Connections with the Flag

Here you will find photos and stories of people who buy the Flag and use it for different reasons. Sometimes for their own use, to hang out outside and make it visible that the world needs more compassion. Or they buy the Flag to offer her to a certain person in order to bring compassion to the attention, or to indicate that this person, in their eyes, is compassionate in life. People sometimes use the Flag at demonstrations in order to visibly give the concept a place in a demonstration or manifestation. It is also used at weddings and other special occasions, such as PhD promotions, as a symbol and as a gift.

We hope that you will also actively contribute to our efforts to ensure that people around the world recognise and use the Flag of Compassion so that the concept of compassion has and retains a central, innovative place in society. We see your expressions with the Flag as part of the conceptual artwork Flag of Compassion, which we publish here.

We love to receive your experiences with The Flag, the way you show it, raise it , talk about it, etc., contacting us at


March 21: Classical Voice North America announces the American premiere of Festivals for Compassion, which is inspired by the artwork Flag of Compassion. The Russian-born pianist Michael Bulychev-Okser plays Thin Air at George Gershwin International Music Competition.

November 27, 2020 – February 14, 2021: The exhibition Stichting Egress Foundation Salon transforms Tilde, an exhibition space in Amsterdam, into a recreation of the living room of Marja Bloem and Seth Siegelaub. The Flag, together with other artworks and objects, is part of the relocated interior.


November 27, 2020 – February 14, 2021: The exhibition Stichting Egress Foundation Salon transforms Tilde, an exhibition space in Amsterdam, into a recreation of the living room of Marja Bloem and Seth Siegelaub. The Flag, together with other artworks and objects, is part of the relocated interior.

November 1: Floris Kortie waves the Flag during the broadcast of Podium Witteman to introduce the piece Thin Air. Mike Boddé, Avi Avital and Fuse take over the baton of the ‘compassion relay’ and play Thin Air, written by the ‘Composer Laureate of the Netherlands’ Calliope Tsoupaki for Festivals for Compassion.

September 3-5: Flag of Compassion is exhibited at the AltVisions Festival and part of the ‘New Ways of Art’ panel at Stroom in The Hague. Rosa Marie Mulder was invited to participate in the panel as a representative of the Unda Foundation to give a presentation on what makes the Flag political and add to the panel’s discussion on the idea that alternative and artistic practices are needed to complement the logic of politicians and policymakers.

May 12-31: Flag of Compassion is one of the thirteen artist flags waving on the ferries that cross the IJ river during the Amsterdam Ferry Festival. The edition called WHOmanity questions: What else can a flag be? Flags have always been a powerful means of communication. When a yellow and black flag is raised on a ship, a signal is given to the other ships that it is in quarantine for the coming 40 days. More often, flags represent (geo) political or social realities: they serve as an identifier that includes and excludes. During the last three weeks of the first corona lockdown, flags fly across the IJ as beacons of hope and reflection.

2020 April 19: During the corona crisis, Marga van Mechelen expresses compassion by hoisting the Flag. Since the Flag of Compassion is remarkably hanging in front of her house, opposite a government office, the Flag raises questions that need attention especially today.


December 11: Interim director of the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR), Elmer Sterken, waves the Flag of Compassion on behalf of the entire KNIR community. Because the KNIR lives from compassion, supports compassion, promotes compassion and brings education and research with compassion.

August 29: volunteers from Verhalenhuis Belvedere in Rotterdam handed the Flag of Compassion to the initiators/management because they always focus on the other (the employee, the city, the residents) and hence compassion is of paramount importance.

March 30: the Flag of Compassion is flying on the facade of EENWERK [one work]. During the opening hours of this art space (Thu-Fri-Sat from 13 till 18 hrs) that shows one work at the time, one can see the Flag waving at the Koninginneweg 176 in Amsterdam.

March 14: Making Waves 3 is an interactive research workshop organized by and for students exploring social issues from an alternative perspective and will take place in Sexyland, Amsterdam.

January 21-February 1: Making Waves 4 takes place in collaboration with art academy ArtEZ in Zwolle.


November 13: The Gerrit Rietveld Academy wins the Ladislav Sutnar Prize. As a token of appreciation for the award, the Rietveld Academy presents a Flag of Compassion as a gift to the hosts of the Ladislav Sutnar Faculty of Design and Art of the University of West Bohemia, Czech Republic.

