate on this idea, and fight a common perception of economy as something that is beyond people’s control. Instead, she will argue that it is actually about good life, and now it is time to reclaim the economy, to free the market, to re-do the economy-as-we-know it and to start cooperating in many different ways instead of just competing.

You can find her on Twitter.

2015 ErikRietveld zwErik Rietveld

Sitting kills, support standing

Erik Rietveld is a philosopher and Veni- and Vidi- laureate of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). He works as a Senior Researcher at the University of Amsterdam and was earlier a Fellow in Philosophy at Harvard University. Erik Rietveld publishes regularly in renowned international journals such as Mind, Inquiry, Phenomenology & The Cognitive Sciences and Behavioral & Brain Sciences.
Erik is also a founding partner of RAAAF – Rietveld Architecture-Art-Affordances. RAAAF makes location- and context specific work. The multidisciplinary studio has developed the approach of ‘strategic interventions’, which derives from the respective backgrounds of Erik and the other founding partner, Prix de Rome Architecture laureate Ronald Rietveld.

At TEDxGhent 2015 Erik will share with us RAAAF’s recent creation – the installation called ‘The End of Sitting’. It is a new spatial thinking model, which shows the possibilities of radical change for the working environment, and invites us to explore different standing positions in an experimental work landscape.

Visit his website.

2015 PieterBonte zwPieter Bonte

If doping is wrong, why do we love Popeye?

Pieter Bonte is one of the finalist of TEDxGhent PhD Contest, where he challenged the common perception of doping as fundamentally wrong. Pieter studied philosophy and law in Ghent and Brussels and spent much of the previous year in Oxford, Yale, Montréal and the Hastings Center. On our main stage Pieter will invite you to rethink anti-doping zero-tolerance and make moral progress. He argues that the love of talent and hatred of doping may be a way in which we are still aristocratic: adoring those who were born better and whose superiority is inheritable. Calling for resistance against such ‘talentocracy’, he invites everyone to stop the hate against those who dope their body in adequately healthy, fair, and effortful ways – just like Dopeye did.

Visit his page on UGent’s Academia website. You can find him on LinkedIn.


Leo Hollis

Who Is The City For?

Writer, historian and urbanist, Leo Hollis believes that cities are constructed from people rather than buildings, and in this talk he will explore the future of the city and the need for what he calls “Social Urbanism.” Using examples from across the world, he suggests that we should consider citizenship when thinking about city-making, and pay attention to issues like trust, equality and sustainability as much as to technology, economics or design.

Hollis is the author of books on London and Paris, and his recent one “Cities Are Good For You: the Genius of the Metropolis” has become an international bestseller. He writes for a number of publications including the Guardian (UK) and Shareable.net.

Visit his website. You can find him on Twitter.

Photo_FrancescaRossi zw

Francesca Rossi

The present and future of artificial intelligence

Francesca Rossi is a professor of computer science at the University of Padova, Italy. Her research interests focus on artificial intelligence (AI), with a particular emphasis on preference modeling and reasoning, constraint processing, multi-agent systems, and voting theory. Rossi aims to generalize the scope and goals of sentiment analysis in order to understand preferences over several correlated items. She proposes to do so by exploiting and adapting notions and techniques from AI (such as knowledge representation, natural language processing, reasoning with uncertainty, and machine learning) and voting theory. On our stage she will share with us some findings of her research and elaborate on the present and future of AI.

Rossi has published over 170 papers in international conferences or journals, edited 16 volumes, and co-edited the Handbook of Constraint Programming.

Visit her website.



Music with trash

Trashbeatz is the most ecofriendly band in the world. They play music with instruments made out of trash. With the workshop ‘Music with Trash’, with street performances and concerts the band toured all around Belgium. On our stage they will share their view on ecology and proof that there is music inside of trash. Trashbeatz shows that music, ecology and innovation can go hand in hand.

Visit Trashbeatz’ website, or find them on Twitter.


2015 JeanLucDoumont zw

Jean-luc Doumont

Personal efficiency: desirable and achievable

Jean-luc Doumont, an engineer from the Louvain School of Engineering and a Ph.D. in applied physics from Stanford University, is a world-acclaimed expert on scientific communication. He is a popular instructor and is known for his no-nonsense approach, and for his highly applicable, often life-changing recommendations on a wide range of topics. He is also the author of Trees, Maps, and Theorems, a book on “effective communication for rational minds.”

That said, Jean-luc has ideas about how to live your life more efficiently in the fast paced world we live in today. Of course, books and websites offer so many tips on how to be more productive, but, perhaps, too many for us to absorb and act upon efficiently. In an effort to bring all these otherwise useful tips into a coherent strategy, he proposes a simple but solid model; through his talk he will illustrate this model in action with a diversity of examples and personal anecdotes.

Visit his website, or find him on LinkedIn.

2015 JoaoPedrodeMagelhaes zw

João Pedro de Magelhães

slowing down ageing

João Pedro de Magalhães is a senior lecturer at the University of Liverpool and leads the Integrative Genomics of Ageing Group. He holds a degree in Microbiology from the Escola Superior de Biotecnologia in his hometown of Porto (Portugal), and then obtained his PhD from the University of Namur in Belgium, where he worked in the Ageing and Stress Group led by Dr Olivier Toussaint. Following a postdoc with genomics pioneer Prof George Church at Harvard Medical School, in 2008 Dr de Magalhaes joined the University of Liverpool.

His research focuses on understanding the genetic, cellular, and molecular mechanisms of ageing and he is involved in studying species with exceptional longevity. On our stage de Magalhães will share with us the latest developments in his research studies and will answer the most heated question: What is aging and how do we prevent it? He will help to unlock the realities of a world where we can manipulate the biological machinery of aging.

