Buurland: a land ruled by neighbors

Malìn van Weerdenburg

In Utrecht, hidden in Tuinwijk, lies a remarkable neighborhood that has been renamed ‘Buurland’ by its residents. There have been plans to demolish these portico houses since 2007, yet this has been halted for a long time due to the economic recession. As a result, some residents have lived in Buurland for more than ten years, and a special sense of community has emerged. Tools, soup spoons and gardens are being shared by neighbors. An important ritual for the community is the annual neighborhood festival ‘Zwemfest’, wherefore the backyards transform into a professional-looking festival site. Yet, in 2023, the current residents will have to leave their houses. Housing corporation Mitros plans to create a new community, called: ‘Nieuw Buurland’. Will Mitros succeed in continuing this sense of community?

Director statement

I have been living in Buurland for five years now. During those years, I learned more and more about the spirit and sense of community that is present in this place. This research let me further explore the ingredients that enabled Buurland as a community to develop. I learned about the spirit and perspectives of the first generation and discovered how Buurland’s sense of community is experienced by different Buurlanders. Moreover, making this film gave me the opportunity to look at my own living community with the eyes of an ethnographer. I suddenly became the observer of my own neighbors. This sometimes led to funny interactions: “Watch what you say! Malìn is observing us.” Making this film is a way to give back to the community and to extend the Buurland archive that has been built over the years.

Poster - Buurland



Malìn van Weerdenburg
Malìn van Weerdenburg

Malìn van Weerdenburg is Latin Americanist and visual anthropologist. She is engaged with themes surrounding postcolonialism, decolonization, and non-hegemonial perspectives on history. Her first film, “Saber é Poder, Boy!” tells the story of a community library in Recife (Brazil) managed by Kcal Gomes. The film illustrates Kcal’s vision on how to be the protagonist of your own life when the state doesn’t support its citizens in giving access to arts and proper education. During the master, she exchanged a Brazilian community for one closer to home: Buurland, her own living community.

Buurland - Malìn van Weerdenburg
toang - Rizky Maulana Yanuar
EL SECANO AÚN VIVE - Ruben van Rijn
My Life, My Story - Fleur Roovers
heem - Jara van den Bosch
Postcolonial Sentiments - Hannah Bults
Voices in Nature - Maarten Bekhuis
Nostalgie paralysante - Sabrine Mdaghri
How much longer - Ann-Kristin Mueller
Drag Kings and Creatures - Sarah Bozuwa
Multi-Love - Mowgli Legein
Proud to Sport - Lotte van den Hanenberg
Melmin - Loes Moree
Birds - Marlissa Hilkmann
Is There Anybody Out There? - Mischa Huijsmans
F*ck Endo - Wilke Geurds
Speaking of Spirits - Eva Riemens
Making Malta Home - Leanne Leendertse
Would you want your kids to do this - Max Condon
I am you and you are me - Janna Vink
The battle against floods - Kyra van Meijgaarden