Man Next Door

My neighbour Kid was 42 when he died. He regularly swept our shared porch, put out the rubbish and kept an eye on things when I was away. As Kid couldn’t read well, I helped him with his post. He borrowed my phone whenever he didn’t have any credit on his own. Sometimes I wouldn’t see him for a while because he was serving a prison sentence for some minor misdemeanour.

Kid had a turbulent life: he was banned from seeing his son and struggled with alcohol and drug addiction. Many people found his bellowing voice and coarse speech intimidating. In the last year of his life, he spent more and more time with drifters and junkies, begging on the street for change. His body was found, floating between two boats in an Utrecht canal.


Police dispatched to Laan van Chartroise in connection with reported water damage. Accompanied to the location by fire brigade and forced open front door of upstairs neighbours.

—File PL -0977 26582

Kid talks about water damage to his home and the death of his beloved bell pythons.
February 2012

Police called to Café de Luifel in connection with an intoxicated man who was shouting at customers. When police arrived, the man also started shouting at them.

—File PL -0910 21070

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View from the back of Kid’s house.
June - December 2010

Report received of a man who had become unwell. When officers arrived, the man was lying face down on the ground and was barely responsive.

—File PL -0910 20935

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Photo’s of Kid’s son in his living room.
2007 - 2012


Gardening books, knives and fishing gear.
October 2006

Report received of a noisy neighbour. Household items had been thrown outside and residents heard shouting. On arrival, everything was quiet in and around the house.

—File PL -0977 23422


Kid fixes a moped in his corridor.
May 2007

Officer dispatched to Laan van Chartroise in connection with a person who had become unwell. Individual in question was lying on the ground by the front door but was trying to get up when officer arrived.

—File PL -0977 24765


Brought home by police on an early Sunday morning.
March 2008


Residents called the police after seeing a confused man walking barefoot.
March 2008

Officers on Neude saw a man making a nuisance of himself. He was trying to hug people and/or speak to them. He also appeared to be under the influence of alcohol, possibly in combination with drugs.

—File PL -0910 21027


Demolition of adjacent block of houses.
June 2009

A man was reported to be pushing an ING cash machine repeatedly. Enforcement officers were found already at the scene. Individual in question said he was waiting for his money and thought it would be deposited today.

—File PL -0977 21001

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Kid’s family album.

Report received from security guard at Coffeeshop Bordeaux on Voorstraat that passers-by were being hassled by a man asking them to buy weed for him.

—File PL -0910 29836


Kid had trouble reading but loved comic books like Tom and Jerry.
December 2007

Officers encountered suspect on Neude. He was arguing with a homeless man. Homeless man claimed that suspect had stolen his shoes. Suspect confirmed this.

—File PL -0910 21323


Little rat bought at the local pet store.
July 2008


Once every four to six weeks the pythons are fed a rat.
June, 2010

Report received of a homeless man who had become unwell. Went to reported location. Suspect had used a combination of drugs and alcohol, causing his blood sugar level to drop dramatically.

—File PL -0910 20944


Kid often told a story that he slept with his two pythons under his pillow.
July, 2008

Report received of several homeless people in front of the city hall shouting at passers-by. On arrival, we saw five people sitting on a bench who were behaving calmly and had no alcohol with them.

—File PL -0910 23996

Kid talks about his king pythons and damage to his home as a result of epileptic seizures.
December 2011

Call received from Coffeeshop Bordeaux that drug addict wearing a red hat was causing a disturbance.

—File PL -0910 29846

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An ordinary Monday with friends, snakes, pizza and a giant spliff.
December 2007


Kid often let his king pythons snuggle around freely in his living room.
February 2008

Police saw suspect loitering in the doorway of the old post office. He was given a fine under Article 2.29 of the General Municipal Ordinance (anti-social behaviour in a public place).

—File PL -0910 20970


Kid was a big fan of reggae music, especially Bob Marley.
March 2008

Report received of a smashed window in a house on Laan van Chartroise. It turned out that the resident, who also reported the damage, had smashed the window himself because his key would not work.

—File PL -0977 20986


Kid’s administration and finance were under supervision of government institutions.
August 2007


Annual Christmas decoration.
December 2007

During night shift, cycled through central Utrecht and issued fines to loitering drug addicts.

—File PL -0910 26575

Kid talks about his sons, both of whom do not live with him.
February 2012

Officers called to Diakonessenhuis Hospital in connection with a discharged patient who would not leave. He was therefore arrested and escorted off the property.

—File PL -0835 20960


Bedroom of Kid’s son remained unchanged for years after he left.
February 2009


Tattoo birthdate and constellation of his son.
June 2010

Man addressed on the street after bystanders reported he had had an epileptic fit. Individual was barely responsive.

—File PL -0910 25456


One of the last portraits I took from Kid, about a year before his death.
January 2012

Short impression of the funeral ceremony
June, 2013


Film clips are from the movie Willem & Kid made by Het Filmfort / NGN productions.

Texts are based on police reports, documented during Kid’s last year of life.

Family pictures are from Kid’s photo album.

Concept and photographs by Rob Hornstra.

“The aspect of confronting a cultural ‘elite’ with the working-class is an essential element of this project.”

—British Journal of Photography, 2017



Texts based on reports by the Utrecht Police Department. Design by Sybren Kuiper.

