Headwind wins the Audience Award for Culture in Flanders with all its consequences

Article overview

The Flemish Folk Prize for Culture 2021 has been awarded by the public to the documentary series Tegenwind, in which Maurice de Hond was also one of those portrayed. The reactions in the Flemish media were as predictable as they were characteristic. They had not seen the episodes, but still they came with qualifications like disinformation and wappies … But a real debate? What do you think?

Read the full article: Headwind wins the Audience Award for Culture in Flanders with all its consequences

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Ultimas, the Flemish cultural prizes

In Flanders, cultural prizes are awarded annually by the Flemish government. It is described as follows on the website.

This quote is from the Prime Minister of the Flemish (sub) government, who is also responsible for culture. There are 12 main categories where a jury nominates the winners (winners) per year. Such as “letters”, “performing arts”, “film and visual media”. The award ceremony for the year 2021 took place on 10 May. On this page you can see this year’s 12 winners and their categories.

A public award has also been established for the first time in 2021. The public was allowed to nominate his or her cultural favorite for that award. More than 100 were nominated, after which a shortlist of three came out. One of these three was the documentary series “Tegenwind”, which was about three Belgian and three Dutch scientists who caused a stir in the Corona debate. I was one of these scientists along with Prof. Theo Schetters and Prof. Matthias Desmet. Here you will find the sections that have been made about us.


Modvind became the winner of the Audience Award and on this page of VRT you will find, among other things, the award ceremony. This initiative by journalists Alain Grootaers and Jakobien Huisman was recorded around 1 July 2021 on their farm in Andalusia. Director / cameraman Mark Sanders and his team portrayed the conversations and the environment in a beautiful and fascinating way. This is the episode that was made by me, and this 20 second shot of conversation on a football field alone shows the craftsmanship and dedication that the episodes were made with.

The episodes have now been viewed more than 6 million times.

The choice of the six main characters of the creators was to give a picture of scientists who gave a counter-sound during the Corona era, despite the strong headwinds they got. The common denominator for us was that we were mostly attacked or ignored in the traditional media. And that what we said was not taken seriously because it did not match the dominant narrative surrounding Corona in the broadest sense of the word.

The attention we got was primarily on social media and alternative / new media channels.

The personal consequences were different. Sam Bokken, who had said on television in February 2021 that the vaccine would not protect against becoming infected, was fired shortly after from the university where he worked. And because he did not get a job anywhere in Belgium after that, he emigrated.

big ballad

The awarding of this public prize attracted a great deal of attention in Flanders. Many expressed their disgust! And wondered if this could be counted as culture. If the series had been about the climate crisis and the information packaged in the same way, it would undoubtedly have elicited cheers and no discussion as to whether this should be considered culture.

The answer in Flanders is best symbolized by this article on the website of VRT in Belgium, which was published immediately after the publication of the award. This is an image of that web page. Look carefully, because at the top left is the word “Disinformation”! It apparently places VRT with articles by their own journalists when they write about something that, according to VRT, does not follow the dominant narrative.

Headwind wins the audience award for culture in Flanders with all its consequences - 42653

On Wednesday night, there was a debate about the award ceremony in the talk show “De Afspraak” on the Belgian channel Canvas. Unfortunately, that talk show cannot be seen in the Netherlands (not even online, you have to be Belgian!). Most notably, none of the three opponents came up with factual substantive arguments. They also indicated that they had not seen the episodes. This article discusses that conversation and analyzes it for logical arguments. The lack of level and the lack of real arguments from the interlocutors is really to cry.

In addition to a statuette, the prize was also 10,000 euros. And that’s what Marc van Ranst wrote about it.

Headwind wins the audience award for culture in Flanders with all its consequences - 42654

During the filming, I spent a few days with the other five and with the creators of the documentary series. Each of these 5 were experts in their field (all worked at universities). They had an excellent track record, and based on their knowledge and experience in specific areas in which they had expertise, they had reached conclusions that were inconsistent with the story told to us by the WHO / CDCs / RIVM .

I could and cannot agree with all their conclusions because I lack the professional expertise and experience that those involved have in their field. But given my own experiences in recent years and what they said I could test, I think we put them together is worth taking part in a debate, whether it’s scientific or not. In this way either to reach agreement or to determine where the differences are and what the arguments for both sides are.

But that’s not what the bearers of the dominant narrative want (and I do not think they can). They think it is enough to sprinkle with harsh and disqualifying conditions. That is, all the others who have not dived into what has been said by the six either think that it is all nonsense, what is claimed by the six. Those who carry the dominant narrative (such as this world’s Van Ransten) will therefore never be criticized for the quality of their information, their knowledge of the studies, and their assessments from the recent past and present.

The ease with which one is then rejected as a wappie if one does not agree with the dominant narrative on the basis of one’s own information gathering, one’s own life experience and one’s own expertise, I found and find it shocking. It is rather a proof of self-overestimation plus unwillingness to really dive into the attitudes of others.

Unfortunately, it is characteristic of the state in which both science and society have found themselves. And unfortunately also the media, which VRT once again proves with its reporting. A real public debate based on arguments does not happen. The last two years’ far-reaching policy has not been independently and comprehensively evaluated, so there is again a chance that there will be a fairly comparable development in the autumn.

Unfortunately, vigilance on this side is still necessary. Click here to support us financially from time to time.

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