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‘Stories of refuge’ exhibition at Red Star Line Museum, Antwerp  

stories of refuge

From 1 April, and no it’s not an April’s Fool joke, the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp hosts the ‘Stories of Refuge‘ exhibition. Obviously, this exhibition was planned way before the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Nevertheless, the theme is very topical.  

Inside Red Star Line Museum

In 2021, it was exactly 70 years since the Refugee Convention was signed by 24 countries in Geneva. In the aftermath of World War II, this convention established the definition of a refugee and who was entitled to asylum. Even today, there are 80 million people fleeing their countries worldwide, and this is the subject of much discussion in our society.

To mark this anniversary, the Red Star Line Museum is creating the ‘Stories of Refuge’ exhibition. It explores what it means to be on the run, beyond laws and political agreements. People with a story of refuge tell their story, while personal objects and interviews bring it to life. 

The Red Star Line Museum tells the story of two million passengers who once made the crossing to America on the Red Star Line’s steamships. Some of them would be considered as refugees today. It shows that this is not merely an actual issue of the past few years. Throughout history, millions of people left their homes through wars and crises, seeking safety.

Here is a short video with English sub-titles introduing the museum:

Coming to Belgium

The ‘Stories of Refuge’ exhibition will be an authentic journey along stories of refugees who have come to Belgium over the last 70 years. Stories of frustration, uncertainty and trauma, as well as courage, resilience and persistence. What decisions did they have to make during their journeys? Who did they meet along the way? What about the label ‘refugee’? Will they ever not be a ‘refugee’?

World Refugee Day

On June 20, 2021, International World Refugee Day, Red Star Line asked Vida, Noor, Angela and Zakaria to describe what this day means to them. The resulting film is a collaboration between Atlas Antwerp, the Red Cross asylum for refugees ‘Linkeroever’ and the Red Star Line Museum. It’s in different languages and only subtitled in Dutch, so it might not be accessible to everyone:

Practical information

The exhibition ‘Stories of Refuge’ opens on April 1, 2022. More information can be found here: Red Star Line Museum Antwerp.

Art and museums in Antwerp

Here are some other museums in Antwerp that Danny and I have visited over the years:

7 thoughts on “‘Stories of refuge’ exhibition at Red Star Line Museum, Antwerp  ”

  1. Very interesting, considering the current world situation. I was watching footage on the TV news of people walking across the border with one suitcase each. It made me wonder what I would take if I was forced to leave my home like that. What a terrible decision to have to make.

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