Man Next Door examines the stigmatisation of the working class while offering a rare insight into the life of a working-class Utrecht boy – a life told through Hornstra’s photographs, Kid’s family snapshots and excerpts from police reports. What emerges is a bewildering picture of Kid’s many personalities, inevitably raising the question: how well do you know the person who lives next door?

Utrecht: self-published, 2017. English, hardbound with photo-illustrated boards, 96 pp, 54 color photographs, 24.2 x 29.1 cm (9 1/2 x 11 1/2 in).


“Face aux photos toutes en tendresse et en violence contenues, Rob Hornstra a recopié les textes issus du dossier de la police d’Utrecht sur Kid : agression d’un officier de police, intimidation, nuisances sur la voie publique, nuisances sonores, troubles à l’ordre public…”

—Libération, January 2018

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Family and Friends Edition

The aim of the Family and Friends Edition was to pre-finance 60 free copies for Kid’s friends and family. To achieve this goal, sixty numbered copies (1-60) with a special photo-illustrated dust jacket were offered in my online shop on July 13, 2017 for € 70.00 each. My gratitude goes out to all sixty buyers who have quickly ensured that the goal was achieved.

Utrecht: self-published, 2017. English, hardbound with photo-illustrated dust-jacket, 96 pp, 54 color photographs, 24.2 x 29.1 cm (9 1/2 x 11 1/2 in).


Family and Friends Edition (2017)


Pre-financed copies for family and friends during book launch.


The exhibition Man Next Door - packed in 2 wooden crates - consists of seventeen framed and handmade c-prints of 65 x 80 cm, three c-prints of 35 x 42 cm, short video and sound fragments, a slide show containing old family photos, police reports and - if the space allows - a large photo wallpaper.

Required dimensions for this exhibition: 25 - 75 running meters of wall. The Man Next Door exhibition will be custom designed and adapted to the interior of the host institution. For more information and rental prizes, please contact


Centraal Museum, Utrecht, NL, 2017


Centraal Museum, Utrecht, NL, 2017

“I never expected an exhibition dedicated to Kid. Someone from the street is not hanging in a museum…” says Kids brother Reinier.

—AD Utrechts Nieuwsblad, 2017

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Centraal Museum, Utrecht, NL, 2017

“When Hornstra heard in March that the students who were staying in Kids’ old house were leaving, it was clear to him: ‘I have to have this place’. In a few weeks, he completely cleaned the house and put up an exhibition about Kid.”

—De Volkskrant, 2021


Exhibition in Kids former house, Utrecht, NL, 2021

“Details like faded and half-scratched stickers of cartoon figures on the wall of the children’s room add to the atmosphere. That is also the aim, according to Hornstra. I wanted to change as little as possible to the house, so that it remains in its old state. But I also didn’t want to make a reconstruction of what it was, by putting furniture or pythons - the pets beloved by Kid - in it.”

—De Volkskrant, 2021


Click on this image »


Exhibition in Kids former house, Utrecht, NL, 2021


Trouw, Juni 2021

“De afgelopen maand was Kid weer te zien in zijn oude huis: Hornstra had de portretfoto’s in de verlaten benedenverdieping opgehangen. De deurposten en tegels uit het huis kwamen terug in de foto’s - hier, precies hier, had Kid gestaan en geleefd, tien jaar geleden. En was hij afgegleden.”

—Trouw, 2021


De Volkskrant, June 2021

“De woning is volledig gestript, het ruikt naar ingebedde sigarettenrook. Aan de muren foto’s, filmbeelden en citaten uit het politiedossier die je langs Kids leven voeren. Wie goed kijkt ziet dat verschillende foto’s op de plek hangen waar ze ook zijn genomen. In de kamer van zijn zoon vind je flarden van kinderstickers op de muur. In een volgende kamer verschijnen foto’s uit Kids familiealbum.”

—AD Utrechts Nieuwsblad, 2021


AD Utrechts Nieuwsblad, Juni 2021

“Man Next Door amplifies the humanism that underlies all of Rob’s work”

—CPH Magazine, 2018

Ondiep TV, June 2021


NRC, February 2018

“We leven langs elkaar heen, zeker in de stad, zou je ook zonder het verhaal van buurman Kid kunnen zeggen. Maar Hornstra wenst zich daar niet bij neer te leggen.”

—De Volkskrant, 2017

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Vrij Nederland, November 2017


De Volkskrant, December 2017

“While some of Rob’s photographs are difficult to look at upon learning the full story of Kid’s unsettled life, being shocking never appears to be the aim. Instead, the subtle hints at someone unstable make you think about how easily life can spiral downwards from one misunderstanding or mistake.”

—It’s Nice That, 2018

Opening exhibition Centraal Museum on RTV Utrecht, December 2017

“Als ihn Hornstra über jahre immer wieder mit der Kamera besuchte, entstand die Dokumention einer vielschichtigen Persönlichkeit”

—Dummy Magazine, 2018

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Dummy Magazine, Herbst 2018

“In 2013 werd Kids dode lichaam gevonden in een Utrechtse gracht, maar in het project Man Next Door leeft hij voort met een pracht van een boodschap.”

—Vice Creators, 2017

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Volkskrant Magazine, October 2008