Arnold Uhlenkamp at his home in Bremen, Germany.
Arnold Uhlenkamp at his home in Bremen, Germany.

A serene look on his face and smiling eyes, Arnold Uhlenkamp, 72, is a person with a positive attitude throughout life. “What hasn't happened when you are this age? He asks himself. “Everything already!” Because of that, he lives life in a relaxed manner, with his wife and life partner for 38 years, Angelika.

The fifth child of a big family and born in a village in north of Germany, and now living in Bremen for 40 years, Arnold dedicates his life to his family and friends. Contrary to the expected traditional “role” of man, he has always been - and continues to be - the "Man of the House", responsible for tasks such as cooking, keeping the house in order and always being there for his daughter in her childhood.

While his wife worked full-time, he was a pastry chef for 18 years; now retired for 9 years he works for pleasure taking care of older people or those with disabilities. This work has taught him a lot of life lessons and he enjoys making people happy with his presence and friendship.

Apart from a cozy and fulfilled life at home - where reading newspapers, crime books and following the football games of Werder Bremen are a must - Arnold has a busy social life with friends and neighbors. They gather together to eat, drink and talk. Walking around and observing his surroundings and traveling are also a big part of his life. He loves going to the North Sea as an escape and to let his thoughts wander.

A small anecdote from his daughter illuminates a life dedicated to partnership and care for others. One day as a teenager, finding it strange that she had never seen her parents fight, she complained to them about it. Only some days later she was shocked seeing them arguing and shouting at each other. But just seconds later Arnold and Angelika were laughing together - in what clearly had been a staged fight.

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How does it feel to be 72?

I feel very relaxed and calm, because I don't have to prove anything anymore. So I can just live as I want without having to prove it to anyone. It's just like that... you can say ‘c'est la vie’.

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What do you look forward to?

So many things...That I and my family will be healthy, and that life in Germany will generally be very good. That my wife and I can and are allowed to travel a lot, and also that I can see my daughter Rike more.

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What is your biggest concern?

My big concern is that we're going to have another war here in Europe. And it seems that we are surrounded by it, so hence the fear of a war. Also that the right-wing radicals will be politically active and strong. And the 3rd major problem to me is the environment, and how much longer we can live on this Earth.

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Life expectancy 2023


About the photographer

Isabella Finholdt


Isabella Finholdt is a Brazilian freelancer photographer (at the moment based in Germany) with a special focus on long-term documentary projects in her hometown and collaborates with national and international media on topics such as social issues, human rights, civil society, and culture.

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