REAL HEROES OF TODAY, PHOTOGRAPHED BY PHILIPPE VOGELENZANG FOR #DSECTION11
fashion majid karrouch | hair and make-up chioali Hsu and carlos seidel | special thanks to studio Lobster House
“ My name is Sjaak van Rossum and I started working with Stichting Taurus (Taurus Foundation) on the first of August 2013. I jumped over from a job in a slaughterhouse in the neighbourhood after being contacted by one of the board members of Taurus. After the conversation I decided to accept the offer and become an employee of the Foundation. Taurus is a foundation that provides grazing activities with cattle for natural reserve areas and national parks within the Netherlands. In the form of a lease construction the animal are providing a year-round grazing in areas that normally are owned by the State of Holland, by Natural Conservation Organisations or by local municipalities. Taurus does not own any agricultural property. Taurus uses the surplus of animal for meat production and selling. This specialty ‘Wild Beef’, is a biological side product that we offer to a selection of customers in the Netherlands. Once a month we offer ‘wild beef’ to sell. I am one of two butchers responsible for the distribution and packing of the meat that is processed in our own butchery. I have been working for 20 years as a butcher in industrialised slaughterhouses, but since August 2013 I have been working in a complete different and ecological surrounding. Working at Taurus I am in contact with a completely different animal friendly husbandry system in which the well being of the cattle is central. Our animals are kept in natural surroundings where they can freely roam around. The natural meat production offered by Taurus is a very animal friendly system that provides you an excellent product of ‘Wild beef’. I think the initiative of the Taurus foundation is at a superhero level because Taurus provides a decent and honest piece of meat for human consumption in a meat market that for economical reasons mixes up different kinds of meat with very low standard products.
My heroes are those people that resist the normal economical way of animal production and look for an animal friendly husbandry system in which the animal has a central role in the system.”
“I am Sietske, 52 years old and came to live in Amsterdam 30 years ago after my study. I had a serious burn out about 8 years ago and a ‘regular’ job from 9 till 5 wasn’t possible for me anymore. Since I am a true fan of animals, I decided to find some voluntary work and I successfully applied to the Catboat. I care about animals and since they don’t have any influence on their way of living, I believe that we should take good care of them. The first cat was rescued in 1966 by Ms van Weelde, the founder of the boat . She rescued a mother cat and her kittens that were left on the street in front of her house. The word spread around and in no time people brought stray cats and abandoned cats to her place. Her house got overcrowded and so she bought a boat for the cats (for more history of the boat you can visit http://www.poezenboot.nl/geschiedenis.php – It’s in English) . I think it feels great when you for example see that a cat is getting better at the boat and when we succeed to find it a nice new home where it gets the love and attention it needs. Most of the cats we save can be rehomed after vaccination/chipping and also castration is very important. There are so many cats! We do our utmost to find a home that suits the cat. We can be very picky about that. But some of the cats are stray cats and too scared and are not sociable. These cats become residents of the catboat and live amongst the other permanent residents. We are a shelter for cats and we try to rehome them with about 20 volunteers. The government does not subsidise us in any way, so we need support from the people who visit the boat. I wish I could work full time at the boat but it is beyond my possibilities and if I could choose one superhero power I would love to have magic hands to heal the cats when they are sick. That would save the Catboat a lot of money!
But most of all I would like that we could bring some sense into people that when they decide to own a pet, they truly need to realise that they are responsible for them ‘till death do us apart’’
Sometimes it breaks my heart if you see how some people treat animals… I value all people who help others (people or animals) without any personal (or financial) gain. Like Ms van Weelde, founder of the Catboat. It’s great that we can still continue her good work.”
WE ARE WOMEN IN LOVE
“We are Kim Lammers and Sanne Dufrenne and we met each other in March 2008 via friends in a bar… Very click… We wanted to be together and thought why not get married? Being together forever did sound very good! It was not a thoughtful decision, we think the first ones to know were our parents but we don’t know exactly. We thought about it and we did fancy the thoughts of wife and wife… But afterwards you can say that getting married is a very special and personal moment. We did really enjoy it and it makes your relationship very special, and we would do it again tomorrow. Just be yourself and if you want to get married, do it! We don’t think we are somebody else’s hero just because we are married, maybe just a good example for other people who are afraid of what people might think of them.
In life it is very important to do what you would like to do and be yourself. Be happy and inspire other people by just being you! And we are doing that every day.”
