DocuScience: Gerlach

The disappearance of the traditional farming community is the most fundamental social change in 2nd half of the 20th century, according to historian Patrick Joyce. But sometimes, against all developments, small, traditional farmers persevere. One such farmer is Gerlach. Farmer Gerlach is the last small arable farmer under the smoke of Schiphol Airport. Around him, he has seen everything change. Diligently, he cares for his land while climate change disrupts his crops.

Organised by Wageningen University & Research

Tue 23 April 2024 19:00 to 21:00

Duration Walk in at 18:30
Venue Omnia, building number 105
Hoge Steeg 2
6708 PH Wageningen
+31 (0) 317 - 484500

Gerlach van Beinum is one of the last classic arable farmers under the smoke of Amsterdam. Enclosed between encroaching exponents of modernity - distribution centres, highways, multinationals - he moves through the seasons at his own pace. For a few years, he is followed in his fields in Amstelveen, where, with the help of his best friend Rinus, he grows potatoes, beets, grain and strawberries, which he sells from his barn. Between work activities, his farmhouse is a gathering place for neighbours and friends, who share their dry humour and joie de vivre with him.

Meanwhile, the outside world intrudes ever more boldly, in the form of money-hungry entrepreneurs, the municipality, noise pollution from Schiphol Airport, the neighbouring McDonald's and a crop failure due to climate change. But Gerlach ploughs on: with the help of his brothers, he files lawsuits - occasionally successfully - and sows new crops.
Aliona van der Horst and Luuk Bouwman portray the imperturbable farmer with the same dedication and love with which he tills his land, sometimes close-up, sometimes in beautifully composed shots of the shadow he casts on his beloved field.

In attendance will be Jannemarie de Jonge, who has been Chief Government Advisor on the physical living environment since 2020 and from this role provides ministers with solicited and unsolicited advice on current social issues and environmental quality. And Anne van Doorn, project leader and research coordinator at Wageningen Environmental Research. As a landscape ecologist, she looks at how biodiversity can be strengthened in agriculture and how that should feed through into policies of governments and chain parties.

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Good to know, the documentary is Dutch spoken.


De documentary will be shown in Omnia and admission is free of charge. The program will begin at 19:00h, with the room (Auditorium) opening at 18:30h. You can register via these Forms.

Dinner in restaurant Novum beforehand?

Restaurant Novum, in Omnia, offers a special DocuDinner especially for DocuScience. For 17,50 euro, you will be served a delicious vegetarian main course, with fries and salad. The DocuDinner starts at 17:30h. Reservation is required and can be done by sending an e-mail to welkom@restaurantnovum.nl. As a dinner guest, you will have a reserved seat in the auditorium, so you are guaranteed of a spot at the documentary.

About DocuScience

DocuScience is a new program in Omnia, where employees of Wageningen Campus share insights into the inspiring work happening at Campus. We will explore new perspectives through provocative documentaries that encourage conversation. Everyone working at Wageningen Campus is welcome, so bring your colleagues!