The Druids – mysterious priests of the Celts

For a long time, only what ancient authors from Greece and Rome reported about the religious dignitaries of the Celts, the Druids, was known. Fascinating archaeological finds from recent years offer new insights into the cultic practices of the Iron Age. They allow us to draw conclusions about the importance of the druids in Celtic society. With their rituals involving mistletoe, oak woods, magic potions and human sacrifice, they still exert a great attraction on many people today. But what about this image is historically verifiable? What is pure projection? Who were the Druids really? What role did they play in Celtic society and how much truth is there in the image of the wise bearded man in a light-coloured robe with a sickle in his hand cutting mistletoe? Archaeological sites and finds in France, Germany and England reveal a new picture and even allow the assumption that not only men were druids.

Adventure Harvest

When a harvester takes six tonnes of beans from the field per hour, when a complete 32-hectare wheat field is mown within three hours, or when a planting machine alone puts up to one million iceberg lettuce plants into the ground per day – then it is high season in northern German fields.

Behind these gigantic dimensions are farmers who have to struggle every year with cold snaps, record heat, too much or too little rain. And as if that wasn’t enough, in 2020 there was also Corona. Thousands of harvest workers could not enter the country, fields could not be cultivated and asparagus could not be harvested. Would farmers in northern Germany be able to harvest the usual quantities this year, guarantee supplies, all at stable prices? Or would Corona mean ruin? 2020 poses great challenges for the farmers.

Vanessa Kossen and Arne Jessen accompanied large and important producers for a season and got to know people who grow vegetables, fruit and grain with passion, a willingness to take risks and a love of the product. Things that we can buy as a matter of course in the supermarkets every day.

Funded by nordmedia – Film- und Mediengesellschaft Niedersachsen/Bremen mbH.

ZDFzoom: Armutszeugnis Corona – Wen das Virus am härtesten trifft

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Während das Impfen im Kampf gegen Corona an Fahrt aufnimmt, zeigt sich, wie hoch die Ansteckungsraten gerade in manchen Brennpunkt-Vierteln sind, z.B. im Berliner Stadtteil Neukölln.

So gewinnt im zweiten Jahr der Pandemie eine heikle Debatte an Brisanz: Sind bestimmte Bevölkerungsgruppen, zum Beispiel solche mit Migrationshintergrund, Infektionstreiber*innen? Oder ist Armut schuld daran, dass manche Menschen stärker von Corona betroffen sind als andere?

Schlagzeilen von Clanhochzeiten und anderen Superspreader-Events, die Migrant*innen zugeschrieben werden, eignen sich bestens für populistische Hetzpropaganda. Doch Soziolog*innen und Migrationsexpert*innen betonen immer wieder, dass Menschen aus sozial schwachen Verhältnissen, ob mit oder ohne Migrationshintergrund, besonders schutzbedürftig sind. Deshalb dürfe das Thema nicht tabuisiert werden. Doch die Recherchen der Zoom-Reporterinnen Joanna Michna und Candan Six-Sasmaz zeigen: Aus Angst, bestimmte Bevölkerungsgruppen zu diskriminieren, werden soziologische Daten in Bezug auf Krankheiten gar nicht erst erhoben. Was auf breiter politischer Ebene versäumt wurde, versucht Medizinsoziologe Nico Dragano mit seinen Mitteln zu erforschen. Für ihn steht fest, wen Corona am härtesten trifft: “Regionen, in denen viele Menschen mit geringem Einkommen leben, stechen durch eine erhöhte Sterblichkeitsrate heraus.“

Auf lokaler Ebene gibt es unterdessen Anstrengungen, besonders gefährdete Bevölkerungsgruppen besser über Infektionsrisiken informieren. Die ZDFzoom Reporterinnen gehen der Frage nach, wie es gelingen kann, auch bundesweit Menschen, die der Pandemie besonders ausgeliefert sind, jetzt und in Zukunft besser zu schützen.

Small country very big

A glance at the map speaks volumes: they are easy to overlook. Sandwiched between the continent’s big players, they eke out an existence seemingly without the opportunity to develop, ridiculed for their helplessness. But they know how to preserve their very own traditions and protect the animals and plants that have become rare. Their exceptional location in often extreme mountain or coastal environments provides refuges for endangered species. This series not only celebrates the beauty of nature in the “micros” – it also aims to highlight environmental problems and present solutions.


Each episode features a microstate: Andorra, Liechtenstein, Malta and Monaco. They are characterised by their location: Malta at the interface of Europe and Africa, Monaco with its “back to the wall” and a view out to sea, Andorra squeezed between mountains and neighbours, and Liechtenstein as a fortress in the border triangle between Germany, Austria and Switzerland and Luxembourg. But the topography also creates the backdrop for grandiose natural spectacles.

The stories of the “Micronesians” tell of the courageous efforts to preserve their natural characteristics and cultural independence.

