Have you got plans for May?

Maybe you should make some. Visiting Köln looks like a good idea.

Atheists from Europe and around the world will meet in Cologne, Germany on 25 – 27 May for the “2012 European Atheist Convention: Perspectives of Atheism – national, regional, global”, co-hosted by Internationaler Bund der Konfessionslosen und Atheisten (IBKA, International League of Non-Religious and Atheists) and Atheist Alliance International (AAI).

The conference will cover a broad range of topics relevant to atheists, freethinkers, humanists,rationalists, skeptics, agnostics and secularists. Attendees will interact with leading personalities from the worlds of science, activism, literature, entertainment, philosophy and the media.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Carsten Frerk, author and editor of the German Humanist Press Service

  • PZ Myers,biologist and author of the Pharyngula science blog

  • Annie Laurie Gaylor, Founder and Co-President of the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF)

  • Dan Barker, former evangelical preacher, author and FFRF Co-President

  • Michael Schmidt-Salomon, Executive Spokesman of the Giordano Bruno Foundation

  • Taslima Nasrin, physician, author and international human rights activist

  • Michael Nugent, Chair of Atheist Ireland

  • Rebecca Watson, Skepchick blogger and promoter of critical thinking among women

Announcing the conference, IBKA Chairman René Hartmann said: “With this convention we want to bring people from various nations togetherto discuss atheism, secularism, and the separation of state and religion. There are many issues in Germany and across Europe – the privileged status of churches, women’s reproductive rights, discrimination against same-sex oriented people – where religion intrudes into our lives, even the lives of those of us that are not religious.”

Tanya Smith, President of AAI, said: “It is very exciting to build on the momentum of the successful series of AAI conventions in Europe, including the 2010 Gods& Politics conference in Copenhagen and the World Atheist Convention in Dublin earlier this year. These conventions are a fantastic opportunity to hear fromworld-class speakers and for non-religious people to get together and enjoy the company of critical-thinking, rational people.”

Further information on the 2012 European Atheist Convention can be found at the convention website: http://www.ibka.org/en/convention2012 and on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=267296379958958. Tickets for the convention will go on sale later this year.


  1. TrineBM says

    Hmmmm … conflicting thoughts arise:
    1. HEY – that’s in my backyard almost. Great!
    2. hmmmm – maybe we can pursuade some of the great speakers to drop by Copenhagen now they’re here (Pz Myers in Copenhagen Skeptics in the pub DOES sound kinda’ swell!) :-)
    3. Hmmm – but I’ve heard most of the speakers before, so maybe not a good idea budgetwise.
    4. EVERYBODY should hear philosopher Michael Schmidt-Salomon. Such a great speaker – I just heard him at Denkfest in Zürich (which brings me back to point 4)
    5. hmmmm – undecided now

  2. says

    Ah fuck it, Rebecca and Michael Nugent ? I knew there was going to be a conference in Germany next year, and I was determined to give it a miss, but it’s 30km from my town of birth and from where my father lives, and with Rebecca and MN there, I might have to think about it after all. Damn it !

  3. julian says

    Reading this I can’t help but wonder if you ever actually live in your home, Prof Myers, or if it’s just something you purchased to have a valid mailing address.

  4. says

    Don’t have the money really, so probably can’t go…Unless AAI want to pay me the ticket….So yeah, see you at the Melbourne GAC next year

  5. truthspeaker says

    It’s a beautiful city, and I’d love an excuse to travel to Germany again. Probably not in my budget, though.

  6. Gregory says

    Drats. I’ve already bought plane tickets to visit the UK in late February/early March (the Yorvik Viking Festival in York, followed by a visit to the Tate Britain in London for a Picasso exhibit.)

    I need to stop planning my vacations so far out, keep a little flexibility in my schedule.

  7. Grant Gordon says

    An Atheist conference in my favourite city in the world, I’m trying to think up crazy schemes to raise the money to be able to go, sadly I don’t think it will be possible :(

  8. Drew says

    mmm Kölsch, I wish I had the money to make the trek back to Köln, I really enjoyed it.

    I know it’s a bit of an odd outing for an atheist convention but I’d suggest the organizers try, if the church is game, to set up an organ concert in the cathedral there. The acoustics were nice and as of about 5 years ago the organist was really pretty good.

    Anyway, drink a kranz for me.

  9. Minnie The Finn, avec de cèpes de Bordeaux says

    Ooooh, for once, I get to hear of something cool happening in advance =)

    Count me in. First round is on Minnie =) Germany is well known for her quality beers.

