In DE PASSANTEN an historical newspaper building is the point of departure. With historical events as guidelines, the film brings the history of the 'Handelsblad' complex - and its users - to life. It is not a purely anecdotal documentary, because the history of the building reflects the cultural changes that have occurred in the Netherlands as a whole in the past 150 years. Aristocratic families, journalists, protesting adolescents like squatters and punks: all of them file past. The block of buildings with its inhabitants and users, as well as the four streets surrounding it, represent a micro-history of the changes within Dutch society.