In the late sixties film director Louis van Gasteren (1992) made a series of three films on the European Community. During that time he met Sicco Mansholt (1908-1995), agricultural commissioner of the EEC. They became close friends. Because of their friendship Van Gasteren got a special insight into the world of this prominent politician. Van Gasteren often accompanied Mansholt on his trips through Europe. Thus, he was able to document from up-close the conflicts and dilemma’s that Mansholt had to face as politician and statesman.
After the passing of Mansholt Van Gasteren felt it was his moral duty to make a movie about his friend. In doing so he had access to unique source material. In his conversations with Van Gasteren, Mansholt elaborates about his political choices. His unexpected change of heart in the seventies, towards a much greener policy, is also documented in these conversations. In the film contemporaries, colleagues and former politicians such as Cees Veerman, Jan Pronk and Hans van Mierlo look back on Mansholt’s European years. By means of material from amongst others the Mansholt family archive and interviews that Van Gasteren did with family and those around him, a personal portrait is drawn of this emblematic figure of European agricultural politics.
Sicco Mansholt. A good European is curated by Marten Kuijpers and succeeds the exhibition Mansholt: Landscape in Perspective, which took place at Bureau Europa in Maastricht in early 2014. While the show at Bureau Europa focused on Mansholt’s policy, this one concentrates on his political and social biography.