Immigration office

When I was invited by the Government Buildings Agency to develop a work for the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) building in Zwolle, my starting point was to research the daily reality in the native countries of the majority of Dutch immigrants: West Africa, Central and Eastern Europe and the Arabic countries.

What do we actually know about the immigrants living in the Netherlands? We see these people on a daily basis and yet have no idea about their lives, their experiences or the dreams they had about their futures in Holland. The media information we receive about their home countries is one-sided. The mass media is interested only in extremes and zooms in on spectacular events, often detached from their context.

The resulting photographs show views through living-room windows. It is as if the viewer is looking over the shoulder of the person who lives there and catches a glimpse of his or her daily existence.

In the IND building the images hang in the form of life-size transparencies in front of the windows and in the glazed partitions of the revolving doors. On arriving at work the staff of the IND see something of the lives of the people about whom they must make decisions every day. Similar photographs of views from Dutch people’s living rooms hang in the waiting room for asylum seekers.

25 Cibrachrome transparancies 175-140-125×162 cm
4 cibachrome transparencies  119×190 cm

With the cooperation of Martin Hansen


see also: View, Elsewhere