Godwit! (filming)

The flight route of an iconic bird of the meadows

The flight route of an iconic bird of the meadows


While the Netherlands is huddled, the cows go outside and the godwits lay their eggs on the farmland. The godwit is the protagonist in the latest nature documentary by Ruben

Smit (known from WAD and De Nieuwe Wildernis). The crew follows the godwit on its journey from Senegal across  Portugal through Netherlands all the way to Estonia. The constant battle of survival between birds and humans continues to rage around the world  “Grutto!”, or godwit, is the latest production of Ruben Smit Productions, will be recorded in 2020 and will premiere in 2021.


Ruben Smit: “The godwit tells the perfect story of how nature is doing in our agricultural farmlands and how our national nature is linked to nature elsewhere in the world.”


The iconic bird of the Dutch meadows


The godwit is the national Bird of the meadows ,a typical Dutch meadow bird that symbolizes an agricultural system with a high level of biodiversity. The numbers of godwits and the agricultural system, have changed rapidly in recent years.The population of godwits has almost decreased by 70% since the 1960’s. The Netherlands is very important for the breeding process of godwits, the vast majority breed in the Netherlands. The vast majority of the worlds population of godwits.


How bird and man live side by side


A decrease in the number of godwits which is related to a drastic change in the agricultural system; not only in the Netherlands. This documentary shows how hard the godwit has to work in order to survive, how hard they need to work to live side by side people. It is also about the people who want to protect the godwit and how difficult that often is. 

Because just like the birds, farmers all over the world have a hard time surviving in the rapidly changing world. The demand for cheap food is a continuous struggle to survive as a farmer. An ever changing world where godwits and farmers do their best to survive.


The role of mankind


In short; a documentary that gives you an inside look of the complex ecology of humans and birds, the story told through the godwits eye about the changing land use and symbolizes the role of biodiversity of a wider ecosystem in our current society. Unlike other nature documentaries by Ruben Smit Productions, “Grutto!” also portraits  


In the Netherlands as well as in the various countries on the migration, the black-tailed godwit has a magical adaptability. From rice cultivation in the mangroves of Africa, the rice fields of Franko to the Dutch flowered grasslands; they managed to find them. But changing agricultural systems and climate change demands the absolute most from this opportunistic bird. He can adapt very well, but it has now become very difficult. Fortunately, there are people who make an extra effort and help them


We follow the magnificent godwit on its journey and the people they encounter:

in Senegal, in Portugal, in the Netherlands and in Estonia. For this production, Ruben Smit Productions works closely with Vogelbescherming Nederland (Bird protection), Wageningen University, Het Groninger Landschap, It Fryske Gea, Landschap Noord-Holland and VVV Ameland.