  10. Quidam says

    Konfessionslosen is such a great word

    It seems to be referring to the Catholic Church so Kindervergewaltigunglosen might be as appropriate

  11. René says

    Strangely, I cannot see “René Hartmann” properly displayed with the acute accent over the e. In my own name I use a single character, and PZ must have used a so-called combining diacritic after the e. (If I copy the string “René Hartmann” into Notepad — or Google for that matter — it displays correctly. Can anyone shed some light on this? (David!?) I’m using a PC and I have seen PZ using an Apple concoction, in Dublin. Could it be that my PC displays another font, which does not properly support combining diacritics?

  12. Rejistania says

    No fair! I live in Cologne, nothing worth mentioning happens there, I move abroad, zing!

    (Guess who will call her parents tonight to ask whether she can stay with them)

  13. plien says

    As i browse for B&B’s i seem to get those who are in “the gay area” or are “gay friendly”, what’s up with that? DBF & i are both bi, but i thought conferences were for broadning the mind, not elevatordates…

  14. says

    Brilliant! I was wondering when there would finally be a conference I could attend.

    I am definitely going to do my best to attend. Have never gone to an Atheist conference before, so I hope it will be great.

    Have not really had any contact with any German atheist/freethinker/humanist groups, so I’ll be excited to see what happens.

    And since my grandparents live in Cologne, I won’t even have problems of finding a place to stay :)

  15. I_live_in_Cologne says

    If someone needs advice on Cologne, I live there…

    After 7 years abroad, in several countries, I can say:
    Cologne is one of the coolest places in Europe.

    Come an visit !!


  16. Richard Smith says

    For some reason, my brain keeps trying to read IBKA as IKEA. Flat-packed atheism… Ah well, Sweden isn’t far from Germany. A lot closer than Canada, at least.

  17. Martin Burn says

    Woo hoo! The return flight from my nearest London airport to Cologne is only £60 if I book early enough. Let’s have a Pharynguloid party in the bar.

  18. Ant Allan says

    Following your post yesterday, I’m glad to see Annie Laurie Gaylor, Founder and Co-President of the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF), there instead of her husband!


  19. Sili says

    I have no idea what I’m doing that far in the future. But it looks to be the weekend of Pentecost, so I’ve pencilled it in on my phone.

  20. David Marjanović, OM says

    Awesome awesome awesome!

    Don’t have the money really, so probably can’t go…Unless AAI want to pay me the ticket…

    Get yourself invited as a speaker. Remember, you’re famous now because of your Innocent Little Bloggie®.

    Can anyone shed some light on this? (David!?)

    It’s as you say: PZ(‘s source) is using a combining diacritic, and Georgia (the font used here) fails to support it.

    é (precomposed)
    é (with combining diacritic)

    Woo hoo! The return flight from my nearest London airport to Cologne is only £60 if I book early enough.

    I’m sure you can get that much cheaper. airberlin, Ryanair…?

    I have no idea what I’m doing that far in the future.

    Seconded :-)

  21. David Marjanović, OM says

    Test passed. The combining diacritic is small and high enough that a capital letter fits under it.

  22. Patrick says

    Koln is a bit far to go from Australia (but we get the Global Atheist Convention in April so that more than makes up for it), but great to see Rebecca Watson and Annie Laurie Gaylor on the lineup.

  23. says

    Sound excellent, but I won’t be there. My overseas travel budget isn’t that good.

    @Ploon: that phrasing is one of my bugbears. Hate hate hate it. If your relationship is genuinely so screwed up that you have to get permission from your spouse to do things, then you should probably seek help. The endless thread would be a better place than here to post for help in escaping an abusive situation. If it’s really a mutual decision about money, then take responsibility for your own damn choices and don’t make jokes about domestic abuse. It’s not funny.

  24. Lion IRC says

    Perspectives of Atheism.

    What next?

    Atheism as a worldview?

    /me scribbles down stuff for the quotemine vault

    Wait till I tell Hackenslash.

  25. ichthyic says

    Atheism as a worldview?

    only if you’re stupid enough to use the same definition for the words perspective and worldview.

    Wait till I tell Hackenslash.

    yes, run along and play.

  26. Felix says

    Got the invite via facebook two days ago. I’m a member of Schmidt-Salomon’s association. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to make it, even though I’ll be having a very fresh atheist baby then.

  27. Rich Woods says

    I could hitch there, but it’s the 21-mile swim which would get me. No way I’m doing that with a backpack.