Castlefest is a medieval/fantasy festival held annually at Keukenhof Castle in Lisse, Netherlands. It has grown from a small annual celebration of the Wickerman ritual – a (new) pagan ritual in which a large image of an animal or human being is burned – to a festival attended by 42,500 visitors (in 2019). Since we don’t have a similar festival on the same scale in Belgium – or at least I’m not familiar with it – I’ve been frequenting the festival since 2016. I actually visited it as a fortune-teller, a pirate and a dwarf. After two years of sitting outside the Corona pandemic, I was able to enjoy the sun, honey wine, a handicraft market full of expensive goods and of course lots of fun music.
But what makes the festival so fun and keeps it going, are the people. Although I often get in touch with Dutch culture only thanks to their smoking products and Rotterdam’s – cool – friend, I know our northern neighbors didn’t like it. So I decided to pick some interesting characters and test them on serious global topics. It was a great day for a match.”do you prefer’.
Rick (34) Medieval Man
VICE: Would you rather improve working conditions at Amazon or earn 10% of what Jeff Bezos earns in a year?
Rick: I would like to improve working conditions.
Do you think people at Amazon are treated fairly?
Depends on where you sit; If you work in the software department, that’s fine. But if you work more with your hands, don’t. You are really exploited there.
How can you improve working conditions?
Give people a break, pay decently, and don’t make demands impossibly high.
What do you think of Jeff Bezos?
I find him a tough guy. You see, this is a typical rich man. You see these kind of guys just make money. You can see that in their behaviour.
Do you know such people?
Yes, Elon Musk of course is also a great acquaintance. And Bill Gates, too, but he’d better cover it up.
Would you rather find a solution to global warming or cure cancer?
Global warming is a bigger problem.
Because everyone is affected by global warming.
What do you think of the deniers?
They are often stuck in a bubble and then you basically start looking for what you want to look for and willfully ignore what you don’t like.
How do you convince these people?
That does not make sense. All you can do is let them see the benefits for themselves. Because if they don’t take advantage of it themselves, they won’t do anything.
How do you feel about the climate crisis?
It’s clearly signs on the wall, what you’ve been hearing for years, and yet people keep denying it. They often say, “It’s just the weather, not the climate.”
Are you afraid of global warming?
I’m not much afraid of global warming, but we’re too late to do anything about it.
Finna (23) and Alex (29)
VICE: Would you rather lose your arms or legs?
Art: my legs.
Alex: I think my arm.
Art: Still doing so much with your hands and arms, you can push yourself forward. And yes, without weapons, I think it’s a little more difficult.
Alex: Because I love my movement and mobility. Even though I would have lost my arm, I would still be able to go back and forth. I like my arms but more movement.
Do you cook with your feet?
Alex: A solution must be found. (Laugh) I’ve seen people who are slender with their legs, that’s definitely possible.
Do you think our society is adapting to people with physical disabilities?
Art: No, not so fast. As you can see here at the festival, people in wheelchairs, yes they really need to help others if they want to. Yes, I don’t really like it anyway, but I can’t cite an example.
Alex: In such events, there are people willing to help and the events in general meet the needs of people with disabilities more. But the community itself, I will not say.
So it could be better?
Alex: I think so.
Would you rather be the CEO of a company but earn less than people of the opposite sex, or equal pay but have a lower job?
Art: Just equal pay, because I don’t see myself as a CEO. I am a worker more than a manager.
Alex: CEO isn’t the position I’d like to hold anyway, so equal pay is definitely the best for me.
What do you think about the wage gap, is it still tangible and visible?
Alex: I feel it inside the company I work for. To see that you are getting paid less than the intern who came with less knowledge. Then you suddenly feel a wage gap and a knowledge gap. And if you suddenly see your manager’s new BMW on your doorstep, yes …
Art: I’m not sure about the difference between the genders because I work in healthcare, which doesn’t pay very well anyway. Of course I would like to get rid of that too. Alex definitely earns more than I do because of that. Yes, it is unfortunate.
Alex: If only I had the answer I could match, unfortunately not. I’m just a wage slave working on it.
Roderik (29) aka One Sock Joe, a pirate
VICE: Would you rather get rich or cure cancer?
Roderick: Cancer treatment.
The first point, it can make me rich, but I don’t want to get rich, it has to happen. You can buy pretty things with money, but yes, Cancer is something that has to go.
