Bedoeld is: antroposofie in de media. Maar ook: in de persbak van de wijngaard, met voeten getreden. Want antroposofie verwacht uitgewrongen te worden om tot haar werkelijke vrucht door te dringen. Deze weblog proeft de in de media verschijnende antroposofie op haar, veelal heerlijke, smaak, maar laat problemen en controverses niet onbesproken.

maandag 9 november 2009


Het komt door het bericht gisteren over Leo de la Houssaye, dat hij twintig jaar gewerkt heeft als medewerker van het NPI. Ik wilde vandaag wel eens weten hoe het met het NPI is. Toevallig stuitte ik op een tekst die ik verrassend helder en duidelijk vond, met veel details, over de geschiedenis van deze instelling voor organisatieontwikkeling. Te vinden op een blijkbaar verlaten website van de ‘Association for Social Development’. Joost mag weten wie die geschreven heeft. Namen worden vrijwel niet vermeld. Of komt het alleen doordat het publieke gedeelte klein is, en het ledengedeelte volledig wordt afgeschermd? Die indruk krijg ik echter niet, eerder het tegendeel.

Hoe dan ook, in ‘What is the Association for Social Development about?’, gesierd met een pontificaal portret van Bernard Lievegoed, wordt eerst verteld wat deze groepering inhoudt.


The Association for Social Development was founded in 1987. The members of the Association consult professionally to organisations in a world-wide context. We have different approaches and different inspirations, but what we share are inspirations out of the spiritual scientific work of Rudolf Steiner, and an intention to link ourselves to the social development impulse initiated by Bernard Lievegoed. The emphasis of our work lies in consultancy, training and research relating to all aspects of organisation development, group development, and individual development.

We work with – and between – organisations and communities, groups and individuals, primarily within working life. Our attempt is always to stimulate healing forces in people and organisations, so that both can develop further. We strive towards a healthy interrelationship between the spiritual, human and material aspects of social organisms.

Members of the Association are developmentally orientated professionals who commit themselves to work towards its aims, recognise each other as professionally competent, and strive to develop this competence further. Where possible, members connect themselves with a group of colleagues who are committed to further each other's development. To work with a group of colleagues working out of the same spiritual background is an important aspect of our social impulse. The members of the group also support each other in their development as human beings.

Aims of the Association

a. To promote the exchange of research findings and experiences, towards the further development of our profession.
b. To allow members to support and co-operate with each other in working with clients.
c. To strengthen the spiritual and ethical bases of our work.
d. To connect the regional orientation of members based in different parts of the world, with a global consciousness

How we function

Our Association is not a multi-national with headquarters or working capital, nor does it aim to make a profit. Everything depends on the goodwill of members. We only have a bank account for operational expenses, and a travel fund to assist members in attending our conferences, if required. We have a Facilitating Group of four members, who prepare and organise the general meetings. They also compile a report of these meetings, and write two or three letters each year. “The Facilitating Group should facilitate more and do less”, as a member once said. It operates as the heart of our Association, and keeps everyone fully aware.

Every year we have a conference, during which we exchange experiences from our working lives, study questions and evaluate themes relating to our profession in depth, and meet each other through artistic activities, group discussions and personal contacts. During the year some cooperation also takes place between members of different regions, at seminars or in projects.’

Na deze eenvoudige introductie volgt nu het uitvoerige historische verhaal, onder de titel History of the Association:

First period (1954-1971)

The social impulse underlying the Association for Social Development was initiated by Bernard Lievegoed. As early as 1948 he was asked by an anthroposophist to give a lecture at a national conference on the human and social consequences of industrialisation. In this way, managers got to know him. At that time the Netherlands was still an agricultural nation, and Lievegoed was a psychiatrist and director of a curative home.

Another root was an anthroposophical group studying social questions: The “sociaal pedagogische studiegroep” in Amsterdam. Coen van Houten, Jack Moens, Lex Bos, Koos Kraak and Hans von Sassen were members. They invited Lievegoed to share his thoughts with them, and in this way he met the first members of his institute. At the first meeting of this new institute on 21 January 1953, before the legal foundation in 1954, he spoke about his social-pedagogical orientation.

