a documentary by Jeroen van Bruggen


Reindeer live free in the arctic wilderness of Northern Europe. Sami reindeer herders gather their animals at the different seasons of the year for calf marking, slaughter and migration to the winter grazing lands. This is how the Sami have lived for ages. But the culture of the indigenous people of Europe is under pressure of ongoing industrialisation. For how long will this unique culture exist?

The Laevas herders are dependent on the area around the city of Kiruna, where the mining activities and industrialisation are expanding to such a level that their herd doesn’t grow anymore. The colonisation of the land where the indigenous people of Europe live is not as wellknown as what happened in North America or Australia, but is nevertheless a disgrace to the human race


In 2008 I traveled for the first time to the North of Sweden for Dutch Television. During this trip I got in touch with the Sami and heard their story for the first time. Until then I wasn’t aware that in Europe there are indigenous people, and that also in Europe we are taking and using their land. This did not only happen long ago, but up until the present day!

I learned that there are reindeer herders who live according the ancient tradition, and herd reindeer in the land they inherited from their ancestors.

This intrigued me and I wanted to experience the way of life of a reindeer herder. I wanted to see what it is like to work in the arctic wilderness of Northern Europe and live a modern version of the life of your ancestors.

Making this film, traveling North whenever there was a chance and getting to know the Sami, taught me that it’s important to stay loyal to where you come from, to who you are and what you think is important.

Reindeer heart of the Sami culture


a documentary by Jeroen van Bruggen