by Hendrik Jan Vermeulen and Merlijn Poolman

Documentary - Musical

The Netherlands - Bulgaria, 90 mins, 2019



Brüder, the German word for Brothers, is the search for a common European story. A story that was forged during the "great seminal catastrophe of the 20th century": the First World War.

Hendrik Jan and his team invite musicians from all over the world to gather, share their stories and create music in symbolical celebration of the beginning of a new era, 100 years after the end of the "Great War" (1914-1918). The film aims to show that, although we may come from different countries and/or cultures, we are connected through the sacrifice our forefathers made.

Title in English: Brothers
Year: 2019
Country: The Netherlands - Bulgaria
Duration: 90 min.
Shooting Format: HD 1080p
Language: English, other European languages (with English subtitles)
Written by: Hendrik Jan Vermeulen and Merlijn Poolman
Participants: TBD
Produced by: Hendrik Jan Vermeulen, Merlijn Poolman, Neshka Karadzhinska
Production: Stichting Nederlandse Muziek Export (The Netherlands), NovoKino (Bulgaria)

Are you a young musician with a family story from the First World War from Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia, Germany?
Or do you want to support project Brüder as an individual, organisation or company?
Please, contact us:,


About the Project
Facebook Page
Hendrik Jan Vermeulen in Spotify

Brüder (Ein toter Mensch) Music Video by Hj Vermeulen on YouTube

Brüder (a European Story) Project Pitch by Hj Vermeulen on YouTube

Brüder's Crew

Hendrik Jan Vermeulen


Hendrik Jan Vermeulen (HJ) graduated cum laude from the Conservatory Groningen after studying Jazz guitar and teaching music. He has played in several bands and projects, including the Lowlands and Roskilde festivals, and gigs in the US, Germany, Japan and Morocco. In 2003 HJ became a guitar teacher at the Academy of Pop Culture in Leeuwarden (NL), an interdisciplinary art study in higher education. At the time HJ works as a policy adviser and education developer for the Arts Department of Hanze University of Applied Sciences.

In 2013 HJ founded project Krieg 1916, which is based on the story of his German grandmother's youngest brother Bernhard, who fell on the Eastern Front in September 1916. With this project HJ wants to tell Bernhard's personal story and also sees it as exemplary for all soldiers who died in the Great War, and the suffering their relatives went through.

Merlijn Poolman


Merlijn Poolman is born in 1987 and is a young musician and cultural entrepreneur in Groningen. Merlijn has been organizing concerts and events since 2006, he was an assistant of Jeroen Brom managing Epica for half of an year, after that founded of the Stichting Nederlandse Muziek Export aka SNME (Foundation of Dutch Music Export), the nightclub Subsonic in Groningen, a restaurant. Merlijn is a head of program Simplon concert & dance-venue, the annual national Bevrijdingsfestival (Liberation Festival). In 2014 he established export relation with SNME and China with regular transfers of Dutch and Chinese artists and in 2017 started organising and funding the China Pavilion Conference and party at the Amsterdam Dance Event.

Merlijn is a teacher and lecturer in various workshops and a wide range of lectures about cultural entrepreneurship at Hanzehogeschool Groningen, Stenden Hogeschool Leeuwarden, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, TedX Youth Groningen and many others. Youth Board Member of the European Music Council. A member of Popcoalitie, the official cultural advisory institute of the Dutch goverment.



Neshka (1986, Sofia) is a producer, film agent and award winning filmmaker with a diverse creative and artistic background. She has graduated in Film and Television Directing and Cinematography in New Bulgarian University. After working several years as a director, cinematographer, camera operator and photographer, in 2013 she completed an internship program in Film Producing in Chouchkov Brothers in Sofia. Since than Neshka has been assistant director, junior producer, festivals and international relations agent in a couple of Bulgarian production companies. She has attended The EFM, Marche du Film, Dubai Film Market, Agora Market and Sofia Meetings. A member of the Bulgarian Film Academy. Neshka has written, directed and produced the short Pawnshop and the documentary Does It Make Sense When It Doesn't Make Sense?!. Both films have been presented at more than 60 national and international festivals and brought her 9 awards and nominations for best short and best first film, direction and production.