Tuesday, 29 March 2021 on arte:
at 5.25 p.m. the episode Malta by Anne Wigger
at 6.35 p.m. the episode Monaco by Michael Gregor

Wednesday, 30 March 2021 on arte:
at 5.50 p.m. the episode Liechtenstein by Anja Glücklich
at 6.30 p.m. the episode Luxembourg by Susanne Utzt

Thursday, 31 March 2021 on arte:
at 5.45 p.m. the episode Andorra by Michael Gregor

The New Huntresses – Farewell to Loden Felt

Hunting is experiencing a renaissance. The number of hunting licence graduates has doubled in the past ten years. A new generation is growing up. Increasingly, young women are seeking access to nature in this way. Many of them only want to eat meat that they have hunted themselves. For them, hunting means more than freedom and adventure. It is active forest protection and thus climate protection – Fridays for Future conquers the raised hide.

plan b: Naturally beautiful – cosmetics rethought

Cream, deodorant, lipstick: hardly anything comes closer to us. This is one of the reasons why consumers increasingly value natural ingredients, less packaging and fair production conditions.

Our cosmetics often contain controversial mineral oils or aluminium salts. They are packaged in disposable plastic. Good reasons to look for alternatives. For example, a deodorant that is 100 per cent natural and without waste. Good for consumers and the environment.

Fewer and fewer consumers want to put just anything on their skin. Instead, less chemicals and plastic in the bathroom. Marina Zubrod, who founded Matica in 2019, is also aware of this. That’s Croatian for queen bee. The name says it all, because the basis of all Matica products is beeswax. “I had major skin problems myself a few years ago, that’s when I started looking into the ingredients in my skincare products and wasn’t exactly “amused”.” The start was brilliant. Within the first six months, the company went through the roof so much that Marina Zubrod’s husband Jan quit his job and joined her company full-time. Marina provides the ideas, Jan tries to put them into practice in their own small laboratory. Their latest idea: a 100 per cent natural roll-on deodorant that still works and comes in refillable packaging. Can it work?

Good viruses, bad viruses

In the current Corona pandemic, the SARS-CoV-2 virus is killing a great many people and limiting life around the globe. But viruses also have good sides that we can use.

According to the common definition, viruses do not count as living beings. Nevertheless, they have a great influence on evolution and are even a part of us humans. Some virus building blocks have anchored themselves in our genome and reproduce with us.

They help us to survive. Viruses built into the human genome – so-called endogenous retroviruses – contribute to the formation of the placenta, for example.

Other viruses attack bacteria, preventing them from spreading and thus creating space for further life. This is also the case in the depths of the sea. There, viruses ensure the ecological balance. For example, they curb the growth of algae by attacking them. Or they infect disease-causing bacteria that target marine animals. So soon, viruses could be used instead of antibiotics in fish farming.

At the Bernhard Nocht Institute in Hamburg, viruses are examined, catalogued and archived. Bird flu, Zika, Ebola – a total of several thousand viruses have been completely sequenced, the actual number is probably many times higher. The Ebola virus is one of the most dangerous viruses worldwide, with a mortality rate of up to 90 percent.  However, the head of virology, Stephan Günther, sees the danger for humans rather in more harmless pathogens: “Actually, one has to say that the more successful viruses are influenza, Spanish flu or now Covid – the well-transmissible viruses.” Because of their much lower mortality rate, they spread much further and thus end up killing more people than those viruses that, when infected, kill almost every infected person.

But viruses can also help heal us: Near Rome, 40 scientists are developing a vaccine against SARS-Cov-2. The researchers are using the shell of a virus they found in the faeces of gorillas as a transport capsule for the vaccine. In this way, they transform a pathogen into an effective drug. Vaccinations against black skin cancer, for example, are also already being carried out – based on viruses that attack cancer cells. The documentary “Good Viruses, Bad Viruses” shows that viruses are much more than disease-causing pathogens. They determine our existence and we can make use of their properties.

Northern Germany by night

Wie verändert sich Norddeutschland, wenn das Leben zur Ruhe kommt und sich die Dunkelheit über das Land legt? Der Film „Norddeutschland bei Nacht“ zeigt uns was passiert, während die meisten von uns schlafen.

Mit dem Hubschrauber und besonders lichtempfindlichen Spezialkameras an Bord fliegen Autor Marcus Fischötter und sein Team über blinkende Windparks, Krabbenfischer im Mondschein und Bauern, die im Scheinwerferlicht ihrer Mähdrescher Felder pflügen. Hinweg über die Häfen von Rostock, Kiel, Hamburg und vorbei an Ölplattform, Raffinerie und hell leuchtender Industrie. Überall ist nächtliches Leben. Der Norden bei Nacht ist ein schillerndes Lichtermeer.