In the beginning, the NPI (Netherlands Pedagogical Institute) members did not make a distinction between their work in the Netherlands and abroad. Bernard Lievegoed, Koos Kraak, Gert-Jan Avelingh, Lex Bos, Coen van Houten, Jack Moens, Erwin van Asbeck and later, Hellmuth ten Siethoff had biographical backgrounds which were globally oriented. Hans von Sassen, Wil Brokerhof and later Marjo van Boeschoten were Europe-orientated. Others did not stay long. Beside that, the Second World War had just ended. There was a growing awareness of wider horizons. The first NPI-members were convinced of the fact that they represented a world-wide impulse and that the mercurial element of the Dutch culture was an excellent means to get this impulse off the ground.

The work of the NPI was financed considerably under the Marshall Plan. Two main projects were financed by the Marshall Plan: A new Dutch management centre (“de Baak”), and a national project by which the old handicraft schools had to be transformed into modern technical schools. Lievegoed and Kraak went to the USA in search of new ideas and methods of management development. In formulating their own approach, they were inspired by the ideas of Peter Drucker and the methods of Group Dynamics.

The NPI soon became well known in the Netherlands, and also abroad. Towards the end of the 1950’s and early 1960’s the first international movement got underway. Again this happened in two ways. People connected with Anthroposophy in West Germany, Switzerland, England, and even South Africa and Brazil, invited or visited the NPI. With the help of Marshall Plan funds, seminars on the principles of modern management were given in Lauf, West Germany. Here managers from all over Europe got to know NPI concepts and methods. Later seminars were given in Wuppertal, West Germany and in Seelischberg, Switzerland.

The NPI was internationally oriented. During 1961 all the study weeks were focused on world questions, and particular individuals undertook tasks related to different parts of the world: Koos Kraak in Asia, Coen van Houten in Africa, and Lex Bos in South America. It was a very expansive period – humanly, conceptually, methodologically and with regard to projects.

Second period (1971-1979)

In 1971 Bernard Lievegoed left the NPI and started his third initiative : the Vrije Hogeschool in Driebergen, the Netherlands. However, he remained involved in the further development of the NPI. His departure was not the only reason for the NPI to re-consider its identity. For a number of years the foreigners such as Rolf Lausberg, Claudius Drewes, Bernd Kloke, Fritz Glasl and David Scott had been joining the NPI to learn the job through practical work. They were later succeeded by Jean Jacques Sick, Daniel Burkhard, Chris Schaefer and Albrecht Hemming. Many of them had the intention of starting their own institutes in their own country. At the same time, new Dutch members were more oriented towards their own country. This led to the discussion: “Why are we international? What does it mean? Is there not enough to do in the Netherlands itself?”

But the work abroad increased, as it did in the Netherlands. The NPI opted for growth. “NPI International” and “globalisation” were concepts at the beginning of this period. The main language was Dutch, but German and English were also used. French and Portuguese were sometimes also used for the verse of Lievegoed at international meetings.

To become a member of the NPI International one had to live in Zeist in order to learn Dutch and to work with Dutch colleagues. At the end of the period of one or two years, all the senior members decided whether the newcomer could faithfully represent the NPI impulse. The decision had to be unanimous. The social impulse initiated by Lievegoed was in this way identified with NPI International.

At the beginning of this period, the members were concerned about questions regarding quality and organisation. What type of organisation is needed in our times? They foresaw the development of independent institutes in various countries. As a result, the idea was born of having our own educational Centre for Social Development. Many discussions and meetings focused on these questions. And it all took place during the internal study weeks at NPI Zeist. All foreign seniors could attend these weeks automatically, even if they had been absent for months.

During this second period, the members of NPI Zeist were involved in two other developments: The use of mandate groups, and an income policy based on personal needs. This brought about an inwardly focused awareness. In the course of this second period, the members from abroad were increasingly confronted with a closed shop when they visited NPI Zeist. Thus NPI Zeist and NPI International separated, also as a result of the influence of the foundation of the Centre for Social Development in 1975 and Social Ecology Associates (SEA) in England. They established their own network. Through them, Graeme Harvey, Hans Brodal, Malcolm Leary, and others, became representatives of the NPI impulse. Consultancies were founded in England, France, Sweden, Australia, South Africa and Brazil.

