The Antwerp Hundreds

Portraits of a city's people, today

To mark the release of our Warriors edition, we've teamed up with This is Antwerp to bring you 100 Antwerp Warriors, a 100-strong selection of local movers and shakers setting the tone for the neighbourhood of tomorrow. From design and architecture to contemporary art and politics, these are the creatives shaping the narrative of the future.

Ellen Pollard

Ellen Pollard

Co-founder, Poolhert

Can you describe what you do? Where you are based, the neighbourhood you live in, your daily routine, the people you work with, the scene you feel the closest to.

Together with my dear friend Marie, I started Poolhert, an Antwerp-based production company. Our greatest passion is documentary, and we sometimes enjoy creating short fiction and commercial videos too. Marie mainly focusses on content, while I’m behind the camera and in the editing room, trying to make our work look as good as possible. We’re based in Designcentrum De Winkelhaak, close to Astrid square, encircled by other small companyies. Moving to this amazing place was one of the best decisions we made during our short career as a production house. We are now not only surrounded by fun and inspiring hardworking people, but are able to go to work everyday. Not working from home, where you’re distracted by dirty dishes and Dr. Phil, is strongly recommend.

How do you perceive Antwerp? In your view, what kind of city is it? Its people, its cultural landscape, its vibe? How does it compare to other, similarly-sized cities?

After living in Antwerp for ten years (I can’t believe it’s been that long), it couldn’t feel more like home. Every time I rise towards the city on those big escalators in the central station, I feel happy. I think Antwerp is small but smart. In an easy and relaxed atmosphere – people get excited about its cultural vibe. There’s always something to explore in this city.

Creatives are interested in each other in a non- competitive environment. We should be really proud of that.

What would you say is Antwerp’s main appeal for creatives? What gives the city its edge?

There’s a cultural offer that transcends from the more old-fashioned to the contemporary and cool. They’re all mixed up, like a nice soup. To give an example, creatives here can be inspired by the arts of the very hip Herman Teirlinck, and go for a nice Belgian beer amongst some traditional Belgian crowds in Den Boer. This all happens in less than ten footsteps.

How would you say has Antwerp contributed to making you who you are today? What role has the city played in shaping your outlook and career?

The fact that Antwerp is cosy and cultural gave us many opportunities. We had the chance to say something about our work in the media on several occasions. The people of Antwerp do care! And creatives are interested in each other in a non- competitive environment. We should be really proud of that.

On a personal level, what would you like to see more of in the city?

Swimming pools.

To you, what is the best way to spend a weekend in Antwerp? If you had to take out-of-towners to one place that truly symbolises the city, what would it be?

A visit to FOMU, a museum that always has great exhibitions. Then I’d take them for a juicy braadworst on the Vogeltjesmarkt before ending up with a beer in true Belgian fashion at Den Boer.

A local legend, neighbourhood anecdote or urban myth?

I’ve heard stories about a kind man, who’s available to call all night when you had a drink too many. He’ll pick you up and bring you home safely, asking nothing in return.
Photography Thomas Ost