Utopia  (2016)


From no other country in Europe emigrate as many people as from Moldova. Since 1991, according to the International Organization for Migration, the number of inhabitants has dropped from 4.3 to 2.9 million. Forecasts predict that in 2050 only 1.7 million people will live in the country, as much as today in Hamburg. The state has not published population statistics for years.


The emigration in Moldova is also increasing because the exit possibilities have improved. The common past with Romania allows many to apply for a Romanian passport - the only legal ticket to work in Europe. One hundred euros have to be paid in Moldova to become, at least on paper, an official EU citizen. Without a Romanian passport, you can stay in the EU for at least 90 days twice a year - without a permit to work.


With the end of communism of the Soviet Union, agricultural production collapsed in Moldova. Suddenly, people had to go abroad to earn money.


In the midst of stagnation, monotony and lack of prospects, a generation is growing which no longer wants to fight for their country.

Young Moldovans, who want to start their studies in EU countries or are looking for better-paid work in northern Italy, Great Britain or Germany benefit particularly from the visa liberalization. Although they feel connected to their homeland and their culture, language and mentality, they are drawn to other countries that offer them more prospects in education and salary.

Often without a specific goal, they linger after a change of scenery and create utopias and idealized world in their minds.

In search of their own happiness, the youth is leaving their homeland and does not only leave behind the political and economic conflicts, but furthermore has to break away from their roots, their families and their friends.


All photographs © 2020 Lukas van Bentum