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Stichting Skepsis

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Stichting Skepsis
TypeNon-profit organization
FocusScientific skepticism
Area served
Netherlands, Belgium
Frank Israel

Stichting Skepsis is a Dutch organisation dedicated to the promotion and practice of scientific skepticism. It is a member of the European Council of Skeptical Organisations (ECSO).[1]


Secretary Jan Willem Nienhuys, board member since 1987

Since 1988 the organisation publishes a journal titled Skepter four times a year, currently edited by Hans van Maanen.[2] Skepsis also maintains the Skepsis Blog that critically examines news stories and dubious practices, and hosts an annual conference. In 2011 it participated in the 10:23 Campaign with skeptics around the world.[3] The website Klopt Dat Wel? ("Is That Right?") emerged from Stichting Skepsis, but operates formally independently from it.[4]

Skepsis Congres[edit]

2014 Congres

The organisation's annual conference, called the Skepsis Congres, was held in Amersfoort in 1987–2001, in Amsterdam in 2002 and has been held in Utrecht ever since 2003. Each conference has a special theme that most or all lectures are about.


Skepsis is an independent nonprofit organisation that consists of volunteers and expert authors, that earn a modest honorarium for writing in its semi-annual magazine Skepter. The expenses are covered by the contributions of subscribers to Skepter and of donators.[19] Its first chairman from 1987 to 1998 was astronomer Cornelis de Jager,[20] who was also the first chairman of the European Council of Skeptical Organisations from 1994 to 2001.[21]

Board of directors[edit]

Skepsis board at the Skepsis Congres 2015. Left to right: Agnes Tieben, Mario Tamboer, Gert Jan van ’t Land, Frank Israel, Jan Willem Nienhuys, Pepijn van Erp, Dick Zeilstra, Maarten Koller and Dirk Koppenaal

Current composition:[22]

Executive committee
General management
  • Drs. P. J. van Erp (webmaster)
  • Drs. M. G. A. Koller (working groups)
  • Dr. D. W. Koppenaal
  • Drs. G. J. van 't Land
  • M. Tamboer (administration)
  • A. M. Tieben
  • Drs. B. O. Vos
  • Dr. D. J. Zeilstra

Editorial staff Skepter[edit]

Current composition:[23]


Skepter editor Rob Nanninga, 2002–2014

The foundation has played a part in several high profile controversies.

Robbert van den Broeke[edit]

Late 2005, Stichting Skepsis took on Robbert van den Broeke [nl], a self-proclaimed psychic with numerous appearances on Dutch television. In an episode of his television show Er is zo veel meer (with Irene Moors) he did a reading for a woman. During the conversation he claimed knowledge of the woman's supposed past lives, telling her that she had been a certain "Hillegien Rozeboom" in an earlier life and that her husband was a "genverbrander".

Skepter editor Rob Nanninga looked up this information and found a genealogical website with the same information. However, the occupation "genverbrander" never existed. The word was mistyped and should have been "jeneverbrander". According to Skepsis, the fact that van den Broeke mispronounced the word exactly as it was mistyped on this website proved that he had simply looked up the information in advance.[24][25] Two months later, in February 2006, it was reported that because of Stichting Skepsis' efforts no further episodes of the show would be produced and that no re-runs would be aired.[26]

Jomanda and Sylvia Millecam[edit]

In August 2001 the Dutch television personality Sylvia Millecam died as a result of breast cancer. After being diagnosed the actress sought second opinions and treatment from two alternative medicine providers and self-proclaimed healing medium Jomanda. These told Millecam that she did not have cancer but suffered from some bacterial infection instead. Millecam's condition steadily worsened until the cancer could no longer be treated.