In 1979, a new association of independent, institutes / consultancies was founded. The empathy with the social impulse of Lievegoed, first given expression in NPI Zeist, was still maintained and expressed in the name “NPI Association”.

Third period (1979-1987)

The process of emancipation went on, and also the discussion about questions like : When are you a true representative of our social impulse? When are you an institute? When there is one member, as reality often illustrates, or with two, as was our principle? Or with three, which adds another dimension? Does NPI Zeist have to be the model for the new institutes? What is our profession – consultancy or community development? Can an educational centre be a member of our Association? What does association mean? All these points related to the question of our identity.

The general meetings were mostly focused on issues concerning the spiritual background of our profession. But we also tried to carry in our consciousness the development of all old and new initiatives, and of the colleagues who were involved.

But the tension grew between the ideal of an association of institutes and the reality. Many members in the world were alone. They were unable to create institutes of two or more members. Other institutes broke down after a couple of years. And in NPI Zeist, many members did not experience any inner empathy with the international movement. The ideal became a hindrance.

A number of other developments have to be mentioned in addition:

– The third generation in NPI Zeist increasingly took the lead. They also emancipated themselves, searching for new methods and concepts. Some had joined the NPI Association to look for colleagues, for an exchange of skills and knowledge on an equal level, in contrast to the role of the old “masters”.

– Around 1985, the general meetings of the NPI Association were separated from the study weeks of NPI Zeist. Also, the locations of the meetings started to move around: Woudschoten (Zeist), The Centre for Social Development (England), Sweden, Land en Bosch (Netherlands), Frankfurt (West Germany).

–The discussion about the name NPI came to a head. NPI Zeist claimed it for their institute rather than as the name for the broader social impulse.

During this period new initiatives were started in West Germany, Austria, Denmark, the USA and New Zealand. Besides this, several consultancy groups, rooted in Anthroposophy, were founded in the Netherlands. A number of former colleagues from NPI Zeist joined these institutes. Old mother NPI Zeist, long the heart of the international movement, was transformed into just another member.

Fourth period (1987-1996)

In 1987, at the meeting in Frankfurt, a fundamental transition (the seeds of which had already been sown in Sweden in 1985) took place. The old NPI Association, which was always an association of institutes / consultancies was transformed into an association of individuals, and the Association for Social Development was born. Bernard Lievegoed was invited, and gave an inspiring talk. He was made an Honorary Life Member of the new Association, and remained so until his death.

In 1988 at Hawkwood College, England, the members again assembled out of personal interest, an interest in the international development of our profession and in the development of colleagues elsewhere in the world. The substance of the Association had to be re-created at each general meeting. Hawkwood was a success, and after that, Denmark, Yugoslavia (Slovenia) and Weimar, Germany, too. Once again, the spiritual background of our profession, our experiences in our working lives and our encounters with other human beings came to the fore, as well as “free initiatives” that explored a wide variety of topics.

Subsequent meetings took place in Finland (Helsinki, 1992), England (Sheffield, 1993), Austria (Werfenweng, 1994), Denmark (Vejlefjord, 1995), and Germany (Staufen, 1996).

Fifth period (1997-2001)

The fifth period, while still in a formative stage, is characterised by a number of trends:

– Already in 1995, the theme of “dialogue” started to emerge, and members began to explore ways of relating that would open up new possibilities and potentials. This theme was developed in subsequent years, and many dialogues began to open up, particularly with regard to the Association, its role and function and relationship to the outside world.

– The Association has entered a growth phase. At some meetings it seemed almost as if there were more guests than members, and new members join in increasing numbers each year.

– At the 1997 conference in Spring Valley, USA, a further trend in the Association started to become more tangible. This was the first conference to be held outside of Europe, and brought a sense that the Association, with its influx of members from countries like Brazil, and growing interest from the U.S.A., Canada, and former Eastern Bloc countries, was beginning to transcend its Eurocentrism, and to become truly global in its membership, consciousness and impulse.

