From 25 to 28 May 2017, the city of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, will host the 25th International Philosophy Olympiad (IPO).
The Organising Committee and our local and national partners are looking forward to receive candidates and philosophy teachers from some 50 countries around the world for this anniversary edition.
The International Philosophy Olympiad was first held in 1993 in Smolyan, Bulgaria, and has grown ever since. Its main event is a competition in which high school students write an original essay on a philosophical topic they may choose out of four prescribed themes. Prizes include gold, silver and bronze medals.
Rotterdam is proud to host IPO 2017 in a city that has not only been marked by history, but has also played an important role in the history of philosophy from the 1500s onwards.
Today, Rotterdam is a modern city, full of high rise buildings and futuristic architecture – a unique feature that has its background in the devastation brought upon the city during World War II. After the war, Rotterdam rapidly redeveloped, to become the biggest harbour in the world for many decades. Presently, the port of Rotterdam is still Europe’s biggest and the world’s fourth biggest harbour in terms of bulk shipment.
At the dawn of the Middle Ages, a much smaller city was the birthplace of Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (1466-1536), the famous Renaissance humanist who would, through his literary, moral and religious works, become the teacher of all sixteenth-century Europeans. Rotterdam later housed other philosophical celebrities, such as the English philosopher John Locke (1632-1704), the Dutch physician and political thinker Bernard Mandeville (1670-1733), and the French philosopher in exile Pierre Bayle (1647-1706), who was known in his own days as “the philosopher of Rotterdam”.
Not only to honour the famous philosophers who are its emblematic citizens, but also because, as a harbour to the world, the city is also a harbour to people of many different nationalities and backgrounds today, the Rotterdam edition of the International Philosophy Olympiad will carry the subject of Tolerance as its general theme.
Besides the essay competition, the programme of IPO 2017 will include educational and social events centred around the topic of Tolerance, as well as touristic excursions throughout the city and port.
Over the course of the coming months, this website will be the place to find all information about IPO 2017. It will serve as a database and communication portal offering an overview of all the events taking place from 25 to 28 May in Rotterdam.
It is my hope that, as with any Olympiad, IPO 2017 will contribute to the formation of new friendships between competitors and delegations and thereby strengthen personal ties within the growing community of philosophers around the world.
More than anything, I hope to be able to welcome you to Rotterdam this coming spring!
Professor Han van Ruler
Erasmus University Rotterdam