Would you rather marry Donald Trump or Putin?
Is there a third option?
I think I can defeat Trump better than Putin. Putin will make me his bitch, Trump, yes I may have to do my best, but I think I may have something to say in this relationship if I have to choose.
Who is worse, Putin or Trump?
Hard to say, I didn’t think about it. I know less about Putin than Trump, I followed Trump because he was a hilarious cheerleader, because what to do at this time. I know Trump is a disgusting person, and that’s very evident in all the things I’ve seen about him. There really isn’t a choice there. If not, throw in Hitler too, I think we’ll be fine.
Both are bad people?
Yes, you will have to force me to choose between the two.
Thomas (64), Steam Banker and Model Blacksmith
VICE: Would you rather give up meat or alcohol?
Thomas: Oh this is good. I’d rather not eat meat anymore.
What do you think about vegetarian/vegan?
It’s okay, our daughter is a vegetarian, so we often eat vegan and vegetarian. And if we eat meat, it is only from our environment. Those are deer and wild boars. They are hunted all over the village, so there is not much distance to go. Animals live in the jungle and then they are shot. So it doesn’t contain any hormones or antibiotics either.
So is it an environmental thing for you?
yes. I also think that other animals for meat only live in very poor conditions. If they have a nice life in the woods, that’s okay. But I’d rather miss meat than alcohol.
Should we reduce our alcohol consumption?
absolute. I also hear (Laugh).
Is it a problem in our society?
Certainly, it is unhealthy and costs money on us and society. It makes people sick and requires medical care, which is expensive. Both for itself and the state.
Issa aka Isabouter (22) and Tom aka Tombouter (27), the statues
VICE: Would you rather lose your arms or legs?
Tom: Legs, can I also take an arm and a leg?
Jesus: No, no, because you want to keep your arms. Replacing the legs is much easier than replacing the arms.
Why rather a man and an arm?
Tom: compensation. Then it is still the same.
Do you think our society is accessible enough for people with physical disabilities?
Jesus: You see it in action, I see it in my training as a nurse. Not fit at all.
And why not?
Tom: Well, try sitting in a wheelchair for a day. You can’t even get to the ATM at the cash register, that thing is too high and you’re too low.
Tom: You can’t travel alone on public transportation.
Jesus: This is a big thing too. You just depend on others immediately, whether you like it or not. A lot of things are adapted and you can do it yourself.
Tom: Stairs, stairs, sometimes you have a toilet but you can’t turn around, that kind of thing.
Jesus: Or simply get help from the municipality at all, because they are often very expensive. It’s very difficult, people sometimes walk around with the same wheelchair for ten years because there is simply no money to get a new one from the municipality. Well, and paying for this thing yourself will cost you hundreds of euros.
Tom: They don’t look at how something is used, how intensely they say “Well, yeah, you’ll get a new one in ten years.”
Jesus: Unless you change your signal and then your condition should get worse, yes that’s not what you actually want.
Tom: You also don’t want to get sicker, you want to be able to do what you have. If you can’t go out in public on your own, it can naturally affect your confidence and your individuality.
Jesus: Only the quality of your life.
Jesus: We have hope in the Netherlands that it will rank well and hopefully it will improve, I think that sums it up.
Sandra (52) and Dirk (57), Lady in Red and the Joker
VICE: Would you rather marry Trump or Putin?
Dirk: I’m with Putin. Choosing from a lot of evil is very difficult.
Sandra: Yes indeed, you chose Trump.
Dirk: Yes haha, there is a man worse than Putin and that is Trump. I find it more dangerous.
And why Trump?
Sandra: Yes, I have some money left over upon divorce.
Who is worse for the world?
Dirk: Trump is scary to me. Besides Trump, yes, Putin is not so much, he keeps his finger off the button, and I think Trump pushes the button faster.
Sandra: put it in the . Because he has a lot of power, a lot of monopoly.
Has a higher chance of doing dangerous things?
Sandra: Yes really.
Would you rather cure cancer or solve the climate crisis?
Dirk: Yes, I think cancer is part of society, and the climate is going too fast for the future. Cancer has always been around. And if you cure cancer and the world vanishes or the environment collapses, there is no point in that.
Sandra: It causes a lot of sadness. Better heal people first.
You are beautiful unlike each other
Dirk: Yes, that keeps it fun. We complement each other.
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