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Up Close With Dr. Zee, The Godfather Of Legal Highs

Dr. Zee, as he's known, is an Amsterdam-based researcher who regularly invents new drugs. And they're legal — at least until authorities identify and then ban the experimental substances.

Dr. Zee sets the record straight
Dr. Zee sets the record straight
Benedict Wermter

AMSTERDAM — Very few people know Dr. Zee's real name. There's a reason for that. The "godfather of legal highs," as The Guardian newspaper once dubbed him, knows he's made a few enemies over the years. And so the less that's known about him, the better.

Dr. Zee heads a company that has been supplying Europe with "legal highs' — non-banned narcotics — since 2009. Not surprisingly, it took quite a few telephone conversations before we were finally able to meet, in Amsterdam, earlier this year. In his office, somewhere in an industrial complex in the Dutch city, he produces substances that have the same effect as illegal narcotics but are made from legally available chemicals. Some of the chemicals mentioned on a white board in his office are psychoactive and can either shut down or stimulate entire areas of the brain. They make people high, in other words. Users might see colored, breathing circles for half a day, or feel full of love for a few hours.

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Ideas

Ukraine Has Exposed The Bankruptcy Of Germany's "Never Again" Pacifism

A group of pro-peace German intellectuals published a letter asking the country not to deliver heavy weapons to Ukraine, but they're missing the point completely. Germany needs to reinvent itself in order to face today's challenges — and threats.

The Bundestag, or German federal government, meets at the Reichstag building in Berlin.

Sascha Lehnartz

-OpEd-

BERLIN — When even the brightest minds — some of whom have shaped the intellectual life of this republic for decades — suddenly seem at a loss, it can mean one of two things. Either the clever minds are not as clever as we were always led to believe. Or the times have changed so brutally that old pieces of wisdom are suddenly no longer valid.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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If you don't want to give up your childhood faith in the Federal Republic of Germany quite yet, you can settle on the second option.

Alexander Kluge, one of Germany's most versatile artists, founded a television production company, proving that there can even be television for intellectuals. Journalist and prominent feminist Alice Schwarzer has done more for the liberation of women in this country than anyone else. Yet Schwarzer and Kluge, along with another two dozen intellectuals, have written an open letter that basically recommends Ukraine to submit to Vladimir Putin for the sake of the authors' peace of mind.

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