November 6: Joost van Vlijmen gives a presentation on Flag of Compassion during a meeting of the Rotary club Nijmegen Zuid. Afterwards, he hands over the Flag to the other members of the club.

August 30: During the introduction day of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie the first year students are welcomed by a speech and the waving of Flag of Compassion.

August 1: The field staff of Medecin Sans Frontieres and in particular Annette de Jong and Cunera van der Linden receive a Flag of Compassion on behalf of Suzanne Tesselaar.

July 4: Lake Morey Resort celebrates America’s Independence Day with a float centered around Flag of Compassion during the parade in Vermont.

March 16-17: Opposite the house of Rob and Marij Scholten in Roermond (NL) the Voedselbank (Food Bank) Midden-Limburg found a new accommodation. They wave the Flag of Compassion to cordially congratulate the Voedselbank with their new location.

March 14: Mark Avery, the steward of Lake Morey Resort, in Vermont (USA) hoists the Flag of Compassion to ask attention for the armed violence in America and to remember people of showing compassion.

February 7-9: A lecture and round table talk revolve around Flag of Compassion during the international conference Flags, Identity, Memory: Critiquing the Public Narrative through Color at the University of Lille.

January 22-February 2: Making Waves 2 takes place in collaboration with art academy ArtEZ in Zwolle. 26 students of several bachelors examine together the social issue ‘What is privilege?’ and the connections with Flag of Compassion.

January 22: The mayor of Utrecht, Jan van Zanen, receives with pleasure the Flag of Compassion on behalf of the citizens of the city. Varamitra presents the Flag to the mayor during In Vrijheid Verbonden in TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht. In Vrijheid Verbonden is a celebration and joint presentation of religions and philosophies in the Netherlands.


November 25: Varamitra marks his leave, as Head of Buddhist Spiritual Care at the Custodial Institutions Agency and as initiator of the post-graduate training program of Buddhist Spiritual Care at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, by handing over the Flag of Compassion.

November 10: During the finissage of the exhibition Dialoques at Manifesta, Amsterdam, a round table talk takes place with as central point the book Compassion, A Paradox in Art and Society. Guestsprekers Binna Choi, Nick Aikens and Christa-Maria Lerm-Hayes and moderator Bojana Panevska touch upon lots of interesting viewpoints concerning Flag of Compassion and the relationship between art and ethics.

June 2: The book launch of Compassion, A Paradox in Art and Society takes place at Nieuw Dakota, Amsterdam.

June 2-4: Nieuw Dakota, Amsterdam, launches the Flag of Compassion with Making Waves, a weekend program full of performances, dance, music and art. Making Waves presents art works which are related to the Flag of Compassion. In the evening a very special dinner takes place. The whole event is broad casted by an Amsterdam radio program.

May 13: The Museum Shop of the Stedelijk Museum Den Bosch launches the sale of the Flag of Compassion and the enamelled Pin with the image of the Flag.

May 5: The Flag of Compassion is part of the freedom-meal 180 Amsterdammers: Make Food no War, organised by De Hallen Amsterdam, the Prins Claus Fund and the OBA, the Amsterdam Public Library.

April 18-October 20: On the facade of the office building of Manifesta, Herengracht, Amsterdam, the Flag of Compassion is flying during the exhibition Dialoques.March 24-26: In the Teylers Museum, at the opening ceremony of Haarlemse Lente, festival of contemporary art, performers from Studio MAPA offer the Flag of Compassion to the city council of Haarlem. During the festival the Flag is visible on all the facades of the thirteen participating museums, project spaces and artist initiatives.February 8-12: The Merchant House presents the Flag of Compassion during Art Rotterdam. Two Flags are raised on the Van Nellefabriek and at the opening a flag twirler performs the ritualistic ‘flag prayer’, a specific way of twirling the flag accompanied by drumming, expressing the fight between good and evil.


September 25: People of Nieuw Dakota walk, along with a group of enthusiastic people, with the Flag of Compassion during the Parade of Every1 in Amsterdam.

September 16: Artist, poet and writer Merapi Obermayer presents the Flag of Compassion on a very special occasion called Feest ‘der’ Onafhankelijken in Madurastraat 72 in Amsterdam. 

September 5: Flag of Compassion is invited by Zonta Club to present itself during their monthly gathering at Marriott Hotel in The Hague. Zonta International is passionate about empowering women in developing countries through international service.

