Security cameras watch over the streets and public transportation in our cities. Our politicians are protected day and night, and a future terrorist attack in the Netherlands is a real possibility. Security seems natural — and, above all, necessary. But are security guards capable of guaranteeing our safety, or do they only give us a false sense of security? Five guards, including Geert Wilder’s personal security guard, let our cameras in on their work, where we discover the impact that the threat of danger — and even terrorism — has on their daily lives.

This film will leave you with something to think about, and a lingering sense of unease.

De Volkskrant: "The great thing is that the film makes you look different."

Het Parool: "... interesting, entertaining look behind the scenes of our safety."

NRC: "Visual allure"

Patrick Lodiers De Nieuws BV: "Unbelievable, I now step quite differently in the metro ..."


Broadcast of DE BEVEILIGERS by KRO-NCRV 2Doc
wednesday 9 january, 22:40 on NPO 2

21 november 19.30 Groninger Forum
20 december Filmhuis Den Haag
18 november LantarenVenster Rotterdam
16 november LantarenVenster Rotterdam
14 november Het Ketelhuis Amsterdam
6 november LUX Nijmegen
5 november 20.30 LantarenVenster Rotterdam (premiere)

The Americans say: there is a fence and a building and we shoot at everyone. That's it. That's the entire concept. I don't call that a concept. That's my opinion. I express it, also in America. But they've taken a different route. Try turning that back if you think you can solve everything with weapons. I don't think it's the right way.
John de Nooijer  - Security Manager Borssele nuclear power plant

Terror? Until you experience it you don’t realize how quickly it can happen...
Donald Basabose - Security Guard in training

If I have to choose between protecting a six-year-old child there or keeping the person safe I'm there to protect. I have to choose the latter because it's my job. In a worst-case scenario, I'd push the person I'm protecting into a shop. That's my task. I must prevent anything from happening to this person. It's the most dreadful choice imaginable and I hope I'll never have to make it. But ultimately, that's what must happen. There's no alternative.
Bodyguard Michael - Royal and Diplomatic Protection Service 

You can't tell. I can't point out a terrorist because you can't see it. You can't tell by appearances. Besides, they're so crafty. Take Brussels, for instance, they were two perfectly normal lads. You wouldn't think they'd do such a thing. You can't tell. You can't prevent it either.
Albert Verhoeven - Camera Security Rotterdam Metro (RET)

It's something I expect, terrorism. Personally, I'm not afraid. Of anything happening to me. Because I'm primarily focused on the safety of the visitors. I guess I would give my life for it.
Jory Brenders - Events and shop security


Let me explain what motivated me to make the Security Guards.

A few years ago, I was sitting in a sold-out show in the Oude Luxor in Rotterdam. There were easily 900 people there, and the room was packed. We lived in an age of attacks and terrorism. Why wasn’t I checked by security before entering the room, I asked myself? All it took was one madman in the theater, and…

I kept looking around me. Everywhere, there are cameras: on streets, in buildings, and even watching over the entrance of the grocery store. We have airtight security measures to protect our politicians. Was I only making myself anxious, or were my fears a reflection of reality? And what did we need this protection for — or against?

That year, the KRO/NRCV issued a contest to make a documentary about ‘societal anxiety.’ I thought to myself that security guards were the dividing line, protecting people from danger. Every day, they faced a sea of anonymous people who might do harm, and constantly had to protect their backs from a possible threat. Their work could tell us a lot about the state of anxiety in our country. I won the contest with this premise, and decided on a mosaic format of storytelling: a documentary with five different and diverse guards, ranging from small-scale protection at the grocery store and the Christmas markets, to far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders’ security guard.

It took me months to convince the high-ranking security guards to let me film them, as they were afraid to share too much information. At a nuclear power plant, I had to make an agreement to store all recordings in a safe during the filming period. The spokespersons had questions for us, if we weren’t going to cause any danger while filming. But even we didn’t have all the answers. The guards weren’t allowed to tell me where or when they were working — I had to rely on Wilders’ tweets to find out where his guards would be protecting him. My camera man tried to get in the head of one of those guards: a hand in a coat pocket, a backpack, a plastic bag — everything is suspect. I could understand when one of them told us, his back drenched in sweat, to clear the street.

Now the documentary is finished. What I’ve learned: security is everywhere. We watch and are watched. The ‘normal’ world is constantly filmed by an unmanned camera. On a short subway ride, I now know, I am watched from every angle. While I walk from one train platform to another, security guards can zoom in on my phone screen to read along with me.

Do I feel safer than I did, that night in the Oude Luxor? I don’t know. No one can truly guarantee safety. Security guards are hard-working people with their heart in the right place, but it’s impossible to eradicate the threat of violence and terrorism.

Security Guards shows us how societal anxiety and the protections against it play a game with each other. They keep each other in stride, in an arms race. There’s no way back, and a true sense of security doesn’t exist.

We live in fear of terrorism; as we look over our shoulders, the cameras rotate countless times, searching for something that’s often not there. It’s a fascinating world. I hope to bring the passion of our security guards into focus. Some are willing to risk their own lives to save that of another. But where that danger will come from next, no one knows until it’s too late.

Anneloek Sollart, director


Basalt Film - Gouvenestraat 133-4 - 3014 PM Rotterdam
+31 (0)10-412 6946 - -