The Dutch public prosecutor initially pressed charges but dropped them after concluding that Millecam had made her decision independently. At this point Stichting Skepsis and the Vereniging tegen de Kwakzalverij took legal steps forcing the prosecutor to continue his case.[27][28] In 2009 the case concluded with a guilty verdict against the two alternative healers, but acquittal for Jomanda.[29][30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ECSO: Skeptics in Europe: Skepsis (Netherlands)". ECSO website. European Council of Skeptical Organisations. 12 February 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  2. ^ a b Pepijn van Erp (18 December 2014). "Hans van Maanen nieuwe hoofdredacteur van Skepter". Skepsis Blog (in Dutch). Stichting Skepsis. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  3. ^ Jan Willem Nienhuys (14 January 2011). "1023 tegen homeopathie: Er zit niets in!". Skepsis Blog (in Dutch). Stichting Skepsis. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  4. ^ "Vaak gestelde vragen aan Skepsis" (in Dutch). Stichting Skepsis. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  5. ^ "Skepsis Congres 3 november 2001". Skepsis website (in Dutch). Stichting Skepsis. 2001. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  6. ^ "Skepsis Congres 2002". Skepsis website (in Dutch). Stichting Skepsis. 7 October 2002. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  7. ^ Hugo van den Enden (8 November 2003). "De wortels van irrationeel geloof". Skepsis website (in Dutch). Stichting Skepsis. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  8. ^ "Skepsis Congres 2004". Skepsis website (in Dutch). Stichting Skepsis. 2004. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  9. ^ "Skepsis Congres 2005 – Gaat de Verlichting uit?". Skepsis website (in Dutch). Stichting Skepsis. 2005. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  10. ^ "Skepsis Congres 2006 'Het paranormale'". Skepsis website (in Dutch). Stichting Skepsis. 2006. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  11. ^ "Skepsis Congres 2007 'Ter discussie'". Skepsis website (in Dutch). Stichting Skepsis. 2007. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  12. ^ "Skepsis Congres 2008 'Magisch bedrijfsleven'". Skepsis website (in Dutch). Stichting Skepsis. 2008. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  13. ^ "Skepsis Congres 2009 'Kostbare onzin'". Skepsis website (in Dutch). Stichting Skepsis. 2009. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  14. ^ "Skepsis Congres 2011 – Complotten: werkelijkheid en fictie". Skepsis website (in Dutch). Stichting Skepsis. 2010. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  15. ^ "Skepsis Congres 2011 – Brein en illusie". Skepsis website (in Dutch). Stichting Skepsis. 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  16. ^ "Skepsis Congres 2012 – Bij de les". Skepsis website (in Dutch). Stichting Skepsis. 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  17. ^ "Skepsis Congres 2013 – Wonderlijke ervaringen". Skepsis website (in Dutch). Stichting Skepsis. 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  18. ^ "Skepsis Congres 2014 – Crisis in de wetenschap". Skepsis website (in Dutch). Stichting Skepsis. 9 September 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  19. ^ D.J. Zeilstra (November 2013). "Financiële verantwoording" (PDF). Skepsis website (in Dutch). Stichting Skepsis. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  20. ^ "Randverschijnselen in de wetenschap – Liber amicorum voor Kees de Jager". Stichting Skepsis website. Stichting Skepsis. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  21. ^ Mahner, Martin (February 2002). "10th European Skeptics Congress: Rise and Development of Paranormal Beliefs in Eastern Europe". Skeptical Inquirer. 26 (1). CSICOP. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  22. ^ "Bestuur". Website Skepsis. Stichting Skepsis. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  23. ^ "Redactie Skepter". Website Skepsis. Stichting Skepsis. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  24. ^ "Stichting Skepsis: RTL-medium is een fantast", Algemeen Dagblad (in Dutch), 2005, retrieved 2009-06-22
  25. ^ Rob Nanninga (2005), "Er Is Zoveel Meer: Googlen met Robert van den Broeke", Stichting Skepsis (in Dutch), retrieved 2009-06-22
  26. ^ "Robbert van den Broeke niet meer op tv", Trouw (in Dutch), 2006, retrieved 2009-06-22
  27. ^ "Vervolging Jomanda gevraagd", De Gelderlander (in Dutch), 2007, retrieved 2009-06-22
  28. ^ "OM moet Jomanda toch vervolgen", Algemeen Dagblad (in Dutch), 2008, retrieved 2009-06-22
  29. ^ "Spiritual healer acquitted in death of Dutch actress", CBC News, 2009-06-12, retrieved 2009-06-22
  30. ^ Kruyswijk, Marc (2009), "Teleurstelling na vrijspraak Jomanda", Algemeen Dagblad (in Dutch), retrieved 2009-06-22

External links[edit]