The reality behind Dutch daily food

The reality behind Dutch daily food

On behalf of the Rijksmuseum and NRC Handelsblad, Henk Wildschut photographed, for one year, the production of fruit, vegetables, meat, milk, fish and eggs in the Netherlands for the exhibition Document Nederland: Ons dagelijks brood [Documenting the Netherlands: Our Daily Bread]. For this purpose, he visited large-scale and organic pig and chicken farmers, a fish farm, a dairy certifying agency, greenhouse farms, various laboratories, a seed improvement company and a chips producer. The exhibition Document Nederland: Ons dagelijks brood paints a highly diverse and even surprising picture of how our food is produced. Photographer Henk Wildschut set off with a great deal of scepticism, but in the end he found that Dutch food production also has its benefits.

Ons dagelijks brood shows that how our food is produced is a far cry from the romantic notion of ‘life in the countryside’, even when it comes to organic food that is so popular nowadays. With consumers demanding good and safe food and less use of antibiotics, the production process becomes ever more technical and clinical. But this also means that non-organic food is increasingly becoming just as ‘organic’ as organic food.

Wildschut says, ‘Our food production process is all about economy, efficiency and profit. This ultimately widens the gap between humans and animals. I found out that I didn’t actually know where my food comes from. I started this assignment with a notion that many people probably have: that our food production system has all kinds of failings. I’ve changed my mind about that. Large-scale production also means innovation, energy savings, better food quality control and even better animal welfare.’

Henk Wildschut (1967) studied at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague (1993-1997). His photographs have been on display in the Netherlands and abroad, and he has published various books of photography. His work has won a number of rewards, including the Dutch Doc Award 2011.

The Rijksmuseum and NRC Handelsblad are organising the 15th edition of the exhibition Document Nederland, for which they ask a photographer to highlight a current social phenomenon. For the first time since the start of the renovation in 2003, the exhibition Document Nederland is again held in the Rijksmuseum.

Document Nederland 2013: Ons dagelijks brood [Documenting the Netherlands 2013: Our Daily Bread] Henk Wildschut photographs the reality behind our daily food
21 September 2013-7 January 2014


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