The Zeeuws Museum invited directors Jos de Putter, Hanro Smitsman and duo Mirka Duijn/Nina Spiering to make a film for the museum. This resulted in the short film RETURN (Hanro Smitsman 15 min); the documentary LAND OF CHANGE (Nina Spiering and Mirka Duijn, 30 min) and the installation ZEELAND SOIL (Jos de Putter, 4  hours). On September 15, all these productions had their premiere at Film by the Sea, the annual film festival in Vlissingen. 


The films are the result of the ‘Islands’ project, which was started by the museum in 2011. That year, the museum celebrated its fiftieth anniversary with an extensive program of activities. During a two-year period, ‘Islands’ made a large-scale appeal to inhabitants and visitors of Zeeland to make videos and answer the question: ‘What do you want to save for posterity?’ The goal of the project is to record Zeeland’s contemporary culture for future generations.
The Zeeuws Museum then asked the directors to make a film, inspired by the more than 1,000 videos that were sent in.

RETURN – Hanro Smitsman

with Jeroen Spitzenberger and Sophie van Winden

Production: Corrino Media Group

‘Return’ tells the story of a life. Of a love. Of a loss that wants to be saved. Of a trauma and its repetitive character. One of the characteristics of a trauma is the fact that people want to continuously relive the experience to understand what happened, but also to process the event and internalize it.
All their lives, one day a year, Hendrik and Marie have been traveling to the place where something extremely traumatic happened, to remember what they have lost, to try to understand what has happened and to relive the happiness they once felt on that day.

LAND OF CHANGE – Nina Spiering and Mirka Duijn

Production: seriousFilm

West Zeeuws-Vlaanderen, one of the most isolated parts of the Netherlands, is changing rapidly. The fishing industry, which has made the Zeeland port of Breskens famous, has almost disappeared in only a short space of time. Farmers are moving away as a result of increase in scale. There are no colleges and universities in this area, which means that after finishing secondary school, many young people move away, never to come back. This is why many people are pinning their hopes on a new industry: tourism. Holiday parks are sprouting up like mushrooms. Will this be the solution for the problems in this area? Inhabitants are optimistically holding their breath.
The makers asked themselves: What is it like to live in a remote area where everything is changing? What is the identity of the people who live here?
The film is a poetic collage of portraits of people living in West Zeeuws-Vlaanderen. Portraits of e.g. Jaap Albrechtste, a fisherman from Breskens, who took along the camera to show how he took his ship to Africa, after he was forced to give up his profession. Or the 22-year-old Mariëlle Notebaart, who was crowned Prawn Princess of Breskens in the same year. But also the salt marshes and mud flats, the mire and ever blowing wind play a role.

ZEELAND SOIL – Jos de Putter

Production: Dieptescherpte bv.

What do you get when you aim the camera at a few square meters of clay for three continuous seasons? A surprising lot of things! ‘Zeeland soil’ focusses on the microcosmos of a small surface area of no more than a few square meters. During a period of nine months, every day the camera was filming for 1 minute, starting an hour later every day. These still images, shown non-stop on three planes, have an almost hypnotic effect. With ‘Zeeland Soil’, Jos de Putter returns to the area in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen he knows so well, 20 years after his documentary ‘Het is een schone dag geweest’ (‘It has been a beautiful day’).