The Village Utrecht

May I be here?

With the SPRING festival, HKU, Library Utrecht, ZIMIHC, NUT and RAUM as partners, Company New Heroes is developing The Village Utrecht. 

An app based, multidisciplinary and interactive city-project about a rapidly changing city. 

In The Village Utrecht the visitor is the protagonist in his or her own documentary about the fastest growing city of the Netherlands. The interactive app will guide you from the city center of Utrecht to 3 parts of the city that will play a crucial role in the development of the city of the future in 2040: Lunetten, Leidsche Rijn and Overvecht. These three parts will grow into new city centers; lively hubs with intercity stations, new entrepreneurs, culture and a lot of new housing projects. 

May I be here?

Utrecht is growing. Very fast. In the year 2040 the city will have made place for about a 100.000 more inhabitants. Luckily Utrecht already has far-reaching plans on how to move towards this city of the future. 

Everyone will still live within the existing outlines of the city, to preserve the surrounding nature. The city itself will be greener, more accessible, more sustainable, safer, friendlier and with more social cohesion. Utrecht is an example for other (European) cities on how to deal with great challenges around city development and urban living. 

But well before reaching this beautiful city of the future, we will be faced with the enormous transformations required to achieve it. Constant Change. 

What is already quite clear is that a lot of what makes Utrecht this cosy Village will need to change.

So what we are wondering and investigating is what consequences these big plans will have on the people that live here. What will happen to our identity? What do we need to give up and what are we gaining? Can I co- design the future shape of my city? And will there still be a place for me in that city of the future? May I still be here? 

Our team is interviewing dozens of people in all parts of the city, with a great diversity in age, background and expertise. These interviews will be the base of the whole project. 

3 storylines

The Village Utrecht starts in the heart of the SPRING festival in the city center. You open the Village-app on your phone and you put on your headphones. That’s when the story begins. We will tell you all about our research, the experts we spoke to and what is about to change in the city you see around you. After the introduction you will get on your bike and go to the Station Area where Utrecht is expanding the city center. Here at Croeselaan you can see the amazing promises come to life! 

After that you get on your bike again and choose 1 of the 3 storylines. Did you decide to visit Leidsche rijn? Then you get to meet Mariella van Apeldoorn, an artist from Utrecht who investigated the question: can I live here? This part of town is a relatively new neighborhood and has been a construction site for 15 years and counting. It has a focus on sustainable building and social cohesion. But at the same time the housing prices are the highest here compared to other parts of the city. Is this new hub just for the lucky few? And what does it mean if you are homeless in Leidsche Rijn? Do you have a chance to build a life for yourself here in this brand new part of the city? 

Or did you choose Overvecht: That’s where you will meet Veerle van Dieren and Ikram Bouchara. They both live in Overvecht and spoke to a whole bunch of people that are trying their best to take an active role in the development of this so-called ‘problem area’ of Utrecht. But if you don’t have the right words, can you still participate? 

If you are interested in Lunetten, we will bring you to Travis Geertruida, an Utrecht based artist about to leave Lunetten and Utrecht to try his luck in The Hague. He investigated who else is leaving this part of town and why and what else has to disappear when we start to develop a brand new city center on the outskirts of the city. What about nature? The earth itself? Does she have a voice? Can she stay here? 

If you follow 1 storyline you get a full experience that takes about 75 minutes. Do you want more? You can always go for the other two storylines!

The Village Utrechts is about you. It’s about you meeting the city, the people that live there and investigating what your role can be in the changes that are happening. Only when we begin to unravel and understand the implications of these changes, will we be able to be part of them.

SPRING Festival

You can visit The Village Utrecht during the SPRING Festival from 12-21th of May 

After the festival it is possible to visit The Village Utrecht as a (larger) group until the 5th of June with an introduction from one of the creators. If you want more information please contact Charlot@companynewheroes.com 

Buy your tickets for SPRING Performing Arts Festival 2022 here.

The Village App

Company New Heroes is always looking for new, more contemporary ways of storytelling. That’s why we’ve been developing the interactive app The Village for the past 9 years. 

This app lets the audience be an active part of his or her own story. The app lets you navigate, asks questions, and let you see and hear. As a visitor you are in charge of how fast or slow your pace is and how involved you want to be in your journey. 

Because of the unique combination of true stories and theatrical elements on various locations The Village becomes a surprising experience. 

The Village is a journey filled with dilemmas and choices. The Village are stories of people. Stories of the city.

Project Credits

The Village Utrecht is created by| Bas van Rijnsoever, Isil Vos, Niels Kuiters, Keisha Tuur, Charlot van der Meer, Mariëlla van Apeldoorn, Anne Caesar, Travis Geertruida, Veerle van Dieren, Ikram Bouchara, August Geerlings, Lucas de Man, Myrthe Boersma, Hugo de Haas aka Wordbites, Sam Ward, Kora Valentić and  Lucas van Eijk.

Produced by | Stichting Nieuwe Helden, SPRING Festival en RAUM

In collaboration with | Bibliotheek Utrecht, ZIMIHC en HKU

Made possible by | The Fonds Podiumkunsten, Fentener van Vlissingen fonds en KF Hein fonds

Special thank you to | Appie, Ali en Lynn and their ZIMIHC for their hospitality, Grzegorz Reske, Peter Koop, Harm Lambers, Melody Deldjou Fard, Mirthe Biemans, Frans Soeterbroek, Ruben Jacobs, Bing and his family, Thijs de Bekker, Wilma, Olette Bollen, Klaas Verschuure, Tjerk and Bart and so many others who were willing to share their time, experience and knowledge with us.