Review of the Open Day Biotoop 2023

The open day of the Biotoop took place on Sunday 21 May. The cultural breeding ground in Haren opened its doors to the public to showcase various artist workspaces, performances and more. The Biotoop received 2400 enthusiastic visitors, 334 of whom visited the NonFiction Photo Headquarters. The guests had the opportunity to view a small pop-up exhibition and contribute with their ideas to the upcoming exhibition.

By: Paulina Ser

Pop-up exhibition

For the open day the NonFiction Photo team prepared a small pop-up exhibition consisting of photographs from the older exhibitions that shed light on the topic of gender equality and womanhood. This will be the main exhibition theme of the upcoming exhibition (taking place November - December 2023 in Groningen). This exhibition will highlight the voices and experiences of women from different backgrounds, cultures and identities.

One of the photographs in the exhibition depicts the Black Lives Matter movement in Groningen, protesting against violence faced by individuals of African descent in both the United States and Europe. The chosen photographs highlight the intersectional experiences of black women, who face multiple forms of discrimination that are not adequately addressed by mainstream feminist movements, which tend to prioritise the experiences of white, middle-class women (Rise Up, 2020).

By Siese Veenstra
'Groningen demonstration against US police brutality', Siese Veenstra, Groningen, 2 June 2020, ANP.
By Corné Sparidaens
'Bea Smit, transgender, forerunner and an inspiration,’ Reyer Boxem, Emmer-Compascuum, 17 February 2019.

Another photograph sheds a glimmer of hope. It portrays the experience of Bea Smit (age 70) who felt like a woman in a man's body her whole life. She successfully transitioned. During this process, she first managed to gain the approval of her son and, after a lengthy and arduous fight, she even got reaccepted back into her church community as a woman (Rise Up, 2020).

Many visitors resonate deeply with the topic of gender-based violence and mistreatment, sparking their enthusiasm to contribute to the upcoming exhibition. Their eagerness to engage demonstrates a collective determination to address these prevalent issues and advocate for a meaningful change.

Wood and Metal Workshop

Next to the exhibition, the wood and metal workshop next door lured many curious visitors. Here, the peculiar art and design pieces by our master builder Driever aka Dries Verbeke are on view. All of the displayed pieces are made from repurposed and discarded materials, which is characteristic of Dries’ art objects.

By Bastian Lasatira
Dries Verbeke in his studio. Photo by Bastian Lasatira.
By Najlaa Mohd Said
Photo by Najlaa Mohd Said.
De Biotoop

De Biotoop, formerly a biological centre, is a unique project of public housing where diverse disciplines and crafts operate closely together. Placed in the midst of the varied flora and fauna, de Biotoop is an ideal breeding ground for inspiration and interdisciplinary collaborations.


The vibrant hub and its passionate community welcomed 2400 visitors, who got to experience its cultural landscape in full swing. The artists showcased their projects and artworks, and the visitors joined workshops, performances, concerts, dance shows and tours. De Biotoop’s commitment to fostering interdisciplinary connections and providing a nurturing environment for artistic endeavours was evident in every corner.

Practical information

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+31 6 306 530 13


Stichting NonFiction Photo
Kerklaan 30, 9751 NN, Haren
ANBI | Algemeen Nut Beogende Instelling


NonFiction Photo Festival Groningen
10 November - 3 December
Synagoge – Folkingestraat 60


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