Time at last

I worked hard last year. For science program Labyrint(h) (unfortunately already deceased). And I did some very nice commissioned projects. I got the chance to write the voice over for the television edition of the magnificent project ‘De Nieuwe Wildernis’, about wildlife in the Oostvaardersplassen, a reservation in the shadow of Amsterdam. Oh yes, and I finished my thesis. So now I have time enough to pick up my old project about insects again.

Ichneumon wasp

We filmed the giant ichneumon wasp today in the Reuselse Moeren, with Kees Zwakhals (ichneumon wasp expert). The rare ichneumons are parasitic wasps that feed on wood wasps. It is a fantastic, intricate story. Wood wasps lay their eggs in diseased birch trees, where the larvae grow. They live for about two years in the wood, but run the risk that ichneumon wasps will come to lay their eggs in the larvae. How do the ichneumon wasps find out where the larvae are? The wood wasp larvae live in symbiosis with a mould – and the giant ichneumon wasp smells the mould.


Why are fattening foods so tasty? Or are they? I’m doing research on this subject. The first comments I read are that the above is true: we love fattening foods. And there is some logic to this idea. With high-energy foods, our bodies emit pleasure signals. And that pleasure signal in the brain’s reward centre translates into “give me more”. Next time, therefore, that cream puff will go down again with little resistance.

This is part of a new episode of Labyrint. The other part involves a technological tour de force at an American laboratory that has tried to make food last for years without refrigeration. They also want it to be shock proof – and of course: for ever tasty..


And we plan to film insects again. We will start on a simple level with ladybirds. This is for a VARA pilot. As soon as there is more to tell, I will tell it.

Filmed ladybirds yesterday with a macro lens. Wonderful creatures. They take direction nicely. If you place one on a blade of grass, they walk to the tip. So you could make a nice traveling shot (at least, Chris could), with a black-speckled leading role that moves on command. Well…sort of. It took 10 takes to get the ladybug to the tip without taking a detour. And I even got a fly to wash its hands on cue. Worms are also good, but they are a bit slow. The lead players of the other episodes will be more difficult, I imagine.

What am I doing?

I have not yet started on a new Labyrint. I’m still recuperating from the last one: a programme about dark material and gravity — a demanding subject, to put it mildly, with a matching number of (deeply interested) viewers.

Other than that, I am working on a new series – at least, I hope to see it get off the ground. I’ve had the idea for a couple of years. When there is more to tell, I’ll tell it. And then I’ve been busy with several extremely interesting projects for companies.