Ruben Smit

Ruben Smit is a passionate ecologist and photographer. As a film director of nature films, ecologist and nature filmmaker Ruben Smit made his debut with “De Nieuwe Wildernis” (2013) followed by a TV series, by the same name, broadcasted by VARA, NPO2 . In 2014 he won the Rembrandt Award and the Gouden Kalf for this film as director. In 2016, Ruben was named the largest national naturalist in the first National Nature Quiz. His second nature film WAD achieved “Gouden Film” status in 2018. He is known as a TV personality at one of the biggest Dutch broadcast stations, VARA’s Vroege Vogels (Early Birds), BuitenGewoon (tv.Gld), and regularly invited to De Wereld Draait Door, PAUW and other big Dutch talkshows.  

He graduated from Wageningen University in 1996, in Forestry. In 2002 he obtained his Ph.D. at Wageningen University with the thesis “The secret life of woody species: A study on woody species establishment, interactions with herbivores and vegetation succession”. He was a professor for six years. Since 2003 he is a professional nature photographer & filmmaker. His mission is to inspire people to seek out and experience nature through his imagery. 

His photos are used in all kinds of national and international magazines such as National Geographic. He has won several prestigious international photo awards. He won first prize in the category “people & nature” at the European Nature Photographer of the Year competition (GDT, 2002). In 2005 he won first prize at the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the year competition in the category “Animal behavior” with a typical Dutch photo of mating toads. His photography style is widely recognized as innovative, making extensive use of blur and atmosphere. He uses his ecological and photographic knowledge to write columns, books, etc.

As a film director of nature films, he makes his debut with De Nieuwe Wildernis (2013) and the TV series of the same name at VARA. The nature film in the Netherlands alone attracted more than 700,000 visitors to the cinema and earned him a Gouden Kalf and a Rembrandt Award.

In 2014 he founded Ruben Smit Productions, his own film house, in order to be able to make TV items, series and films about his biggest passion; nature. For example, he made the documentary The River That Lives (TV premiered at VARA NPO2 in December 2015) and a series of short films for and about nature at the Hoge Veluwe National Park (2015-2016).

In 2015, a collaboration will start between WUR and Ruben Smit Productions: Natural History Unit Nederland, will establish itself on campus Wageningen. This will give Wageningen UR an in-house construction with a media company specialized in natural productions. The Natural History Unit Netherlands is an initiative of, among others, Ruben Smit. Filmmakers have access to the latest insights from the researchers and new opportunities arise for Wageningen UR to share knowledge about the living environment with a wide audience. The NHU-NL is a creative platform and breeding ground in which young scientific talent collaborates with young talented nature filmmakers and photographers.

In 2018, WAD; living on the edge, premiered. An ode to the Wadden Sea Region that Ruben has worked on for years. The idea for this dates back to before the New Wilderness. Precisely because the Wadden region is the area with the roughest primal nature in the Netherlands, it is so fragile and so unique. Listen here to the conversation Ruben had about the unique nature of the Wadden area with Lex Bohlmeijer of the Correspondent.

At the moment, autumn 2019, preparations are being made for a new project that tells an international nature story about birds.

Lectures & individual assignments

Ruben regularly gives lectures about his passion; nature films and photography. Of course always with a lot of images and he preferably takes you outside. Children have a special place in his heart; he likes to go out with young people to show them nature is just around the corner. The Ruben Smit Productions crew can be hired for individual productions. Prices for lectures/workshops depend on the setting, location and design. Please contact us for a custom quote.