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Foto: Victoriano Moreno

Safe Haven. Stories of Antwerp on a map

22.09.2018 - 21.10.2018

Antwerp is a great place for people to live. It's also a safe haven for people who moved from outside of the city. Every immigrant has his own story to tell about the first five years of living in the city. The Red Star Line Museum collected more than 700 stories and includes them in the collection. A temporary exhibition was dedicated to the project.

The museum collects stories of people who moved to Antwerp and became residents. People that are immigrants, students who studied in Antwerp but never left, people that left another Belgium city. Everybody who has been living in Antwerp for more than five years could share his or her story. Are there meaningful places to them which they associate with joy, homesickness, hope, missing others, a sense of home? 

These people were invited to tell and draw their story on a map of Antwerp: illustrating, writing texts, sketching, creating a collage...everything was possible. The maps were folded into little boats and became part of the museum's exhibition ‘Thuishaven' ('Safe Haven’).

Each folded boat carried a unique and captivating personal story. Thus the Red Star Line Museum became the home of all collected testimonials. Some of the stories were also displayed and shown in the museum. The most beautfiful or intresting stories were compiled in a unique publication, illustrated by Gert Dooreman.

Antwerp is not only a world port, but also a safe haven: a nice place to live for everyone. A number of famous Antwerp residents were asked to become ambassadors. They supported the project and shared their personal story: Geert Hoste, Fatinha Ramos, Deepak Mehta, Mohamed Barrie and Fatima Marzouki.

Maps and stories online

Over 700 people drew a map and told their story, many of them in front of a camera. They talked about their uncertainties and shortcomings, but also about hope and opportunities. The museum treasures these stories in the collection and makes them online available. Watch the documentary:

Take a look at all the 'Safe Haven' maps.

Practical information

  • The exhibition closed on 21 October 2018.

'Thuishaven' ('Safe Haven') was inspired by the artistic project 'Mapping Manhattan' by Becky Cooper, but took the project a step further by turning the stories into little boats, including them in the museum collection and featuring them in an exhibition.

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