Origins

Exploring the Netherlands through the eyes and footsteps of the diverse array of people that calls this country ‘home’

The Roots Guide travel guidebook is based on the ‘Travel Faraway at Home’ concept developed in 2015 by Pocket Stories, a non-profit organisation aiming to broaden our understanding of human migration and celebrate cultural diversity through storytelling projects. Pocket Stories’ founder Ingi Mehus and visual storyteller Rehab Eldalil, both ChangemakerXchange alumni, met in 2016 and bonded through their shared passion for storytelling and social inclusion. Together, they founded the Roots Guide project. Soon after, co-writer/editor Daan Wurpel and designer Hamzah Kashash joined the project.

They embarked on a journey to collect and document over 60 written and visual stories from people with very different migration backgrounds from across the 12 Dutch provinces. The book’s storytellers — which include, among many others, a Dutch international truck driver, a Syrian university student with refugee status, and a Dutch Afro-Curaçaoan dance instructor — share their own diverse perspectives and experiences to guide Roots Guide readers around the Netherlands. Recognising the far-reaching potential of the work the Roots Guide team had begun, Meghann Ormond, Associate Professor in Cultural Geography at Wageningen University & Research, joined their initiative in 2018 as the project’s curator, helping to strengthen the Roots Guide’s message and impact for different audiences.

With its team coming from different corners of the world and possessing a diverse array of experience, the Roots Guide team’s collaboration was born out of a desire to respond to growing populist ‘us-versus-them’ attitudes with a more inclusive narrative on migration. The Roots Guide team does this by bringing together personal stories, images and activities in the form of a novel interactive travel guidebook.

So many of us love to travel — and when we do, we often open ourselves up to the cultural differences and diversity around us

Roots Guide not only enables readers to connect with the journeys, challenges and joys experienced by its diverse array of storytellers within and beyond the Netherlands — it also invites readers to reflect on and undertake their own personal journeys in order to re-discover this country we all call home.

Roots Guide is a project legally owned by the non-profit organisation Stichting Pocket Stories, registered at the Kamer van Koophandel under registration number 66886090 with ANBI status from 21/06/2017.

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