The very unsexy topic of my skin disease

Lees deze post in het Nederlands.

It’s not a sexy or trending topic, but for me it is a big one. Apart form having red and inflamed skin, which is what most people notice the first time they see me, my eczema penetrates my life in many more ways than can be seen on the surface. And I think it is time to talk about it, even if it only means I can let of some steam.

My greatest annoyances?

  • Leaving dead skin everywhere. It’s so embarrassing!
  • Everyone has some well intended advice which is almost always utterly useless.
  • Scratching, creams, painful skin, sleepless nights… it can be very exhausting.
  • Pillow fights are a no-no 😦
  • Neither are sleepovers, unless you are determined to pay the price.
  • Blood stains on the bed linen and on my favourite shirts.
  • Scratching all the time and annoying others with the noise. I’m sorry, guys!
  • Hardly being able to use any cosmetics. Say goodbye to smokey eyes and hello to dead-looking hair!
  • Moisturizing, moisturizing, moisturizing and… well.. moisturizing. Fucking exhausting.

This is why I’ve written several posts about how the past few months my eczema has been kicking my butt and my struggles to kick back. I hope they are entertaining. If not, they will at least give you a nice peek into my daily struggles.

Happy reading!

This post was also published in Gaaf!, society magazine of the VMCE.

Letter to the EU

I wrote this letter to send to the “Online public consultation on investment protection and investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP)” of the European Union.


“It has come to my attention that there are ongoing negotiations about including an Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) into the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP). Through this letter, I would like to express my concerns for these plans. I will do so by expressing my thoughts in a simple manner, for my feelings are so strong that I think just displaying the concept of the problem should be enough to convince you.

I think we can agree that concepts such as the economy, governments and collaborations between countries were once invented to help people to live happily, safely and healthy; and to continue to do so for a long, long time. A government of a country, or union of governments such as EU, represents the people to do exactly that: make sure that all citizens can be protected by their human rights.

Of course, governments are not perfect, which is why people can appeal to the independent judiciary which is empowered to tap governments on the knuckles if necessary. I think it is obvious that it is extremely important that the judiciary is organized in an independent and transparent way. Otherwise, people may be unjustly convicted and/or for the completely wrong reasons.

So far so good. Now, in the current system, however, the power has been shifting from governments to large investors and multinationals. They control more and more of the money circulating in our economy and due to their international character, they can operate almost without having to answer to governments. This has been made extremely clear by the recent scandals about tax evasions, or the difficulties that governments have to enforce environmental regulation.

This power shift in itself is already a big problem because, in contrary to governments, the main interest of companies is not driven by, or even affected by, ethical choices. Nor are they enforced to be transparent about their actions. They simply don’t represent the people, but their shareholders. And by design, they are pushed to grow, make profits and earn as much as possible from their customers; a direct consequence of the capitalistic design of the economy, which was supposed to help people, right? And especially now that multinationals are becoming ‘too big too fail’, but mostly too big to control by governments, you can see how people are simply not protected any more against the institutes that hold the most power.

Now, on top of all of this, by including the ISDS in the TTIP, companies shall be allowed to sue the governments of countries. Which means that apart from the fact that they already effectively held all the power by having most of the money, they can also directly enforce their way on to governments that they might disagree with. So, companies, which represent shareholders and who are not bound by ethical motives but profitable ones, get to enforce their way on governments, that are supposed to protect the people and the country. Doesn’t that sound insane?

But it gets worse. Before, I stated the importance of independency and transparency of a court. It should be clear what were the reasons of a certain verdict, but most importantly the judges should be completely independent. In the proposal that is discussed now, however, the companies don’t get to sue governments in the normal court. No, their case will be judged by three top lawyers that will come to a conclusion behind closed doors. And there is no way of reassuring that these top lawyers are not also frequently representing the companies in other lawsuits. That does not sound independent to me at all!

I hope it is now clear why I feel so strongly about this and felt compelled to write this letter to you. I see nothing but horrible consequences from this proposal. If you ask me, we should be restricting the multinationals and force them to obey laws concerning taxes and protection of nature for example, instead of giving them extra power to ignore all this.

Yours sincerely,”

About me


My name is Hanne Kause and I prefer describing myself as an outgoing, wild camping and rock climbing treehugger, who is passionate about singing and dancing and loves playing the five chords she knows on her guitar and ukulele next to a fire. But actually I am a mathematician gone biomedical engineering stuck in a PhD.

I am an absolute sucker for Sherlock, Dr Who, David Mitchell, Harry Potter, Bastille and other British Products (including some of my dearest friends ;)). And when left alone with headphones and my music collection I’ll probably listen to Royksopp, Olafur Arnalds, Massive Attack, Kyteman Orchestra or one of Tim Minchins rare but fun rants.

Of course this all sounds great. You’d almost think I am a perfect person. Don’t worry, there are downsides! Apart from the fact that my emotions can go everywhere in quick outbursts (so much fun but sometimes difficult to be around) I have major allergy issues (not so much fun and sometimes not even really manageable). Luckily most of these stresses can be stroked away by a loving hand.

No, seriously, caressing my skin actually really quickly improves my eczema and will decimate the effect of allergies on my body. No wonder I am most happy in any form of cuddle puddle!

Picture by Abel Planting.

A blog

Well, this is embarrassing. Apparently I decided to start writing a blog. It is intended mainly for personal development. I just want a place to order my thoughts. A place to go to if I have forgotten to breathe and am extremely stressed. Or a place to dump my frustrations when the sadness of politics and nature have taken the better of me.

And who knows… maybe this will die a sad and quick death, maybe I will be writing here for years but nobody ever reads it. And maybe… well, we’ll see.

In any case, I challenge myself to make it a place where I will not paint the sky (much) more blue than it is. You’ll find the beauty, the pain and the reality.

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