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Een oude man met overjas en hoed staat aan de kade © GermaineImage

A welcome refugee

Einstein and Red Star Line

In this free exhibition, you will discover Einstein's close relationship with Antwerp, Belgium and Red Star Line. 

    Friday 19 April 2024 until Sunday 8 September 2024 from 10:00 to 17:00

The exhibition returns to a turbulent period in which luxury passenger Einstein became a welcome refugee who was seeking a temporary stay in Antwerp. The exhibition brings this little piece of history to life with some unique objects, photos and stories, adorned with an audio play from ‘Het Geluidshuis’. You can discover the exhibition for free on your own or during a guided tour.  

As a famous scientist, Albert Einstein travelled on the Red Star Line shipping company's vessels several times. In 1933, during his return trip from New York on the Belgenland, he received the bad news that the Nazis had plundered his summerhouse. Being a Jewish scientist, he was not particularly well-liked by them. For safety's sake, Einstein decided not to travel on to Germany, resigned from the Prussian Academy for Sciences and renounced his Germany nationality. He was taken in by some friendly scientists and artists in Belgium. This was how the world star turned into a privileged and welcome refugee, as compared to many other Jewish refugees who had a far harder time finding safe accommodation. Several months later, Einstein embarked with the Red Star Line once more to move to America for good, where he swore his oath as an American citizen in 1940.   

The exhibition displays some unique objects, including the original passenger list with Einstein on the Belgenland, photos by Germaine Van Parys of Einstein at the Rijnkaai in Antwerp, a photo of Einstein with James Ensor, a racist pamphlet ‘Judentum und Wissenschaft’ (‘Jewry and Science’, 1936) by Wilhelm Müller during the Nazi regime that presents Jewish scientists as a threat, a photo of Einstein's swearing of the oath as an American citizen in 1940, etc.  

Een ouder echtpaar zit in hun woonkamer

© Red Star Line Museum

Audio play 

Visit the expo with a compelling audio play narrated in English. The stories take you along an imaginative and theatrical scenography. An ideal way to become immersed in Einstein’s refugee story. 

Guided tour 

A guided tour makes a group visit to the expo even more fun and interesting. The guide tells all sorts of stories and interesting facts about Einstein’s refugee story. Book your guide

Can't get a group together to book a guide? Then just join a guided tour 'Follow the guide' on every last Sunday of the month. 


  • A welcome refugee. Einstein & Red Star Line
  • Temporary exhibition
  • From April 19th till September 8th 2024
  • Free entrance

Related to the expo

Een rondleiding in het museum

Join-in-tour | Expo Einstein | Follow the guide

    Sunday 28 April 2024 from 13:30 to 15:00
    More dates
    Sunday 26 May 2024 from 13:30 to 15:00
    Sunday 30 June 2024 from 13:30 to 15:00
    Sunday 28 July 2024 from 13:30 to 15:00
    Sunday 25 August 2024 from 13:30 to 15:00

Are you visiting the museum on your own or as a couple? Do you want to take part in a guided tour? Every last Sunday of the month, you can follow our guide. Be welcome!

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