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The 34th World Expo opened in Milan on 1 May 2015. Under the title ‘Feeding the Planet. Energy for Life’, a collective of national states, multinationals and relief agencies assembled for the occasion to present the future of global agriculture, food and energy supply to millions of visitors. This occasion has prompted Het Nieuwe Instituut and Slow Food to initiate The Mansholt Letter; a plea to European policy makers for the introduction of a moral food policy and a new élan for the European Union.

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The New Letter

During the Dutch chairmanship of the EU, Europe’s Ministers of Agriculture came together in the Netherlands. On the occasion of their meeting, on May 30 2016, The New Mansholt Letter was published. This letter, directed at all European policy makers, forms a plea for the introduction of a moral food policy and a new élan for the EU.



Expo Milano provides a unique setting for Het Nieuwe Instituut and Slow Food to collect visions and insights from food innovators, farmers, designers, policy makers and researchers from all over the world. Hear what they have to say about our food system and how they would like to rewrite the future.

The letter

As early as 1972, agriculture commissioner Sicco Mansholt had put this issue on the European political agenda in an urgent letter to the chairman of the European Union.

Exhibition: Sicco Mansholt. A Good European

Sicco Mansholt. A Good European was on show from 31 August to 9 November 2014 in Het Nieuwe Instituut. Throughout the exhibition, the viewer could observe the changing of the countryside and the evolution of landscape design in the Netherlands. The exhibition also looked at contemporary issues around food through the lens of Mansholt’s life.

Partnership with Slow Food

The Mansholt Letter is a project by Het Nieuwe Instituut in collaboration with Slow Food, a worldwide movement of farmers, consumers and food professionals who aim to make tasty, pure and fair food available for everybody. At the Expo in Milan, Slow Food is programming a pavilion of its own and, to offer a dissenting view, bringing together a thousand young farmers and food producers during the We Feed the Planet event in October 2015.

'Never Waste a Food Crisis'

online pamphlet

On October 6 2015 The Mansholt Letter was launched during We Feed the Planet, a four-day conference on the future of our food system, organised by the Slow Food Youth Network. The event was attended by over 2000 young farmers and food producers from all over the world. The reporters from Prospektor spoke to as many people possible, from keynote speakers to farmers from the Amazon and Detroit, to re-visit the issues in Mansholt's 1972 letter. These conversations form the basis for the pamphlet ‘Never Waste A Food Crisis’.

01/05/2015 – 30/05/2016

Expo Milano 2015, Milan
& Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam