Book launch: The History of Atheism in Belgium

Book launch: The History of Atheism in Belgium

New VUB research group Secular Studies Association Brussels

The new VUB research group Secular Studies Association Brussels (SSAB) is hosting, with the Humanistisch Verbond, an online presentation of the book The History of Atheism in Belgium, edited by Dr Christoph De Spiegeleer and Patrice Dartevelle and published by Liberas. The launch is on Thursday 24 March via Zoom. Admission is free, but registration is required before 16.00 on 24 March.

The History of Atheism in Belgium places the active denial of the existence of God in Belgium in a historical perspective for the first time. It is the work of several members of the SSAB, an interdisciplinary research group that brings together expertise on the thinking and actions of non-believers and secularists.

During the webinar, several authors will elaborate on freethinkers who, whether or not in dialogue with believers, dedicated themselves in various ways to spreading atheist thought throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.




Welcome by Gert De Nutte (Humanistisch Verbond and Atheist Platform)

Introduction by Jeffrey Tyssens and Christoph De Spiegeleer: Why a history of atheism?

Atheism among freethinkers and freemasons

Christoph De Spiegeleer: Atheism and the 19th-century freethinking movement

Jeffrey Tyssens: Atheism and freemasonry

Critical philosophy

Niels De Nutte, also on behalf of Alain Vannieuwenburg: Moral science and critical reason: atheism at the Rijksuniversiteit Gent?

Willem Elias: Leopold Flam – “Philosophy is atheism”.

Question round

Questions from the audience, via chat


Christoph De Spiegeleer is affiliated with VUB and the heritage institution Liberas. Jeffrey Tyssens is professor of history at VUB and chair of SSAB. Willem Elias is VUB emeritus and affiliated with SSAB. Niels De Nutte is training coordinator for, PhD student at VUB and secretary of SSAB. Alain Vannieuwenburg is a member of the scientific board of Centrum van Academische en Vrijzinnige Archieven at VUB.


The Vrije Universiteit Brussel has a strong name and long history in the field of research on secular thought, both in historical and contemporary perspectives. This is rooted in the university’s basic principle of free inquiry, which unites scholars from both the exact and human sciences. The SSAB unites academics as once the Center for the Study of Enlightenment and Free Thought did.

Its research focuses on secularism worldwide, death and secularism, freemasonry, bioethics, enlightenment and freethinking.

Contact us
Sicco Wittermans
Sicco Wittermans Spokesperson Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Sicco Wittermans
Sicco Wittermans Spokesperson Vrije Universiteit Brussel
About Press - Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Vrije Universiteit Brussel is an internationally oriented university in Brussels, the heart of Europe. By providing excellent research and education on a human scale, VUB wants to make an active and committed contribution to a better society.

The World Needs You

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel assumes its scientific and social responsibility with love and decisiveness. That’s why VUB launched the platform De Wereld Heeft Je Nodig – The World Needs You, which brings together ideas, actions and projects based on six Ps. The first P stands for People, because that’s what it’s all about: giving people equal opportunities, prosperity, welfare, respect. Peace is about fighting injustice, big and small, in the world. Prosperity combats poverty and inequality. Planet stands for actions on biodiversity, climate, air quality, animal rights... With Partnership, VUB is looking for joint actions to make the world a better place. The sixth and last P is for Poincaré, the French philosopher Henri Poincaré, from whom VUB derives its motto that thinking should submit to nothing except the facts themselves. VUB is an ‘urban engaged university’, strongly anchored in Brussels and Europe and working according to the principles of free research.


Press - Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Pleinlaan 2
1050 Brussel