May 1Tanja Karreman, director of Nieuw Dakota, and Julia Raaijman, member of the Working Group Flag of Compassion, present together the Flag of Compassion at a gathering in Tolhuistuin in Amsterdam. The gathering is organised by Ieder1, a movement that gives voice to all those people in the Netherlands who believe in a multicultural society.

April 6: During the referendum on the Dutch approval of the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement, Renee, Iris, Julia, Masha and Wei Ling offer, in front of the polling station at the City hall of Amsterdam, to voters a sticker with the image of the Flag of Compassion as alternative voting option.

March 31: The first brainstorm session of the Working Group Flag of Compassion takes place at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam.

February 21The Flag of Compassion is presented to art collector Igor Osetsimsky in Moskou by Masha Popova and Andreas Koch to mark the beautiful story of Love and Compassion between him and his deceased wife and her extraordinary art collection.

February 7: The Merchant House wonderfully organizes a great gathering and fundraiser in honor of Flag of Compassion.

January 12: The Museum Shop of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam launches the sale of the Flag of Compassion and the enamelled Pin with the image of the Flag.

January 6-to date: The Flag of Compassion is gracing The Merchant House, an independently funded art space in Amsterdam. They feel this is the time for compassion as never before.


December: The Merchant House presents the Flag of Compassion in dialogue with th exhibition Art & Project: Bulletins 1-156, 1968-1989The Merchant House is an independently funded art space in Amsterdam.

September 12-October 17: The Flag of Compassion is part of the exhibition and the wind of history sings in me at Gallery Lumen Travo in Amsterdam.

May 1: The Flag of Compassion is presented by Suzanne Tesselaar to Dr. Lars Moratis, who obtained his doctorate at the Open university in Heerlen this day on the topic ISO 26000: Standardizing a better world?, a dissertation on corporate social responsibility.


December 12-13: During the event Kunstlicht organised by Foundation Kunstuitingen Nieuw and Meer Amsterdam, the biggest artist studio complex in the Netherlands, the Unda Foundation presents the Flag of Compassion in the mail room of the complex.

November 1: Edukans receives, on their first volunteer day in Amersfoort, from Bert Steevensz the Flag of Compassion. He thinks that Edukans gives a convincing meaning to the concept of compassion: to create opportunities for children by promoting education nationally and internationally.

May 12: The Flag of Compassion is invited to be present at the symposium Education of the Heart organised by the Erasmus University, Rotterdam. HH the Dalai Lama is one of the keynote speakers together with, among others, Dr Ruud Lubbers, Prof. Dan Siegel and Prof. Rob van Tulder.

March 28: Five students from the Fine Art Department of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy employ the Flag of Compassion at the Young Art Night in the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven. They challenge visitors of this evening to contemplate the concept of compassion.

January 17: Bob van der Mast donates a Flag of Compassion to the foundation Amsterdam Cares because he appreciates their initiative:making contact between young professionals and those in need by offering flexible volunteering, enriching both these lives.


October 20: During the Max Havelaar Lecture, organized by Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Suzanne Tesselaar gives a lecture about the importance of stories and storytelling, using the Flag of Compassion as an example.

June 14: Julienne Straatman takes leave as vice-chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Scheepvaartmuseum (National Maritime Museum). As a personal farewell gift she presents the Flag of Compassion, special edition nr. 3/50, to the director of the museum, Willem Bijleveld.


November 14: In the presence of HM Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, during the ceremony to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the International Criminal Court, students of the Dutch international primary school HVS, present the Flag of Compassion to the ICC President Judge Sang-Hyun Song.

July 12: The Flag of Compassion is hoisted by Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Sharon Sullivan, at the opening of the exhibition Niet Normaal Liverpool, part of Dada Fest 2012.

June 4: The Flag of Compassion is displayed by family Thibaut at The Mall in St. James’s Park during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II.

May 5: The Flag of Compassion is part of the marriage ceremony of Christian van der Kaap and Marina Elenskaya in the English Reformed Church, Begijnhof, Amsterdam.

April 5: At the Mozes en Aaronkerk, Amsterdam, all the nominees of the Compassion Prize 2012 receive the pin of the Flag of Compassion from the Stedelijke Werkgroepen Charter for Compassion Nederland.


February 9-12: During Art Rotterdam the Flag of Compassion is prominently visible above the Cruise Terminal on the Wilhelminakade.


