Paul Scheffer / Paul Scheffer – The Shape of Freedom

Paul Scheffer – The Shape of Freedom

Paul Scheffer – The Shape of Freedom

Rights sold

  • Polity Press (World English)
  • Hanser Verlag (Germany)


Read our sample translation of The Shape of Freedom 


About the book

Ever since Paul Scheffer visited the Berlin Wall as an eighteen-year-old, he has been intrigued by borders, continually contemplating their value and significance. In response to the refugee crisis, the departure of the British from the European Union and the wall President Trump wants to build at the Mexican border, Scheffer has organized and further developed his ideas. For him there is no freedom without form; an open society cannot function without a border. It is the only way to guarantee citizens’ rights and solidarity. Drawing upon history, philosophy, geography and sociology, Scheffer analyses present-day problems including migration, protectionism and terrorism. In doing so he draws firm conclusions about the future of Europe. The Shape of Freedom is an urgent book of huge contemporary relevance for anyone interested in current affairs.


Scheffer wants to accumulate the facts first, and talk after: A clear and well-founded plea. He addresses the future of the European Union, that razed its internal borders but hasn’t sufficiently protected its outside borders yet. - Trouw


Paul Scheffer (b. 1954) worked as a Dutch correspondent in Paris and Warsaw before becoming a staff writer for NRC Handelsblad, one of the most important Dutch newspapers. His articles have appeared in Die ZeitFrankfurter Allgemeine ZeitungLe Monde des DebatsEl PaisPolitikenTagesanzeigerDe Standaard and Morgenbladet. He has been interviewed on CBS, CNN and BBC Newsnight. One if his latest works is Het land van aankomst (Immigrant Nations, 2007), a groundbreaking document on the multicultural society, was published in Germany, Denmark, England and Poland. Alles doet mee aan de werkelijkheid (It All Plays a Role In Reality, 2013) is the life story of Scheffer’s grandfather, Herman Wof, a celebrated philosopher and literary critic in the 1920s and 30s, who corresponded with Thomas Mann and Stefan Zweig. Paul Scheffer is currently Professor of Urban Sociology at the University of Amsterdam.

(c) Sacha de Boer

Additional book information

  • Literary Essays
  • ISBN 9789023467151
  • Number of pages: 224
  • World rights: De Bezige Bij
  • Price: €20,99