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Paradox October Newsletter

Debate Through the Eyes of the Cow

On Monday October 8, Pakhuis de Zwijger and Paradox welcome you to a debate about the changing world of the Dutch cow (language: Dutch). Speakers include photographer Hans van der Meer, dairy farmer Siem de Boer, organic farmer Sjaak Hoogendoorn and Carel de Vries, director of Courage – platform for innovative dairy farming.

How does the government’s new strategy for agriculture impact regional dairy farming? The Dutch love dairy – supermarkets are packed with dairy products from ‘happy Dutch cows in green pastures’. But how does this fit in with a sustainable diet? Sometimes environmental concerns are at odds with animal welfare. We demand more milk per cow to limit CO2 emissions, whilst meeting consumers’ needs. At the same time this increased production takes its toll on the animals. During this event, various stakeholders discuss the current state and future of dairy farming from the viewpoint of the cow.

New strategy for agriculture
Last Month, the Dutch minister for Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, Carola Schouten presented a new agricultural vision. Farmers are required to switch to a more sustainable model of circular farming, using less raw materials. How does this strategy impact both the dairy farming industry and consumers?

Time to Change
In Time to Change photographer Hans van der Meer looks at the changing world of the Dutch cow. In the past three years, he visited dairy farmers and innovators throughout the Netherlands. His work reflects on the complexity of modern farming, animal welfare, hi-tech food production and its impact on the environment. In many of the photos the cow looks puzzled. Or is it that she’s questioning us? How will we be shaping the future in food production? And what will the role of the animals be in it?

Time to Change is on show until 28 October at Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar. The accompanying book (Dutch/English) is available in the YdocStore. After the debate at Pakhuis de Zwijger, there’s a book signing session with Van der Meer.

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Launch Notes from Aleppo and Debate

On Monday October 22, Paradox launches Notes From Aleppo, a new multimedia project by Syrian photographer Issa Touma. At Pakhuis de Zwijger various artists, journalists and scholars will discuss the current situation in Syria.

It’s been seven years since the war in Syria broke out. During the war the city of Aleppo was an important battle ground for almost four years. In December 2016, the Assad regime took back control over the eastern part of the city. Since then there has been a continuous flow of people returning to Aleppo, which was the country’s largest city with 2.1 million inhabitants before the war.

Notes from Aleppo follows Issa Touma’s journey in a renewed discovery of his hometown. In a number of short stories he shows us how the city tries to recover from the war. Like him, c. 444,500 citizens who fled have returned to find their homes in Aleppo. To them the process of rebuilding proves not only to be a physical but also a mental challenge as – given the political situation – no international organisations are contributing to the reconstruction of the city. So who are the people rebuilding their damaged property? Do they manage to pick up their lives? What is the current situation in the country? And what role have international media played in informing us about the conflict? These are some of the questions that will be addressed during the launch of Notes from Aleppo.

Speakers include Issa Touma, Paul Aarts (Senior Lecturer Political Science, University of Amsterdam), Huib de Zeeuw (freelance investigative journalist, specialised in the Middle East) and Besan Zarar (independent journalist). The talk is moderated by Chris Keulemans and includes a performance by Syrian-Dutch musician Gharib Ali.

Notes from Aleppo is a free web app, based on the multimedia storytelling platform Slices. For more info check out

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Debate Through the Eyes of the Cow


With Hans van der Meer, Siem de Boer, Carel de Vries and Sjaak Hoogendoorn.

Time: 8 pm
Location: IJ zaal, Pakhuis de Zwijger, Amsterdam
Language: Dutch
Tickets: Pay as you like, register at

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Launch Notes from Aleppo


With Issa Touma, Chris Keulemans, Paul Aarts, Huib de Zeeuw, Besan Zarar and Gharib Ali.

Time: 8 pm
Location: Studiozaal, Pakhuis de Zwijger, Amsterdam
Language: English
Tickets: Pay as you like, register at

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Order the book here

Notes from Aleppo trailer


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