IDAHO Congress 2013

International developments involving the emancipation of gays will be the focus for two days during the first European edition of the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) conference that will start in The Hague on Thursday, 16 May. As the host country and initiator of the first edition of this top level conference, The Netherlands will receive over 700 participants from home and abroad.

The theme of the conference is: Joining Forces, Moving Forward; in Europe and beyond. At various venues in The Hague, in sub-sessions and workshops, participants in the IDAHO conference can enter into discussion with one another about how the emancipation of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people (LGBTs) can be improved at the European level, and what people can learn from each other.

IDAHO participants

Minister Jet Bussemaker (Emancipation) will represent the Dutch cabinet. She will be the conference host and will receive fellow ministers from countries including Finland, the UK, Belgium and Sweden. In addition, delegations from the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, international military and law enforcement LGBT networks, human rights activists, leading municipalities and students will be participating in the conference. HRM Queen Máxima will be present at the official IDAHO meeting in the Hall of Knights on Thursday evening, 16 May.

Day Against Homophobia

The title of the conference refers to the International Day Against Homophobia, celebrated annually on 17 May. In 1991, the World Health Organization (WHO) decided on that day to remove homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. This makes 17 May the day on which gay emancipation organizations across the globe draw attention to the phenomenon of homophobia and to the socially undesirable attributes this entails. A list of global activities is available at:


Thursday 16 May:

Opening IDAHO

10.00 a.m. - 10.45 a.m.: Official opening of IDAHO by Minister Bussemaker at the Ministry of Education, Culture & Science (OCW). Joel Bedos, Director of Idaho International and Evelyne Paradis, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe will address the conference and present the ILGA-Europe Rainbow Index 2013 which illustrates the state of affairs regarding LGBT rights in Europe.
Opportunity for photos

Schoolvisit of EU ministers back to school at the Hofstad Lyceum

2.00 p.m. - 3.00 p.m.: The European ministers will be back at school desks to hear from students themselves about how they are working at creating a tolerant and safe environment for young lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students.
Opportunity for photos

Signing of the Call for a European Approach

5.30 p.m. - 6.00 p.m.: EU ministers will sign a "Call for a Comprehensive Approach to LGBT Issues at the European Union Level" in Sociëteit de Witte. This call is addressed to EU Commissioner Vivianne Reding, Vice-president of the European Commission and Commissioner responsible for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship.
Official signing and opportunity for photos.

IDAHO dinner in the Hall of Knights in the presence of HRM Queen Maxima

7.30 p.m. - 9.00 p.m.: Dinner in the Hall of Knights in the presence of HRM Queen Maxima, with a speech by Minister Bussemaker.
Opportunity for photos. Please note: The first section of the programme is open to the press, the sessions that follow are closed.

Friday 17 May:

Presentation of the Fundamental Rights Agency Study and speech by EU Commissioner Reding

9.00 a.m. - 11.00 a.m.: The presentation of the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) Study on homophobia within the EU will take place at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion and an address by Vivianne Reding, Vice-president of the European Commission and Commissioner responsible for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship.

Jos Brink Award Ceremony and key note of Navanethem Pillay

7.00 p.m. - 9.45 p.m.: Presentation of the Jos Brink Prijs in Theatre Diligentia. Minister Bussemaker will present this Dutch oeuvre prize to a person, group or institution that has made a contribution to the emancipation of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people (LGBTs). The jury members are: Sara Kroos (chair), Karin Bloemen, Arthur Japin, Jörgen Raymann and Rik van de Westelaken. Navanethem Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, will address the conference during the closing.
Opportunity for photos.


Registration for IDAHO Congress 2013 is now open. Press Accreditation is available to reporters from all fields of the media (print, online, TV, radio, web TV, photography). You will need to mention the elements of the programme that you would like to attend separately in your registration email. Press accreditations are granted by the press office to media representatives only.

You can register by sending an e-mail to, Ministry of Education, Culture & Science (OCW) stating the items on the programme you wish to attend, your name, medium and position.

Registration is open until 12.00 noon on 14 May. Given the limited space, admission may be restricted. We will e-mail you more information in this regard on 15 May.

For further information:

Communications Department, Ministry of OCW, Odie Geerligs, tel. +31(0)611038748 or