The Noorderplantsoen

The Noorderplantsoen represents the green heart of Groningen city in The Netherlands. This unique park, styled like an English landscape garden, offers citizens ease and joy but is also a home to many animals. Most visitors are unaware of how nature takes its course right at their doorstep. Animals that have adapted thrive in our cities, allowing a peek in their life history for those who are observant. To the animals the urban environment is just as wild as any other, confronted with all its coherent ordeals. This film is about the survival of the common moorhen, the coot and other inhabitants of the park, showing quite some unexpected turns.

  • Hilco Jansma
  • Hilco Jansma
  • Hilco Jansma
  • Hilco Jansma
  • Hilco Jansma
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Het Noorderplantsoen
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    32 minutes 10 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 31, 2015
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital 1080p mov, GH3 Panasonic
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Noorderzon Festival
    August 21, 2015
  • Wildlife Film Festival Rotterdam
    November 1, 2015
    International World Premiere
  • NaturVision
    July 23, 2016
  • Greenscreen
    September 17, 2016
    Special mention
  • Menigoute Festival
    October 31, 2016
  • Noordelijk Film Festival - Noorderkroon
    November 11, 2016
  • Nature Talks
    November 12, 2016
  • Matsalu Nature Film Festival
    September 20, 2017
    Special Prize of the Jury (Nature)
Director Biography - Hilco Jansma

Hilco Jansma (1979) earned his MSc in biology in at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. In his spare time he developed his skills for filming and editing. He volunteered in the 'Flight Artists' project at the Wageningen University and operated a Phantom highspeed camera. This resulted in spectacular footage of animals in slow motion which was handed to the film team of the Dutch natural history documentary film ‘De Nieuwe Wildernis’.

In 2014 Hilco decided to make a nature documentary on ‘Het Noorderplantsoen’ in the city of Groningen, fully in charge of the camera, script, editing and production. His goal is to show people that nature is everywhere, even on our doorstep and that urban nature can be just as fascinating as what we see in BBC documentaries on exotic places. He wants to amaze people to enhance sustainable use of our environment.

In the summer of 2015 his documentary was screened in local cinemas and the Noorderzon festival, drawing over 1500 visitors. Subsequently the film had its world premiere at the Wildlife Film Festival Rotterdam 2015, at which his short video ‘A Leap of Frog’ won the audience award for non-professional documentary. Abroad 'The Noorderplantsoen' documentary was screened at Naturvision, Greenscreen and the Menigoute Festival.

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Director Statement

Wildlife documentaries play an essential role in nature conservation because they capture people’s attention. Filmmakers show the beauty of nature, whether it is in the desert, plain, ocean, forest, the artic, or any other place in the world that needs delicate handling by mankind to preserve it. However, like Sir David Attenborough pointed out, not many people can relate to nature as we increasingly tend to live in cities. This has a huge impact on how we take decisions that directly influence the environment. Today it’s urban nature people can relate to. With my documentary on seemingly common water birds in a city´s park I want to show nature is everywhere. I hope to amaze people and not only the adults, but also children, for they are the future. When they grow up with an interest in urban nature and the knowledge we are actually part of it, chances are nature will strongly benefit when they have their say in the next generation.

For my urban nature documentary I decided to film in ‘The Noorderplantsoen’ park around the corner for a whole year, fulltime, at my own expenses. With a small budget I bought the GH3 Panasonic camera with a wide-angle and a telephoto lens, took my bike and headed out to focus on the birdlife in the park. As I spent so much time in the park, I started to see unexpected animal behaviour and knew that his could capture an audience attention. After an additional three months of editing I had the documentary screened in local cinemas and international wildlife film festivals. The reactions so far have been very positive and I hope to reach more people to convey the message that nature is everywhere.

Hilco Jansma