Statement by the Dutch and German societies of arts

The Dutch and German societies of arts – the Akademie van Kunsten in the Netherlands and the Akademie der Künste in Germany – regard freedom of expression as one of the cornerstones of democracy, especially in the arts. We were horrified to learn of the brutal attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Satire, parody, and caricature are among the major achievements of European civilisation. It is a grave danger when satire and art are no longer accepted as a legitimate means of reflecting on society. The freedom to criticise is one of our basic democratic rights. As painful as their message may be, non-conformists and artists keep society healthy. To defend them is to defend ourselves. Their freedom is our freedom. It is deeply sad that such freedoms – which should be clichés – must be reclaimed in this day and age. Both societies of arts wish to express their sympathy to the families of the murdered Parisians. Despite our anger and sadness, we urge that the battle should be waged in an intelligent and peaceful manner: through our work as cartoonists, writers, dramatists, filmmakers, dancers, designers or musicians. We are in complete agreement with the response of the French art world, which has shown immense fighting spirit.

Akademie van Kunsten/Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Barbara Visser, Francine Houben, Gijs Scholten van Aschat, Johan Simons

Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Germany

Klaus Staeck, Nele Hertling