Select Page


Exploring the soul of European societies
Frank Ottenhoff

Sharing the history, pain and perspectives of nations for a better understanding within Europe

Do we truly understand Central Europe? Do we know where they come from? A healthy relationship between Western Europe and Central Europe demands mutual understanding. Understanding each other begins with sharing each other’s history, pain, and aspirations. That’s why I am collecting stories that help foster a better understanding between nations. Using empathy as the method.


Poland is not yet lost

A documentary to better understand present-day Poland through its tumultuous history. Exploring how collective traumatic events have shaped the Polish soul and, in turn, influence the current dynamics in society as well as the relationship with Europe.
While a war is ongoing in Ukraine, in which Poland plays an essential role, the European elections are approaching. A balanced Europe seems more important than ever. Therefore, understanding Poland well is crucial.

‘Poland is not yet lost’ is the first sentence of the Polish anthem. This sentence reflects the existential fear of the nation to loose her state.

What are the main historical events that continue to influence the contemporary mentality? What is their impact on the Polish soul, identity, and behavior in present times, including their role in societal dynamics? What does it mean to be a Pole?

I hope to present my documentary on May 30, 2024 in Amersfoort, my hometown.

A life in Hungary

‘A Life in Hungary’ is een documentaire over een Hongaarse vrouw die werd geboren in het begin van de jaren twintig van de vorige eeuw. What does her story tell about the Central European history? The big societal changes in Hungary of the last century come alive in her personal stories.

A Life in Hungary’ is a story about the resilience of Klári.

In making my documentary I interviewed professor Gyarmati. According to his theory Hungary experienced nine severe system changes in the small 20th century.

My documentary gives you insight into these changes. And into the resilience of this 90 years old woman.
How does a person cope with such system changes?

If you have an aristocratic background, how to survive in a workers’ state in which aristocrats are at the ‘wrong’ side? What happens with your identity?

Klári succeeded to stay herself in harsh political circumstances. As the maker of this documentary I was impressed.

The premiere for Klári’s family was in 2014. The public premiere was on November 1, 2019 during my event ‘The Hungarian soul and the fall of the Wall’.


A documentary exploring the history of my European ancestors, the Habsburg Empire, and contemporary Europe. Was it the combination of autocracy, inclusivity, and bureaucracy that contributed to the longevity of this empire? The premiere is scheduled for 2025.
A strong identity can make you stronger, as Ukraine shows. What about Europe and the EU? The Habsburg Empire and the EU share many similarities. What is the soul of the Habsburg Empire?

My ancestors lived in the Habsburg Empire. The Lobkowicz family resided in Prague Castle. The Turn und Taxis family established the European postal system from Brussels. Can they tell me something about the European soul? And perhaps about my own?

In this documentary, I explore my suspicion that the Habsburg Empire endured for so long by navigating a mix of conflicting forces.

The Empire had a paradoxical blend of autocracy and power, humanity and the inclusion of different identities, and a bureaucracy and a rule of law (light).
The way of working involved ongoing conversations about various interests.

A Life in Hungary (trailer)

A film about resilience in an era of severe system changes. The life of a 90 years old Hungarian woman and of the history of Hungary in the small 20th century.