Webinar 11 November: Eurovision Song Contest’s influence to Equal Rights and Gender Image? Finnish and Dutch experiences

Webinar 11 November: Eurovision Song Contest’s influence to Equal Rights and Gender Image? Finnish and Dutch experiences

Can a song contest make an impact in the development of Gender image and Equality?


The recording of the webinar is available at the Facebook page of the Embassy until 19 November 2020. The language of the webinar is English.

Link to the recordingLink to another website.(Opens New Window)

Program of the virtual event

14.00    Opening words: Ambassador Päivi Kaukoranta
               Panel discussion
               Moderator : Andrew van Esch
               Panelists: Linda Duits, Simon Timmerman, Jan Wickman
15.00    Hän Honours: Be sure to follow live as Ambassador Päivi Kaukoranta gives the
               Hän Honours recognition to a Dutch organization!
               Music greeting by Saara Aalto
15.40    Virtual event ends



Andrew van Esch
Andrew van Esch

Director, Stichting Global Talent Pool

Hague-based Andrew van Esch calls himself a ‘Bridge Builder’ between people, organisations and politics. He works through his own consultancy that he runs together with his partner and husband Edvard Daamen. This consultancy has a long standing experience in business development, interim management, marketing and communication advice and event management.

Since 2019 he is also co-initiator of the Global Talent Pool Foundation. He manages this organisation together with Christine van Zuylen van Nijevelt. It is focused on finding appropriate jobs for high-skilled and academics refugees.

Andrew is also the director of The Hague International Network, the largest network and database of internationals living and working in and around The Hague.

Andrew has been active in being member of governing boards of numerous cultural organisations. Currently he is President of  the KalpanArts Reimagined Foundation and board member of Pop Theatre PAARD.


Jan Wickman
Jan Wickman

Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki

Dr. Jan Wickman has teached numerous courses on gender, sexuality and mass media in multiple universities. Wickman has published broadly for example about Transgender politics,  Queer activism, Gender Variance and about Gay culture in Eurovision.

He has been active in the board of Society of Queer Studies in Finland, SQS, for many years in between 2006 and now, and a member of the organizing committee of the national gay, lesbian and queer studies conference from 1997 to 2006, and in 2010.

Wickman had published  columns about the Eurovision Song Contest since 2007, and he has seen the Eurovision Song Contest final every year since 1974!


Linda Duits
Linda Duits 

Media scholar and independent social scientist

Dr. Linda Duits is a specialized in popular culture. She is especially interested in the interplay between media, meaning and identity.

Duits studied Political Science at the University of Amsterdam, with political theory and political behaviour as main subjects. She obtained her PhD at the prestigious Amsterdam School of Communications Research and worked as an Assistant Professor in qualitative research methods at the University of Amsterdam. She is a freelance teacher at different universities, currently at the department of Media Studies at Utrecht University. 

Duits runs her own company Diep Onderzoek, an agency which investigates the meaning of media in everyday life and shares insights through publications and lectures. She has also produced the podcasts Onder Mediadoctoren and Geeky Dingen, a podcast on popculture and geekdom.

 She writes extensively about popular culture, sex and gender for different outlets and has published several books and research about the topics

 More about Linda DuitsLink to another website.(Opens New Window)

Simon Timmerman standing on a bridge in Utrecht
Simon Timmerman

Boardmember of the Dutch Pink Saturday Foundation and Event Manager of the COC Songfestival 

Timmerman calls himself Rainbow activist and 'hardcore' Eurovision fan. He started at PANN (2008-2015), an organisation for LGBTI+ youngsters.  As member of the PANN board he also organised National Pink Saturday (Roze Zaterdag) 2013 in Utrecht. As chairman of COC Midden-Nederland (2015-2020) he played a big role in getting rainbow issues on the political agenda of municipalities. He also initiated the Walk of Love in Utrecht.

Currently he is boardmember of the Dutch Pink Saturday Foundation (Stichting Roze Zaterdagen Nederland) and event manager of the COC Songfestival, a yearly event organised by COC Netherlands (COC Nederland).

His love for the Eurovision Songcontest started at a very young age, with the tv guide's help he used to make his own scorecards to judge all the contestants.  He has been present at Eurovision Song Contests in Malmö (2013), Copenhagen (2014), Vienna (2015), Stockholm (2016) and Kiev (2017),  and has appeared on Dutch television and radio a few times during the contests.

In 2017 Simon got married on television as part of the first same-sex couple in the Dutch version of the realityshow ‘Married At First Sight’ (RTL4). He also released a song during the Dutch carnival (February,  2020) called ‘Ben je oke?’ (Are you ok?), as part of a campaign by Rutgers against unwanted sexual behavior.

Simon Timmerman currently works for Movisie, expertise centre for social issues, and has previously worked in the fields healthcare and anti-discrimination

Music Greeting

Saara Aalto


Saara Aalto 

Artist, Represented Finland in the ESC in 2018

Showgirl and songwriter. Pop star & pianist. There is no one quite like Saara Aalto. Firmly established as one of Finland’s major talents and celebrated stars, thanks to her anthemic single release, ‘No Fear’, runner-up in the TV smash hits ‘The Voice’ & ‘Finland’s Got Talent’ plus the voice of Princess Anna in the Finnish version of Disney’s global hit movie ‘Frozen’.

Saara exploded onto the UK pop scene when she entered Simon Cowell’s X Factor in 2016. She regularly topped the weekly public vote and went on to become the runner-up of the entire show, firmly cementing herself as one of the UK’s best-loved stars.

2017 Saara performed in several live shows included ‘In My Wildest Dreams’, a sell-out 13,500 capacity arena show at Helsinki’s Hartwall Arena, as well as a sell-out 17 date UK arena tour and a sell-out headline show at London’s iconic Hippodrome – plus performances all over the world including Ireland, Sweden, Spain, Estonia and Kazakhstan. Saara became also a judge on X Factor Finland, and released her debut book ‘No Fear’ in both Finland & United Kingdom.

She performed for a global audience of 180 million when she represented Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2018.

More about Saara AaltoLink to another website.(Opens New Window)

Opening words
Päivi Kaukoranta


Päivi Kaukoranta

Ambassador of Finland

Päivi Kaukoranta is the Ambassador of Finland to the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Permanent Representative of Finland to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons since October 2018.

She represents Finland also in the Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court and other international institutions in The Hague.

Before that, she served as Director General for Legal Affairs at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Finland. 



Hän Honours

Photo of three people dressed in white

Hän is the inclusive Finnish pronoun that stands for equal opportunity.

It's a symbol for a better world where people are not defined by their background, gender or appearance.

Finland places great significance on promoting equality in the world, and wishes to thank those who are working towards this common goal. To express its gratitude, Finland has been presenting special recognition to individuals and groups around the globe who are committed to advancing inclusivity in society. 

The recognition forms part of a broader campaign about equality, launched in June 2019 and continuing until the end of this year. Finland aims to bring questions of equality to the fore of the international conversation.

More about Hän, visit the campaign webpageLink to another website.(Opens New Window) .










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