– In 1998, the conference returned to its roots in the Netherlands. Hans von Sassen made the observation that had become apparent to most members, viz. that there was a new spirit of openness, co-operation and exploration in the Association. Old conflicts and difficulties had, by and large, dissolved, and there was a possibility for new steps to be taken in the development of the Association.

– Period of reflection about the future and nature of the ASD. This was begun in Spring Valley with questions that were asked about how the ASD could respond more effectively to its tasks. The process of research, conversation and dialogue about the future of the ASD continued in Holland (Hoendeloo, 1998), Brazil (Salvadore, 1999) and UK (Evesham, 2000) before it culminated in South Africa in 2001. There it was agreed that the ASD needs to remain a lean association focused on its Conference for individual members while continuing to develop a global consciousness. A longer-term vision for our working together was also encouraged. Alongside this, it was hoped that initiatives of various sorts would be undertaken by members in other spheres of activity outside the ASD itself, such as co-operation between members’ consulting practices.

Sixth period (2001-)

We now see ourselves beginning a new phase of development and we will need to observe how this is fulfilled. The South African conference ended a period of reflection during which we looked at how we want to be as an Association. The spirit of harmony that developed during the previous period enabled us to become more spiritually intimate. Now, hopefully, the energy exists to be and become even better as a venue for those belonging to this stream.

However we also notice an emerging theme that already came to the fore in England in 2000. There we worked intensively with various spiritual archetypes that inspire our consulting and professional practices. Our aim was to relate the weaving of the Inner & Outer, the spiritual and practical. In South Africa this continued with the theme of Karma as a factor in our relationships and professional work. In 2002, the theme is Observation, taking into account methods of observing our own inner workings, organisations, relationships between people and beings of the spiritual world. The ongoing theme is development of the inner path and spiritual craft.’

Wie de schrijver ook is, hij is duidelijk een goed ingevoerde persoon, die van de hoed en de rand weet. Met ook oog voor alle problemen, conflictstof en narigheid van dien, terwijl die toch niet de boventoon voeren. Blijkbaar is de tekst in 2002 geschreven, want verder dan dat jaar gaat deze niet.

Verderop op de website wordt verteld hoe je lid kunt worden en aan welke voorwaarden je daarbij moet voldoen. In ‘Becoming a Member of ASD’ wordt dit als volgt beschreven:

‘Members of the Association are developmentally orientated consultants who commit themselves to work towards its aims, recognize each other as professionally competent, and strive to develop this competence further. Where possible, members connect themselves with a group of colleagues who are committed to further each other's development. To work with a group of colleagues working out of the same spiritual background is an important aspect of our social impulse. The members of the group also support each other in their development as human beings.

The intentions behind our membership process are first that the individual gets an opportunity to decide if the ASD impulse represents the stream to which they are connected; secondly, that members accept the individual through the acknowledgement and recommendations of a few sponsoring members who get to know him or her professionally. The feeling of the individual that he/she is connected to the ASD is a primary criterion of membership.

The first step for a prospective member is to attend the annual conference as our guest, hosted by a member. If he or she decides that they wish to join they become an applicant and then a member. This is normally a 3-conference process: Guest, Applicant, and Member. However, what matters is that this process is tailored to the individual circumstances while allowing for mutual recognition and acknowledgement.

The applicant selects three members of the Association as sponsors (totalling at least 7 years of ASD membership), who together with the applicant decide on an appropriate process for becoming a member. At the end of the process, the three sponsors, having dealt with any questions or objections raised by members, take a decision, which must be unanimous, on the applicant's suitability for admission. Should the person be accepted as a member, he/she is introduced as a member at the subsequent general meeting.

If you would like to join ASD or find out more about what's involved in becoming a member, please contact someone you know as a possible host or contact one of the facilitating group. For German speakers: Ute Buchele (, and for English: Herbert Wolpert (’

Dit komt al verschrikkelijk omslachtig over. En wat krijg je ervoor terug? Vrijwel niets. In ieder geval niet via deze website. Er is nog wel een forum te vinden, maar de laatste berichten stammen van twee jaar geleden. En dan gaat het nog maar om twee mensen die als enigen hun website daar vermelden: Kathelijne Drenth met en Tom Boydell met, ‘Website of UK-based member Tom Boydell’s company’. Dat houdt niet over.

