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What is place-making? How do migrants use technology and digital media to make place in new environments? And how could they use that same technology to tell their own place-making stories to inform, inspire and involve both other newcomers and host communities in making a better place?

In the first edition of the 6-week Digital Place-makers program, eleven expert place-makers take you along in their perspectives on belonging, connecting, being yourself and facing challenges as a newcomer in Rotterdam and The Netherlands. The short films were written and produced by them during several filmmaking and story-telling workshops conducted between September and October in 2021.

The films



By Hamoud, from Syria

"What is a homeland? Can we change our homeland? We belong to one planet, that is our home, we have to save it."
Hamoud is a Syrian architect living in Rotterdam less than two years. He likes photography, reading and technology. He is interested in learning and team work experience.


Just Try

By Emine, from Turkey

"Often we don't have the courage to start all over again or are unable to accept our reality. Staying in our comfort zone seems the easiest way, even if it means being stuck. But you deserve the life you want. You owe it to yourself. It's never to late to start a new chapter. With my film i want to say that every ending is just a new beginning."

Emine was a manager in her homeland. She has been living in Rotterdam for 1 year. She wants to study to be an illustrator.


Sunny Days are Coming

By Negar, from Iran

"I want to address the plight of refugees, the process of leaving their country and the problems when they reach NL to start a new life, and finally their integration and its challenges. The abilities of refugees are sometimes forgotten in society but can be useful for this country."
Negar is an Iranian woman living in NL for about 3,5 years now. She has an MA in human resource management and wants to rebuild her life using her experience and ability. She loves helping others.



By Fereshteh, from Iran

"We have a lot of memories. How can we bring them a little bit with us?"

In her film, Fereshteh shows how to bake an Iranian cookie while talking about the importance of memories. Fereshteh has been living in the Netherlands for almost five years now. She is currently studying and wants to become a teacher.


Life is Changeable

By Abdullah, from Turkey

"My life has changed, and I would like to illustrate with my film what the difference is, because I want to give people inspiration. Everyone has a chance to build a new life."

Abdullah is 27 and from Turkey. He came to The Netherlands on August 5th 2018. Back home he worked as a law intern, now he is getting his master degree at VU Amsterdam.


You Can

By Sana, from Pakistan

"In my film I wanted to tell that there are problems in everyone's life, and I show how I overcame them."

Sana has been living in The Netherlands for 6 years, and is currently studying in Erasmus university. She likes painting and playing guitar, and she loves to eat:)


Bridge Over

By Lula, from Eritrea

"My film shows the importance of a support system, and how networking and taking on a new challenge helps you grow."

Lula from Eritrea has been living in Rotterdam for almost 5 years, but isn't used to the cold weather yet. She is navigating her journey through life by learning and unlearning things, also contributing something to society.


How to Grow a Healthier and Happier Garden

By Zina, from Syria

"In my film I show how difficult feeling useless is. I show that we have basic needs to grow and be fruitful again. Only then we become our real selves again."

​Zina is a motivated marketer from Syria. She likes to motivate other newcomers to pursue their dreams as she did, since she understands the challenges as well as their resilience very well.


Stranded Rendez-vous

By Mustafa, from Syria

"We usually choose the places where we live....but the place chose me to live in it."

Mustafa is of Syrian origin.He works in the social field with several organizations, lives in the Netherlands and the world lives inside him. Borders are a lie and passports are expensive paper.


My Friends

By Aida, from Iran

"My film is about the relation between nature and me."
Aida is a graphic designer from Iran and has been living in The Netherlands for about 7 years. She loves art, and is fascinated by shapes and colours around her.


Next Chapter

By Ronny, from Pakistan

"If you think you are alone, nature is always there to talk. The rain will always cry for you."

Ronny is from Pakistan and currently living in Rotterdam. He is both very motivated and good at motivating others, which is what he aims to do in his film.

Watch the documentary

What is homeland? Is it a real meaning, or is just a feeling? And can we change this homeland? Can we replace it?

– Hamoud

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