Maëlys de Rudder Tanović

Sarajevo is the whole world in one place

Maëlys de Rudder Tanović, wife of BiH director and Oscar-winner Danis Tanović, is from Belgium and has been living in Sarajevo since 2007. Here she runs Bloom, a private pre-school, primary and secondary school that applies Montessori methods.


Maëlys and Danis met in Belgium in 1996 and, after living in Paris and having four children, they moved to Sarajevo, where their youngest son was born.

- I first visited Sarajevo with Danis in 1996, right after the war. There was a special atmosphere in the ruined buildings and a hope for a better tomorrow; I was in love and it was all beautiful to me.

Educational institutions with Montessori methods

After deciding to move, there was the issue of their children’s schooling, so Maëlys opened a private school.

- Today, Bloom in Hrid has about 200 students who enjoy an educational program that is suitable for today’s kids and their abilities.

Maëlys feels that her kids are having a much happier childhood here than they would have had in Paris or Brussels.

- This is a healthy, free environment where my children can grow up like I did. When they go out into the street, the entire neighborhood looks after them and I feel safe. My children are open and have the advantage of being part Bosnian.

She says she misses family and friends, who are unaware of what an interesting destination this it.

- Bosnians often joke about their own country, and they should be promoting its attractions. This city is the whole world in one place, and it can be one of the loveliest places to live on earth.

During the SFF, Maëlys and Danis have a chance to host many international film stars who feel the intimacy of Sarajevo, as compared to large festival cities.

- I go to Kibe Mahala, Avlija, Tavola, Paper Moon, 4 Sobe Gospođe Safije… with family and friends. These are places where I can find some food for myself, as a vegetarian. We also enjoy domestic wines, and I recommend wheat pudding and salep at Rahatlook.

Hand-carved furniture


For Maëlys, hand-carved furniture by the Nikšić family in Konjic; jewelry from the goldsmith, Senad Sofić; old Bosnian carpets, and Dr. Pasha cosmetics make great souvenirs. As for clothing, she recommends designer Belma Tvico’s fashion studio.

She says Sarajevo has the energy of a metropolis, but the city is just the right size.

- Whether you want to visit Baščaršija, go to a concert, the theater or another cultural event, you are sure to have good fun in Sarajevo.

She thinks the National Museum of BiH, which reminds her of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, is fantastic.

- The museum is alive and offers many activities for kids, and I’m also fond of Svrzo House and Despić House, because the mix of cultures is exactly what creates the famous Sarajevo spirit.

However, Maëlys says she enjoys wild nature the most.

- Places like Umoljani and Vlašić will receive you well, and there’s not too much going on.