October 13: Clara and Sjaak Sies the initiators of the Voedselbank Nederland receive the Flag of Compassion from Arjen Wierikx founder of Mondea. This special event took place in conclusion of a Socially Engaged Entrepreneurship project that Mondea undertook with and for the Voedselbank Nederland, to mark their 10th anniversary.

October 3: To celebrate ten years of Engaged Entrepreneurship and Social Internships in Amersfoort, Matchpoint presents the Flag of Compassion to mayor Lucas Bolsius during a festive gathering.

July 15: Accompanied by the Flag of Compassion, Paul Tesselaar and Marjolein Wildeboer got married on Schiermonnikoog. In the pouring rain, with 3 rays of sunshine, the Official Officer of Civil Service, Monique Talsma-de Groot, asked them to take the oath of marriage.

June 26-27: Students and alumni of different art schools in The Netherlands are using the Flag of Compassion as a statement for the cultural sector during the demonstrations against severe budget cuts.

June 9: Secretary of Culture, Halbe Zijlstra, hands out the Prix the Rome 2011 in Amsterdam. After the ceremony the candidates and some twenty other artists offer him the Flag of Compassion, as a reaction to the expected extensive budget cuts on culture.


December 9: The Mothers and Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, and the Dutch Ambassador in Argentina accept the Flag of Compassion during a conference, held to commemorate Human Rights Day.

November 20: During the demonstration Nederland Schreeuwt om Cultuur, representatives of the visual arts sector carry the Flag of Compassion in Amsterdam.

May 28: The African Albino Foundation carries the Flag of Compassion during a festive parade in the city of Utrecht. The Flag is officially handed over to the chairwoman of the SAA.

April 24: Mrs Pauline Krikke, mayor of the city of Arnhem, presents the Flag of Compassion to the volunteers of the Belvedere. The Flag will be raised on the Belvedere tower, each day when the Belvedere is open to the public.


December 15, 2009-March 7, 2010: The Flag of Compassion is flying in front of the entrance of the international exhibition Niet Normaal, Difference on Display, at the Beurs van Berlage on the Beursplein in Amsterdam. As opening ritual, HRH Princess Maxima shines a spotlight upon the Flag and she accepts number 4 of a numbered edition of the Flag of Compassion.

October 22-25: During the FIAC art fair in Paris, the Musee du Louvre presents, in collaboration with the FIAC, the Flag of Compassion. At the Rue de Rivoli, in front of the entrance of the Cour Carree du Louvre on eight flagpoles monumental Flags are flying.

June 4: At the visit of HH the Dalai Lama to Amsterdam, the chairman of the board of the foundation Bezoek HH Dalai Lama presents to him no. 2/50 of the special edition of the Flag of Compassion. Before and in the break of the public readings of HH the Dalai Lama in the Europahal, Amsterdam Rini Hurkmans’ videowork Homeland, Part V, Flag Twirler is shown on huge screens in front of a live audience of 20.000 people.

May 13-17: On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the art fair, Art Amsterdam, three large Flags fly on high flagpoles in front of the entrance of the exhibition hall ‘the Rai’.


October 11-November 8: during the solo exhibition Blossom of Rini Hurkmans at art gallery Lumen Travo seven copies of the Flag of Compassion are installed on the facade of the building at the Lijnbaansgracht in Amsterdam. At the opening of the exhibition a ‘flag prayer’ is performed by Hans van Rooij.

June 13-September 21: During the exhibition Sonsbeek 2008: Grandeur a monumental copy of the Flag of Compassion is hoisted on an eighteen-meter high pole in front of the entrance of Park Sonsbeek, Arnhem. Several times during the exhibition, a flag twirler is performing a ‘flag prayer’ in the park.
The sale of the Flag of Compassion starts at the shop of the Sonsbeek 2008 exhibition in Arnhem, the Netherlands. The Red Cross is invited to decide the destination of the profits of the sales during the exhibition.

June 13: The Flag of Compassion no.1/50 of the special edition is presented to HM Beatrix, Queen of the Netherlands.

June 8: The Flag of Compassion is carried by a flag twirler during the opening’s procession of the exhibition Sonsbeek 2008: Grandeur, Arnhem, accompanied by a drummer. Both men walk in front of the work The White Shroud that it is carried by the Guild of Red Cross Volunteers and the Members of Martial Arts Clubs.

June 3: Registration of the logo of the Flag of Compassion in the Benelux Mark registry.

August 29: Creation of the Unda Foundation by notarial act.

September 11: First board meeting of the Unda Foundation.