After forty years, one of the largest Humanist associations in the world has adopted a new name and revamped its entire image. The Unie Vrijzinnige Verenigingen (Union of Secular Associations), which brings together all the Dutch-speaking Humanist groups in Belgium (from Brussels as well as Flanders), is now known as deMens.nu. Literally translated into English, the name means: “thePeople.now”. The new name has been launched with a major promotional campaign to popularize the new brand image. DeMens.nu has renamed its Humanist Centres, and launched an entirely new website (also titled: deMens.nu) to reflect its new name and image. And it’s publicizing the new brand with a major media blitz and promotional campaign that includes adverts on 190 buses.
The new Humanist brand was launched with an advertising campaign that included slogans on 190 public buses, for the two weeks leading up to World Humanist Day on June 21. Each advert showed a different Humanist, of different ages and ethnicities, with a different statement: “I write life myself”, “I’m descended from apes”, “I think I doubt” and “I live in the here.and.now” and “My world is not black and white”. The adverts all direct people to the new website, which has the same name as the organization: deMens.nu.
“The keynote of deMens.nu is people in contemporary society”, says Sonja Eggerickx, president of deMens.nu and also of the International Humanist and Ethical Union. “You and me, here and now. That is why we put images of people who represent the cross-pollination of our society next to our slogans. The combination of each slogan with a sudden image provokes thought.”
Besides the bus campaign deMens.nu also celebrated World Humanist Day with a special treat to remind the public of their new identity. In the cities of Antwerp, Leuven, Hasselt, Ghent, Roeselare and Brussels commuters were given a deMens.nu candy box filled up with small chocolates in the colors of the logo. “We do a lot of serious work,” says Sonja Eggerickx, “but it is important to remind people of our most important message: Humanists relish life!”
Below is the official announcement of the new name from the Flemish Humanists:
Humanism puts on a new coat with deMens.nu
Human beings. You and I, here and now. That is what we Humanists value. However this is not the first thing you think about when you hear our name: Unie Vrijzinnige Verenigingen (the Union of Secular Associations). That is why the Dutch-speaking Humanist union in Belgium is renaming itself deMens.nu (thePeople.now). That human is placed central in the new logo. And today we welcome you in our huisvandeMens (homeofthePeople).
For forty years the Unie Vrijzinnige Vereningen carried its name proudly. But although ‘UVV’ may describe our structure, it does not say anything about our values. And for Humanists values are all-important. So it is time for a change. We’re going for an open, clear and accessible style. “deMens.nu is humanistic” can hardly be more clear: we are there for the people.
In combination with a new logo this new description fits the preferred self-description of Humanists. We take pride in continuous questioning — of reality, but also of ourselves. Free inquiry is one of the principles of Humanism. We put people at the centre. The values of freedom, equality and solidarity are our basic creed.
The new name does not affect our existing organisational structure. DeMens.nu continues to be the union of freethinker associations and representw 36 Flemish speaking Humanist organisations in Flanders and Brussels. DeMens.nu also provides Humanist services in the huizenvandeMens — previously named Centra Morele Dienstverlening (Centres for Moral Services).