Democracy depends on citizens being informed

- Howard Zinn

Through knowledge sharing, advisory and coaching I help individuals and organisations in charting a course towards a free and democratic society. I provide support in the following ways:


Workshops & lectures

Consulting & coaching


We are living in turbulent times. The current reality is often descibed as ‘VUCAD’: volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous and disruptive. That creates feelings of uncertainty, fear, doubt and powerlessness. Which sources are reliable and trustworthy? What is my personal contribution to such large processes?

The root cause of uncertainty is partly that the we have a limited map of the realities facing us. To make sound, well-founded decisions, a clear an comprehensive map of reality is needed, that is constructed with diversity of information, sources and viewpoints. Often, through mass-media or even education it is not possible to get the full picture. 

For years, I have researched voices of independent journalists, scientists, historians, political philosophers, economists. Taking a systems thinking approach, by observing how a systems’ structure creates behavior, various political, social an economic developments have become apprehensible. I share my insights in articles and through advisory, workshops, lectures and podcasts.

These insights provide calm, oversight and ability to shape your future from a source of personal autonomy and leadership. Taking ownership will shield you against getting lost in the daily madness.



Because of a strong sense of idealism, I started my career in sustainabilty. I was convinced that business has a pivotal role to play in the transition to sustainability. However, in practice, sustainability has matured into a whole business segment, that applies standardized methods and is promoted through slick marketing. No better way to sell ‘feel good’ than by calling something sustainable. Despite all this, real impacts that can be traced through improvements in human rights conditions, or reduction of environmental pollution are limited if not absent.

Often, companies seem to be stuck in the system themselves, which limits the capacity for real breakthrough innovative change. It became increasingly clear to me that sustainabilty is not separate from the global geopolitical context that has arisen after the second world war.

Solutions cannot be found through approaches that are limited to managing environmental and social impacts, or progress in technology. To identify the real solutions we first need to recognize the real history of the previous 75-150 years, and then evalate: what is the basis voor community? Under what conditions does a democracy work? How do you guard the human measure in largers organisational structures? To make our civilization last for another 100, or even 1000 years, a very thorough reevaluation of the systems that currently drive us is pivotal.

My most basic motivation to contribute to a better world through improved relations with each other and nature is still the same. The road to get there has some detours. To achieve the transition to a sustainable society awareness is needed about the (geo)political, social and spiritual realities that are facing us – in tandem with development of personal leadership and real democracy.

That is why I have shifted my attention from a more narrow, technical focus on sustaianbility to supporting the development of awareness that enables sustainability.


“Elze is wonderfully brilliant. From brainstorming ideas to tactical execution, she delivers only the highest quality of work. She brings a lot of expertise and dives deeply into new topics and quickly masters them. She’s also a delight to work with. Working with her raised my standards for what is possible for a team to achieve.”– Carrie Staller. Business Development Director, Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (SIYLI)

“Elze is able to dig into opportunity and reshape it in an engaging way for multiple audiences. I supervised her work with a firm to identify a way to start using sustainability as a catalyst for change with employees and customers. She brings a very systemic view to the development of unique strategies.”– Cynthia Scott. Ph.D. Core Faculty, Presidio Graduate School.



Elze van Hamelen

Independent researcher & consultant


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