Hidden courtyard

As an anthropologist and photographer, I’m interested in cultural traditions. Not especially the exotic ones, but cultural differences close by. Customs and habits we take for granted, that we don’t question. Living as a foreigner in Denmark, even though the Dutch and Danes are not that far apart, is inspiring. One of the first things that got my attention here were the courtyards (baggårdene) in Aarhus.

The shared gardens where everyone who lives there can enjoy the sun, barbeque and where children can play. They share the fruit trees, garden furniture and playsets. Sometimes it’s even accessible for the whole neighbourhood. For me, it shows a sense of community feeling and trust.

In the Netherlands, there is no such thing as a shared courtyard. The courtyards are divided into little pieces and only the people living on the ground floor of the apartment building have access. The other residents can only peek into the backyard and feel envious of this inviting outdoor space.

What I also like is that these spaces are in between private and public domain. People leave all kinds of stuff lying around. Often I wander around these hidden places to capture those beautiful still lifes with my camera.