The exhibition Cities of desire at Stichting IK was accompanied by 500 metres afar, a mini symposium. This name is a derivative of the nautical law. Which prohibits ships to sail closer than 500 meters from a drilling or production platform. It is also symbolic of the fact that we as an outsider never reach the platforms. The symposium was led by Esther van Duin (neuroscientist, chairwoman De Nationale Denktank, alumni ). After an introduction to the subject and the exhibition by Tanja Engelberts, Sybe Visser (Swift Drilling) talked about his extensive offshore experience working in this field for the past 30 years. Lorenzo Frankel (Follow the money) spoke about the lack of decisiveness of the Dutch government and corporations to decommission redundant platforms. A group discussion explored the future of the North Sea with its environmental issues and new forms of energy production.