Should Friendship be Legally Protected?

Perhaps it's time for a conversation about the vital role of friendship in our lives, and its lack of official recognition....

Joost Janmaat and Christiaan Fruneaux are best friends. This is not a matter of opinion, but one of public record because they went before an Amsterdam notary and solemnized their relationship with the Netherlands’ first vriendschapscontract - a friendship contract. Messrs Janmaat and Fruneaux are the founders of Partizan Publik, a Dutch “think and action tank” dedicated to re-imagining the conditions of modern urban life.

Part public art project, part social activism, their legal declaration of six years ago was designed to spark a wider conversation about the vital role of friendship in the lives of citizens, and its lack of official recognition. But it's something that's leapt to the fore in the last 12 months.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the state has taken an unprecedented (in most countries) interest in the constitution of our social circles. There has also been a firm emphasis on the word “family,” particularly if you wish to visit someone indoors. What about friends? After all, you may like your friends more than your family.

Friendships would seem to be a non-controversial social good and experts agree that strong social bonds make populations happier, as well as physically and psychologically healthier.

Friendship and the law have been thrust into a negotiation that represents an interesting and valid argument. Let the debate commence!



Surprising your Best Friend

Teen drives across America and surprises childhood best friend disguised as FedEx deliveryman. Never in her wildest dream did this teen imagine that she would meet her childhood best friend once again after the family moved across America. But the impossible became possible when her childhood friend, Jory Knauf, 15, travelled all the way from New York to South Carolina just to meet his best friend Soultana Kotrides, 16, once again. Their reunion, with Jory pretending to be a FedEx courier, and Soultana suddenly recognising him, is utterly joyous.