Exploring the possibilities of going beyond the nation state happens at many levels and indeed ever since we have invented the nation state just a few hundred years ago. The arts, culture but also visionary politicians have long been advocates for alliances and networking beyond nation-state. Today it goes without saying that nation state politics cannot tackle the global challenges of climate change, migration, technology, economic interdependence and social justice on its own. And yet, putting a particular country’s interest first and above others has helped win elections and referenda – even if precisely those interests cannot find satisfaction within the old and increasingly ineffective national logic. Going beyond the nation state must not mean simply emphasising the transnational level: on the contrary it can mean renewed autonomy at local level, for cities, municipalities, for citizens. These days, democracy itself seems to have turned into a farce in places like Hungary or Poland – to use examples close to home, countries priding themselves to be illiberal democracies. In a situation where liberal democracy is under such threat, what does it mean to stand up for democracy? How can we act democratically if we speak from our private niches? Have we reached a point in which we understand democracy as a system that guarantees us rights but doesn’t call on us to take over responsibility – and I want to add, solidarity?