Visit his website, or find him on Twitter.

michael van damme zw

Michaël Van Damme


Michaël Van Damme is one of the finalist of the TEDxGhent PhD contest 2015. He works at the Department of Personnel Management, Work and Organizational Psychology, and his research focuses on how to teach people to communicate their ideas in a more effective and convincing manner. His scientific results already show that the way an idea is presented has three times more impact on an audience than the actual content of an idea. It parallels how the melody of a song sticks more with people than the actual lyrics.

Michaël combined his personal experience as an improviser and stand-up comedian with insights from his scientific research, and on our stage he will be on a mission to get qualitative ideas out in the open, and will present his method that he himself calls ‘comedycation.’

Bart Van Der Roost zw zw

Bart Van Der Roost

Connecting entrepreneurship and art

Bart Van der Roost, music and information technology aficionado turned entrepreneur, is CEO of neoScores, one of the most praised Belgian start-ups which created ‘the iTunes of Sheet Music’, a digital alternative to sheet music. Combining his passion for music with entrepreneurship, Bart’s endeavors have been recognized nationally and worldwide: only a few months after founding the start-up, it was announced to be the most promising start-up of 2013 by the Flemish Chamber of Commerce, and a year after, Start-up Nationals Summit chose it as the world’s second most promising start-up. Come listen to how Bart has connected the world of art and music to the world of entrepreneurship and learn from those who can and do!

Visit the website of neoScores, or find Bart on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Elegnano The Designer Katrien 2014 zw

Katrien Herdewyn

High Tech in High Heels

Extravagant shoes and modern technology – how do these go together? The answer to this question will be given by Katrien Herdewyn who is a civil engineer producing exclusive top quality women’s shoes. Combining her passion for shoes and science, Katrien is the creator of fascinating women shoes that not only look amazing but are produced using quality materials and latest technologies that assure the shoes are water-repellent and self-cleaning. This young Belgian’s accomplishments have brought her a nomination for the Global Footwear Design Award in 2013, and a finale in the prestigious Muuse x Vogue Talents – Young Vision Award Accessories 2014. Realizing her childhood dreams, Katrien established her very own shoe label Elegnano, recently presenting her first commercial collection. Need we say more? Come listen to this fascinating lady!

Visit Elegnano’s website, or find Katrien on Twitter.

2015 Lieven Standaert zw

Lieven Standaert

Prototypes, not powerpoint 

Lieven Standaert is a coördinator and teacher at Fablab Brussels – an open-access prototyping lab at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. He designed and built open-source CNC-machines at timelab, and is a long-time proponent of open-source hardware. Lieven also teaches a course in practical prototyping, and this year his students were asked to design and build a working Jenga-playing robot. This resulted in the first Robot Jenga competition held on May 21st 2015, and he will bring these robots to TEDxGhent for you to play with.

In his talk Lieven will explain why and how the 3D-printers, milling machines and laser cutters in his lab are lowering barriers to innovation for a wide range of disciplines, and what we can expect from low-cost, multidisciplinary innovation, design and engineering over the next couple of years.

Find him on LinkedIn.

2015 davidtroch (c) patrickhenry zw

foto: Patrick Henry

David Troch

What about poetry?

David Troch is the city poet of Ghent. Besides poetry, he writes prose and plays. His poetry collections are called ‘Laatavondtaal’, which stands for ‘Late Evening Language’, and ‘Buiten Westen’ – ‘Unconscious’. With ‘Gezel’ (‘Companion’), the first poem from his second collection, he won the Herman de Coninck Award (de Herman de Coninckprijs) for best poem. Soon after, with the poem ‘Wij Waren Geen Jongens’ (‘We Were Not Boys’), he won another poetry prize – the Turing National Poetry (de Turing Nationale Gedichtenwedstrijd).

David believes that we are surrounded by poetry, and the world around us is a rhyme of words and the lyrics of sounds. We read poetry with every engagement with the nature that surrounds us. Thus, he will not buy the statement ‘I never read poetry.’

Visit his website, or find him on Twitter.


9:00 – 10:00

Arrival at De Bijloke


10:00 – 12:00

Sebastien Foucan

Francesca Rossi

Geert Heyneman

Erik Rietveld

Tine Hens

David Troch


12:00 – 13:45



13:45 – 15:45


Leo Hollis

Michaël Van Damme

Lieven Standaert

Matthias Stevens

Ellen de Bruin

Filip Van Den Abeele


15:45 – 16:30

Coffee break


16:30 – 18:00

João Pedro de Magalhães

Bart Van de Roost

Laurine Burdorf

Katrien Herdewyn

Pieter Bonte

Jean-Luc Doumont


18:00 – 19:30



Tickets for this year have all been sold!

Inspiration pass

A full day of inspiration. With plenty of food (for thought).

Join us for both the morning session and afternoon sessions. We welcome you in the morning and load you up with inspiration immediately. Our speakers will guide you through known and unknown topics and leave you with food for thought. So, during lunchtime we’ll provide you with a healthy lunch as food for your stomach. In the afternoon, we have 2 more sessions, only interrupted by a small coffee break.

Insider pass

An Insider pass is an extra way to show your support for TEDxGhent and our mission.

You’ll get a special behind-the-scenes look and are invited to our networking reception. The Insider pass is offered exclusively to businesses and will be invoiced.


We’re very happy to host the 5th edition of TEDxGhent in the beautiful Bijloke concert hall.

Please enter De Bijloke through the STAM entrance at the Godshuizenlaan (read here how to get there). The road to TEDxGhent will be clearly marked.