EN - 'Wie goat er mee noar Verapas? Doar moete wij niet wirke eten en drenke op eu gemak, sloape gelijk een virke.' ('Who’s coming to Verapas with us? There’s no need to work there, just drink and eat if you want to and snooze like a pig.') This 19th-century song from Ghent refers to an unfamiliar piece of Belgium's history: the former Belgian colony in Guatemala, Santo Tomas de Castilla. When Leopold I bought a piece of Guatemala in 1843, his goal was not to exploit valuable resources as was done in the Congo, but to reduce crime levels in Belgium.

To achieve this, he inspired rich stock holders to start up the 'Company of Colonisation'. Propaganda was vital: the Company handed out exotic engravings, fake letters supposedly written by Belgian migrants praising Santo Tomas as a land of plenty and representing Guatemala as a promised land. In this way they managed to deport the unemployed, losers and adventurers - rejects of 19th-century society.


Title Tu ne verras pas Verapaz
Original title Tu ne verras pas Verapaz
Status Completed
Production Majority Flemish
Category Docs
Year 2002


Editing Didier Volckaert
Research Veerle Devos, Tobias De Pessemier, An van. Dienderen

Technical specs

Running time film 56'
Release format Betacam SP



2012: Exhibition 'Vlamingrant' - Atlas, Antwerpen (BE)

2010: Maison de L ‘Amérique Latine (BE), London Conference: Dilemma and Decision: Ethnographic Filmmaking in the Making. International Centre for Contemporary Cultural Research, Royal Anthropological Institute, Host: Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (UK)

2009: Exhibition Vlamigrant - Ronse (BE)

2003: SOAS - School of Oriental and African Studies / University London (UK), Festival de Cine Europeo (GT), Royal Anglo-Belgian Club (UK)

2002: KunstenFESTIVALdesArts (BE), Argosfestival (BE), Margaret Mead Film and Video festival New York (US), Pacific Film Archive Berkeley (US), Viewpoint Documentair Filmfestival Gent (BE), Timefestival Gent (BE) Brussel Festival van het vrije beeld; Utrecht, Nederlands film festival, Benelux screening,..


2003: Prize for Best Belgian Documentary of 2002 and 2003 - Flemish / Walloon Community (BE)

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Last edited on 10 March 2016

Short info

Director An van. Dienderen
Producers An van. Dienderen
Writers Didier Volckaert, An van. Dienderen

Elektrischer Schnellseher vzw
An van. Dienderen
Patershol - Haringsteeg 5
9000 Ghent
T +32 495 77 71 03

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