“My name is Ben Mulders and I am 26 years old. I have a mother and one brother. My father died in 2002 of cancer when I was 14 years old. In 2010 I bought my own house and lived there with my girlfriend until February 2013 when she left me. Since then, I live there on my own. I am a Corporal first class at the Airborne/Air Assault brigade in the Royal Dutch Army. A lot of my days, I spend at the barracks in Arnhem and everywhere else in the world where the army sends me. Next to my job, I study business management, economics and law at the HAN in Arnhem (Google it 😉 ). I am in my third year of college and I hope to graduate this time next year. Because of my school in combination with my work I don’t have a normal social life at this moment. I try to play soccer at my local soccer club (Eendracht ‘30) every Saturday when I am free from work and college, so I can see my friends. I do have knowledge about the world. I know different cultures and that every culture deserves respect. Differences between certain parts of the world create chances, not threats. In the western world, people always think that they know it all and because of our freedom of speech, everyone just says what they think, although most of them don’t even know what’s happening in their neighboring country. I don’t judge people because of where they come from, I try to listen to them and try to learn from them. I think that I’ve become a much stronger person because of my extreme busy life. I know what ‘work’ means and I always do my best to get the best possible result. My work and studies demand a lot from me. And although I have to give up the greatest part of my life such as the women that was the love of my live, I can see the greater goal. I need this job and study so we could have (and now I have) the best possible future. I just have to be strong for a total of four years of college next to the job. Sometimes I am a little bit of an emotional person when we talk about the people I care about. It makes it hard to do the things I love to do most. The loss of my girlfriend and the fact I can’t be there for my friends and my mother all the time makes me doubt myself sometimes. But I know why I do what I do, everyone has their doubts sometimes, but then, it is key to ‘man up’ and do your job. So, as you can read above… The biggest weakness is that I sometime think too much about if I am doing things the right way. Doubt is a dangerous thing in my job: it can cost lives. Since I can remember, I always said I wanted to be a soldier, at first I said I would be a Apache helicopter Pilot but when I turned 17 I stopped school (that’s why I’m studying now) so I could join the Royal Dutch Army. They said to me: “You are a big guy, we think you should go to the Red Barets”. I listened to them and joined the Air Assault Infantry and I loved it. So now I fly helicopters and all kind of planes too, only in the back. I was most satisfied when I returned from Afghanistan. Just like every soldier that served in a war, we have experienced good times and f*cked up times. But all in all, these times are the most precious times of our lives. We did a good job for the people in Afghanistan. The feedback from the locals was all very positive. After a couple of hours of intensive fighting in Afghanistan, there was a moment of ceasefire. I was knelt down with my Minimi (weapon) watching in the direction of the enemy when a couple of enemy fighters appeared in my sights. I saw their AK47’s and I really wanted to take them out, because I was lucky I didn’t get hit a couple of times. But I also say that they had a little girl with them approx 10 years old, so I had to decide if I would open fire. The Minimi is not a single shot weapon so when I pull the trigger to take out these men, there would be a great danger to shoot the little girl as well because of the spreading of the bullets. I immediately told my sergeant (over the radio) what I saw and that I thought the risk was too great for the girl. The sergeant said to hold my fire. So we thought the same about this situation. A difficult decision, but at that moment this was the best decision I could make.
The most difficult period was the moment my girlfriend left me. I seriously started to have doubts about my job and career and how it affects my social life. It has taken a few months for me to get over it and to realise that she was the one that could not understand why I am living my life as I do (for our future). When I graduate next year the heavy times would be over for the rest of her life.
During a tour, the feelings are not that strong. We all live for the mission. Only when the moment of going home comes near do you start to think about home extremely. That is a dangerous time because you have to be aware that you don’t get distracted and start making mistakes. Mistakes can be deadly. When I came home, from my side the relationship was stronger than ever. Unfortunately the people at home have a total different perception of our mission. If I could choose one superhero power, I would like to be able to travel back in time so I can make up for the things I did wrong. Don’t get me wrong, even if I could travel back in time, I would never change my decision of joining this team of Air Assault professionals.
My heroes are my colleagues, they are all professionals who believed that ‘one man is no man’,
no matter their rank: Private 2nd class up to the Company Captain. And of course the strongest women in the world: my mother, because my brother and I weren’t the easiest kids to raise. She raised us on her own, in our most difficult ages. We both serve in the Royal Dutch Army and so she had to deal with both of us. At this time we both have a good life… Thanks to our mom!”