Dan maar snel naar de website van het NPI zelf. Maar helaas, daar is niets meer. ‘Diese Domain ist konnektiert. Es sind jedoch keine Inhalte hinterlegt.’ Alleen het cache-geheugen van Google kan me nog iets tonen. Bijvoorbeeld dit:

‘Dit is Google’s cachegeheugen van Dit is een momentopname van hoe de pagina eruitzag op 2 okt 2009 06:03:49 GMT. De huidige pagina kan in de tussentijd veranderd zijn.

NPI Workshops

Ondernemen in de levensloop

Voor wie
De workshops zijn bedoeld voor mensen die een barrière in hun werk of leven ervaren, die beter inzicht willen verkrijgen in zichzelf, een volgende stap willen zetten in hun loopbaan of leven en die zelf regie willen (leren) voeren over hun (loopbaan)ontwikkeling. De workshop wordt ook in-company aangeboden en aan HR-professionals in een coach de coach variant.

Wat neemt u mee
Met deze workshop versterkt u:
– Uw vermogen om ondernemend te zijn in uw levensloop
– Uw vermogen om uw werkleven te sturen en vorm te geven
– De vaardigheid om te gaan met belangrijke vragen ten aanzien van werk
– Uw zelfkennis

De volgende activiteiten maken deel uit van het leertraject:
– onderzoeken van verleden en toekomst
– leren uit oude en nieuwe ervaringen
– ontwerpen van een persoonlijk ondernemingsplan
– ondernemen en zelfsturen
– leren om met vragen te leven

De workshop begint met een individueel startgesprek vooraf, waarin de vraag van de betrokkene en zijn situatie besproken worden.

Het traject bestaat uit 4 dagdelen en 3 individuele sessies van ongeveer 1,5 uur. De doorlooptijd bedraagt ongeveer 3 maanden.

najaar 2009, data volgen
De individuele sessies worden in overleg gepland.

Voor alle informatie over deze workshop Ondernemen in de Levensloop kunt u contact opnemen met Brigitte Schouten +31 (0)6 21 87 19 30 email:

Uw investering
€ 2.500,- per deelnemer

“De wereld wordt dan wel verdomde klein, maar voor de meeste mensen is hij nog steeds te groot.”’

Zo zijn er meer oude pagina’s bij Google te vinden. Maar misschien is dit alleen een tijdelijk euvel? En komt het NPI binnen afzienbare tijd terug met een nieuwe flitsende website? Bij de bd-vereniging duurde het immers ook even eer het zover was: development muss sein...

9 opmerkingen:

Adri zei

Ha Michel,

Ik ben benieuwd hoe dit wordt vervolgd.
Overigens sta ik weer versteld van je bronnenonderzoek. Geen idee hoe je bij Googles cache-geheugen komt, maar ik laat het graag aan je over.



Michel Gastkemper zei

Beste Adri,
Ja, ik ook!
En als je iets bij Google opzoekt en de resultaten worden je getoond, vind je onderaan die resultatenregel ook bijna altijd de regel ‘in cache’. Als je daarop klikt, krijg je een oude versie te zien die Google in zijn geheugen heeft bewaard...

Frans Wuijts zei

Hallo Michel,

je schrijft naar aanleiding van the history of the Association for Social Development: 'Wie de schrijver ook is, hij is duidelijk een goed ingevoerde persoon, die van de hoed en de rand weet. Met ook oog voor alle problemen, conflictstof en narigheid van dien, terwijl die toch niet de boventoon voeren. Blijkbaar is de tekst in 2002 geschreven, want verder dan dat jaar gaat deze niet'.
Zou het Adriaan Bekman geweest kunnen zijn? Hij was dacht ik tot 2005 de NPI-er met de langste ervaring in het instituut. Nu is hij onder andere directeur van het IMO Instituut voor mens- en organisatieontwikkeling in Zeist. Daarin werken ook andere oud NPI-ers als Bernd Kloke en John Luijten. Bekman is bereikbaar via

Michel Gastkemper zei

Beste Frans,
Het is in principe mogelijk, toch betwijfel ik het. Vermoedelijk is het toch een goed ingelezen Engelsman of -vrouw. Over Adriaan Bekman heb ik trouwens dit jaar meer geschreven op donderdag 16 april 2009 in ‘Optimaal organiseren’ en op vrijdag 26 juni 2009 in ‘Best practices’.

