Kantel je scherm om verder te gaan.

the project

What is it about the forest? The moment you step in between the trees, something changes. There is a shift in the air and sounds seem different somehow. The forest is a place where you can feel safe, enveloped by tall trees, the calming rustle of leaves and the coolness on a hot summer’s day. But the forest can also be a mysterious place, frightening even. Children lie awake at night after hearing tales of bandits lurking in dark forests. Ever since our forefathers climbed down from the trees and plunged into the savannah, humans have been fascinated by the forest.

'lungs of the earth'

The boreal forest is a circle of mostly coniferous trees stretching across northern Europe, Asia and North America. It is the largest vegetation zone (biome) on earth and makes up around 30% of the total forested area. With a total surface area of around nine million square kilometres, it is considerably larger than the Amazon rainforest. Boreal forests, also known as taiga, convert carbon dioxide into oxygen on a massive scale. The average tree produces enough oxygen over a hundred-year period to allow a human being to breathe for twenty years. Together, the tropical rainforest and the boreal forest act as our earth’s lungs. Yet less than twelve per cent of these forests is a protected area.

For Borealis, photographer Jeroen Toirkens and journalist Jelle Brandt Corstius will be visiting these forests in search of the stories and people in the forests. Who lives in them? How do they live? And how do the forest-dwellers relate to their surroundings?

our travels

Between 2016 and the end of 2019, we intend to make eight trips: some nearby, others far away.  During these trips, we shall be staying in one place, using this as a base from which to explore the wider area. We shall be searching for the forest and for the stories that lie hidden within it.

'stories about people living in the taiga'

During the course of these eight trips, we shall be describing the physical forest in words and pictures, whilst also seeking out the philosophical meaning of the forests that surround us.  What effect does it have on you to live for years in a wide expanse of forest? We will visit firefighters in Siberia, who risk their lives to protect the vast forests, and we will search for the last remaining piece of boreal forest in Western Europe.

travel with us

You now have the unique opportunity to subscribe to our project and 'travel' with us. If you subscribe you will receive a beautifully designed birch wooden box with eight compartments. After each trip, at least twice a year, you will receive a photo, a handwritten text, a postcard or another ‘relic’ from along the way.  
You will build up your own project collector’s box and play an active role in the project’s creation.

Each year we will invite you for an exclusive lecture (somewhere in The Netherlands) where we will talk about our adventures And at the end of the project you will receive a signed and numbered copy of our book to make your collection complete.

a unique wooden cassette in a limited, numbered edition of 500

eight special souvenirs from eight remarkable journeys

a yearly invitation for an exclusive lecture
where we will will talk about our adventures

the book borealis

about us

Photographer Jeroen Toirkens and journalist Jelle Brandt Corstius previously collaborated on the NomadsLife project, in which they sought out the last living nomads in the Northern Hemisphere. The result of this collaboration was the much-lauded book Nomad and a variety of different joint reportages in national and international media. Their collaboration is characterised by a desire to take an in-depth look at the chosen topics. These are intensive, extensive, ‘slow journalism’ projects in which the subject is approached from as many different angles as possible. We train our inquisitive gaze on the story and look for the human beings behind it.

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