Press release

Hema threatens with legal action

because of the El Hema exhibition

EXTRA: Mediamatic will meet with the Hema B.V.'s Director of Marketing on Friday the 27th of July. In a letter postdated the 23rd of July 2007, the Hema has changed their tone of voice ('The Hema prefers a constructive solution') but the Hema maintains that Mediamatic is breaching their trademark. Mediamatic is continuing with the preparations of El Hema.

Pressrelease from Friday July 20th

Hema B.V. is threatening with legal action and damage claims if Mediamatic Foundation does not immediately halt its art project El HEMA. El HEMA is an exhibition in the Post CS building based on the question: "How would an Arabic HEMA look like?". The exhibition, which will open on the 24th of August, is part of a series of activities concerning Dutch-Arabic cultural exchange by Mediamatic and others.

Mediamatic is working on an Arabic Hema because the Hema is inherently bound to Dutch culture. The Dutch see the Hema as an extension of their own cultural identity. This makes it especially interesting to place the Hema in an Arabic context. The debate on social integration gives the Arabic Hema added social weight.

In a letter to Mediamatic concerning the exhibition the Hema states: "It is unmistakable that Mediamatic is unjustly trying to hook into the concepts developed by the Hema. This can confuse the public, and is completely unacceptable to the Hema."

Willem Velthoven, board director at Mediamatic: "I am extremely surprised and disappointed by the Hema's aggressive reaction. How can an exhibition lead to confusion of the public? Everyone knows the Hema. We are all fans of the Hema here. That is why I am especially disappointed by their attitude."

Mediamatic is still hoping for some constructive talks with the Hema, and will be waiting on further developments.

About the Exhibition

In the exhibition EL HEMA the Hema will be given an Arabic twist. What would a halal sausage look like? The point of departure is a typographic project from the Khatt Foundation. Five famous Dutch typographers and Arabic designers have made five new Arabic fonts. The new fonts will be included in the designs for the El Hema exhibition, which will run from August 24th to October 26th at Mediamatic. The exhibition will be organized together with the Khatt Foundation. The exhibition is part of a series of Dutch - Arabic exchange projects by Mediamatic and the Khatt Foundation, such as a symposium, a book and workshops.

About Mediamatic

Mediamatic Foundation is a cultural institution on art and new media. Mediamatic gives workshops, organizes exhibitions and runs a monthly salon. Mediamatic also maintains an international website on art and media with a cultural agenda. Mediamatic is located at the Post CS building on the Oosterdokskade in Amsterdam.

About the Hema

The Hema is a Dutch warehouse which produces most of its products itself. It is famous for its clear Dutch design and affordable prices. It was created in 1926 and was the Netherlands' first franchise.


For questions you can contact Willem Velthoven: 06 46078777
Mediamatic Foundation: 020 638 9901

Letter from the Hema (pdf)