Nacht in der Schweiz

In our 3-part journey through a night in Switzerland from dusk to dawn, we take viewers on helicopter and drone flights across the country to visit people who are still working then. Spectacular aerial shots lend the country a mysterious beauty. Images emerge that we have never seen before. And different people who are active at night tell their stories: We are present at night ski tours, piste preparations and dog sled races in winter, accompany border guards, bird ringers, film shoots, heavy transports and street artists in summer and autumn. A high-quality series with interesting stories and great pictures.

On 27.12.2020 on SRF:
Episode 1 – Wintry Switzerland from 20:05 to 21:00
Episode 2 – Summer Switzerland from 21:00 to 21:55
Episode 3 – Autumnal Switzerland from 21:55 to 22:50

The 2000s – Decade of Division

The first decade of the 21st century is drawing new divides. In Germany and the world. Terror and war characterise the decade just as much as the growing gap between rich and poor, winners and losers of globalisation. On the other hand, the digital revolution is turning our everyday lives upside down. The internet is becoming commonplace, the smartphone our constant companion.

While the 90s were a decade of German navel-gazing, the noughties bring us back to the political world stage. From the attacks on the World Trade Center to the war in the Hindu Kush and the great stock market crash.

2000-2001 Terror War and TV Trash

The feared millennium bug does not materialise. The start of the new millennium is rather leisurely. The CDU, shaken by a donation scandal, treats itself to a woman as its new chairperson, Angela Merkel, and Berlin gets a gay mayor. Klaus Wowereit is one of the first prominent politicians to admit his sexual orientation. The feuilleton works off the RTL container show “Big Brother” and the sports world works off the designated national football coach Christoph Daum. He resigns because of his cocaine use. The big bang comes in 2001, when the terrorist attacks of 11 September mark a historic turning point.  From then on, war and terror dominate the decade and bring Germany back onto the world political stage.

2002-2004 Force of nature and Nipplegate

The Bundeswehr fights alongside America in Afghanistan against the Taliban, but Germany does not take part in the war in Iraq. Dictator Saddam Hussein is toppled in the process. Nevertheless, peace does not come to the Middle East. Janet Jackson’s bare breasts arouse America more than the torture pictures from the US prison in Abu Ghraib. And after the CDU/CSU finally found a candidate for chancellor in Edmund Stoiber, the search for Germany’s superstar began on TV. In 2002, Stoiber loses his composure against incumbent Gerhard Schröder and national football coach Rudi Völler in an interview with sports reporter Waldemar Hartmann. The flood of the century in Saxony and Bavaria is followed by the tsunami disaster in the Indian Ocean. Mourning clouds Christmas in Germany in 2004.

2005-2007 – Summer fairy tale and chancellor’s riot

Hartz IV is the big domestic issue in the middle of the decade. It tears the SPD apart and ends the Red-Green era. In autumn 2005, Angela Merkel becomes Chancellor for the first time. We are already Pope by then. But what is still missing is another World Cup title. In 2006, a new, young team is to win the World Cup in its own country under the direction of Jürgen Klinsmann. Germany is experiencing a black-red-gold summer fairy tale, which not even the missed final can spoil in the end. However, anyone hoping that the great jubilation will continue at the Tour de France will be disappointed. The German Telekom star Jan Ulrich is convicted of blood doping and it soon becomes clear that this is only the tip of the iceberg. The big innovations come from overseas. The first smartphone is made in the USA. In 2007, the iPhone begins its triumphal march around the globe and fundamentally changes our communication behaviour.

2008-2009 – Obama frenzy and banking crash

The fat years are over. Organic is the new magic word and becomes the trademark of urban lifestyle at the end of the decade. In any case, healthy and cultivated food is booming. After the casting shows, the cooking shows conquer the German screens. Completely against its will, the global economy also goes on a diet in 2008. A huge real estate bubble bursts in the USA. First the banks are hit, then the real economy. Short-time work and scrapping premiums are supposed to slow the downturn in Germany. But the end of the decade also brings new hope. Helene Fischer gives German pop music a new lease of life. And after George W. Bush, Barack Obama is the first African-American to enter the White House. With Obama – and not only the Nobel Prize Committee hopes so – the decade marked by terror and war might find a peaceful end after all.

Regina Halmich, Sönke Wortmann, Barbara Hahlweg, Sarah Wiener, Jakob Augstein and the front women of the bands “MIA” and “Juli” accompany us on this equally entertaining foray through the 2000s.

Broadcast date of all 4 episodes on 29.11.2020:
20:15 – 21:00: 2000-2001 – Terror War and TV Trash
21:00 – 21:45: 2002-2004 – Force of nature and Nipplegate
21:45 – 22:30: 2005-2007 – Summer Fairy Tale and Chancellor’s Riots
22:30 – 23:15: 2008-2009 – Obama frenzy and banking crash