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HENK Visits with Hanna Verboom

In the series 'HENK Visits', we pay a visit to people who inspire us to give you a glimpse into their daily lives at home. This time, we're stopping by the home of filmmaker, social entrepreneur, and mother, Hanna Verboom.

Hanna is renowned for her work as a filmmaker and her dedication to the themes of sustainability, mental health, and diversity. Raised in Kenya and Sudan, she was inspired by the strong communities and cultural bonds, which motivated her to establish the film platform Cinetree. We talked about her drive, the significance of home, and the role of sustainability in her life.

Where do you draw your inspiration and drive from?
I grew up in East Africa; until the age of twelve, I lived in Kenya and Sudan. This upbringing exposed me to two cultures. East African culture is renowned for its sense of community and connection to nature, which I always found beautiful and missed upon returning to the Netherlands. I believe there's much we can learn from African cultures, particularly about interconnectedness and living harmoniously with the earth. Connecting these cultures and building bridges between people is something I learned from a young age, and later I saw film as a powerful tool to achieve this. These experiences ultimately led to the creation of Cinetree.

What does 'home' mean to you amidst everything you're involved in?
Home is the foundation. Due to my extensive travels in the past, I've always searched for my home, growing up with two different cultures. Home is having roots, a place where I can find peace surrounded by people and things dear to me. Without that foundation, everything else suffers. It's not only my anchor but also that of my two young children. I thoroughly enjoy living in nature, where I can simply seek tranquility.

You have various HENK products, are you happy with them?
I'm very happy with them! Especially with the Checker chairs. I searched for a long time because I was very attached to my old chairs, which I once found at a theater sale. They were completely worn out, so I had been looking for replacements for a while. I wanted something timeless, unique, and comfortable, and I immediately fell in love with these chairs. The Blob coffee table also appeals to me greatly. The combination in the house of clean lines, unique design, and fabrics from Africa and rugs from Morocco; it's a mix of everything, just like myself, haha!

Sustainability is an important theme for you, what does it mean to you?
Sustainability is about something greater than ourselves. I see sustainability as even broader than 'sustainability' - I think it's much more about understanding that you're part of something larger than yourself. The choices you make, whether for the community or the next generations, impact the future. You're a cog in this process, and it makes you think about your consumption and lifestyle. This isn't just about the climate but also about mental health. When you don't feel well, you consume differently and are less engaged with the world around you. There's a strong connection between how we consume, live, and maintain our relationships. Our society is geared towards speed and convenience, but sustainable solutions take time. It's a cultural issue; climate problems are also culture problems. It influences how we envision the future. If we believe things can be repaired and that it's worth investing in sustainability, then we change our way of thinking. This is an important aspect for us at Cinetree, where we tell stories that can stimulate this cultural shift.

In collaboration with Cinetree, we’re offering a two-month trial of free films. Sign up for Cinetree via this link now.