hans groen

tidbits about me

Some information about me: Born in Amsterdam. I am married to Scott Owen. I Studied Philosophy at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and at the ICS in Toronto and graduated in 1986. Got my PhD in 1990; my thesis was Justice without Consensus, on John Ralws’s A Theory of Justice; promotor was prof.dr. Henk E.S. Woldring (Vrije Universiteit / VU University, Amsterdam).

favorite philosophers

I am not a follower of a particular school of thinking. I like Karl Popper because of the clarity of his reasoning. Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue gave me essaential insight in the narrative of philosophy and moral reasoninng. Researching anything, I would always check if Hannah Arendt or Sheila Benhabib have written about that issue.


Currently, I am member of the Cantorij van de Nieuwe Kerk Groningen. Before, I sang in the Sweelinck Cantorij of the Oude Kerk, Amsterdam. Much fun I had in my beloved Koor Nieuwe Muziek (Choir New Music). The Koor Nieuwe Muziek was a semi-professional choir which specialized in contemporary music, i.e., roughly anything composed after 1900 (Charles Ives, Elliot Carter, Mauricio Kagel, Louis Andriessen, Peter Schat, etc.). Each year, (Dutch) composers got commissions to write pieces for us. In 1994 the choir was awarded the Price for Dutch Choirmusic.
The choir performed with the Royal Concertgebouworkest, The Residentie Orkest, The Dutch Chamber Orchestra, the Willem Breuker Collectief, etc. Due to all kinds of reasons, it turned into a purely professional choir and in 2004 it ended its activities.

favorite music

Hard to name anything specific; in general, vocal music. Special interests: anything which is not yet, or not anymore tonal:

(Too) Late Romantics: Schönberg’s Verklärte Nacht (Scott gets seasick from this music!);

Bruckner (listen to Nicolaus Harnoncourt and his Bruckner 3 with the Royal Concertgebouworkest).

Rule of thumb for me: I enjoy anything which is written with taste and anything which is performed with love for the music.


Abel Herzberg: Tweestromenland (about his stay in KZ-lager Bergen-Belsen);
Heinrich Böll: Biljart um halbzehn (a metaphor of 20th century Germany);
Margaret Atwood: Cat’s Eye (so you understand girls);
Machiavelli: Il Principe and Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan (so you understand people).