The Interkerkelijk Vredesberaad (IKV) or Interchurch Peace Council is an organization founded in November 1967 by nine Dutch churches. Striving for peace during the Cold War, the organization started by organizing a yearly ‘Vredesweek’ or Week of Peace, as well as distributing a ‘Vredeskrant’ or Newspaper of Peace. While it was initially mainly known among members of the participating churches, the organization gained national and later international attention through its efforts for nuclear disarmament. Starting in the Week of Peace of 1977, the IKV launched a campaign with the following slogan: ‘’Help rid the world of nuclear weapons, beginning with the Netherlands’’. This slogan and campaign found fertile ground in the Netherlands, and thus grew rapidly. Soon, there were over 400 local groups working towards the same goal. While the brunt of the activists were members of the churches which were involved in the organization, soon universities and newspapers joined as well. Through reports on nuclear weapons stored in the Netherlands, the population was educated on what was going on within the country. Slowly, the first steps towards internationalization of the movement were made in the late 1970s.
When the NATO announced the fabrication of new cruise missiles with nuclear warheads, some of which were to be stationed in the Netherlands, the movement gained even more popularity. This popularity culminated in two mass protests: the first one was in Amsterdam in 1981, where more than 420.000 people attended. This kickstarted the internationalization of the movement, and the International Peace Communication and Coordination Center (IPCC) was founded with the IKV as leader of this group. Two years later another mass protest, this time in the Hague, attracted 550.000 people. While the IKV’s work was not very successful in the sense that the placement of nuclear warheads in the Netherlands was not prevented by its actions, the organization sparked an international movement for nuclear disarmament. After the end of the Cold War, the IKV focused its efforts on peace on a project basis. Starting with the war in Yugoslavia, the IKV continues to promote peace around the world to this day.
Badalassi, N., & Snyder, S. (Eds.). (2019). The CSCE and the End of the Cold War: Diplomacy, Societies and Human Rights, 1972-1990. New York, Oxford: Berghahn Books.