Michel Gastkemper zei

Over een andere NPI-er, Erik van de Luytgaarden, schreef ik al op vrijdag 18 juli 2008 in ‘De Vrije Hogeschool’, op dinsdag 9 december 2008 in ‘Naamsverandering’ en twee maanden terug, op woensdag 16 september 2009, nog in ‘College’.

Ad van der Hulst zei

Dag Michel,
ik lees je blog zo dat het net lijkt of NPI en ASD hetzelfde zijn. Dat is niet zo. De ASD is een internationaal gezelschap van professionals die zich laten inspireren door Steiner en Lievegoed. Het ene jaar Pinksteren is er een bijeenkomst in Europa en het andere jaar ergens anders op de wereld. Op hun website (jouw tekst komt daar ook vandaan) meldt doel, leden, hoe je lid kunt worden enz. Zie
groet Ad

Michel Gastkemper zei

Okee Ad, maar wat is dan het NPI nog tegenwoordig? Of moeten we dat als inmiddels overleden beschouwen?

Ad zei

Dag Michel,
In 2005 verscheen onder redactie van Eric van de Luytgaarden een boekje (feestbundel) met als titel: 'Mensen en Moed 50 jaar organisatieontwikkeling'. Het boekje werd uitgegeven door Uitgeverij Aspekt isbn 90-5911-390-x. IN het bokje staan een aantal kroonjuwelen van het NPI in die 50 jaar en alle bekende namen hebben met een artikel een plaatsje.
In 2005 was er ook nog aanbod vanuit het NPI via folder en website. Daarna heb ik het NPI vooral beleefd als een naam-netwerk van een aantal mensen dat voor eigen last en rekening werkte. Het naam-netwerk kwam tot uitdrukking in een npi-mailadres of een npi visitekaartje. Meer kan ik je er niet van melden.

Groet Ad

Michel Gastkemper zei

Beste Ad,
Dat boekje ‘Mensen en Moed’ heb ik hier in de kast staan... Een van de interessantste bijdragen is de inaugurele rede van Bernard Lievegoed die hij hield bij zijn benoeming tot hoogleraar aan de Economische Hogeschool in Rotterdam, ik neem aan in de jaren vijftig. Jammer genoeg is er geen bronvermelding bij, zelfs geen datum of jaartal. Maar aangezien deze rede ontbreekt in ‘Bernard Lievegoed. Lezingen en essays 1953-1986’, is het toch een aanwinst.


Over mij

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(Hilversum, 1960) – – Vanaf 2016 hoofdredacteur van ‘Motief, antroposofie in Nederland’, uitgave van de Antroposofische Vereniging in Nederland (redacteur 1999-2005 en 2014-2015) – – Vanaf 2016 redacteur van Antroposofie Magazine – – Vanaf 2007 redacteur van de Stichting Rudolf Steiner Vertalingen, die de Werken en voordrachten van Rudolf Steiner in het Nederlands uitgeeft – – 2012-2014 bestuurslid van de Antroposofische Vereniging in Nederland – – 2009-2013 redacteur van ‘De Digitale Verbreding’, het door de Nederlandse Vereniging van Antroposofische Zorgaanbieders (NVAZ) uitgegeven online tijdschrift – – 2010-2012 lid hoofdredactie van ‘Stroom’, het kwartaaltijdschrift van Antroposana, de landelijke patiëntenvereniging voor antroposofische gezondheidszorg – – 1995-2006 redacteur van het ‘Tijdschrift voor Antroposofische Geneeskunst’ – – 1989-2001 redacteur van ‘de Sampo’, het tijdschrift voor heilpedagogie en sociaaltherapie, uitgegeven door het Heilpedagogisch Verbond

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