Dutch initiative ‘Welcome to the Museum’ offers free museum visits for refugees and volunteers

The Dutch initiative ‘Welcome to the Museum’ connects people through free museum visits for refugees and their companions. Keyvan, who just got his Dutch citizenship, and Sardar, who fled from Afghanistan, are the perfect example of how a joint museum visit can connect people. They visited The Maritime Museum together and shared their knowledge and experiences.

Arts and culture connects

“Welcome to the Museum is a wonderful opportunity for newcomers to get acquainted with the culture and history of the Netherlands,” said Keyvan, who, among other things, works as a volunteer with Refugee Council Netherlands. The initiative by Refugee Council Netherlands, the Friends Lottery (Vriendenloterij), and the Prins Bernhard Culture Fund provides 200,000 museum tickets for people from refugee backgrounds. This allows refugees and their companions to visit more than 135 museums across the Netherlands for free. To our knowledge, this is a global first that the Dutch can be proud of.

Keyvan (left) and Sardar (right) in the courtyard of The Maritime Museum

Getting to know the Dutch better

The aim of ‘Welcome to the Museum’ is to introduce refugees to the history, art and culture of the Netherlands in an approachable way. It is not only an enjoyable outing, but it also provides support for the integration and assimilation of people seeking safety and a (temporary) existence in the Netherlands.

Free entry to over 135 museums

The tickets give free admission to over 135 museums across the Netherlands, from the Groninger Museum to the Bonnefanten in Maastricht. The first 60,000 entry tickets have now been distributed to the volunteer sites of Refugee Council Netherlands.

“Art has no borders, art is freedom”

Frank Candel, chairman of the board of Refugee Council Netherlands, said: “It is with great pleasure that we join hands with the Dutch museums. Art has no borders, art is freedom and should be freely accessible to all. It is great that we can now also make museums accessible to refugees, together with the Friends Lottery and the Prince Bernhard Culture Fund.

Proud New Dutchman

Keyvan himself once came to the Netherlands as a refugee. He recently acquired Dutch nationality and is now committed to helping other newcomers integrate and get acquainted with Dutch culture. Keyvan not only conveys his knowledge of the Dutch language and culture, but also shares experiences from his own life. It is a wonderful example of how one person can make a difference in the lives of others and contribute to a more inclusive society.

Helping newcomers integrate

Keyvan adds:

Helping newcomers integrate faster is great fun. But it is also great fun to meet new people and even keep in touch with them.

Thanks to ‘Welcome to the Museum’, refugees not only get the chance to learn more about the history and culture of the Netherlands, but also to meet new people and feel more connected to their new homeland. And Keyvan experienced how fun and educational it is for companions too. And museums also welcome it because it helps them attract an even wider audience. A wonderful win-win-win.

You can find more information about the initiative and a list of all participating museums at welcomeinhetmuseum.nl. Tickets to visit with or by refugees can be requested by Dutch refugees and companions at museum@vluchtelingenwerk.nl.

For more inspiration, read the beautiful and oh-so-poignant story about Qadir from Afghanistan and his Belgian friend Leo who wrote a book together here.

Ga ook samen met een vluchteling gratis naar het museum

Find more information about the initiative and a list of all participating museums here. Tickets to visit with or by refugees can be requested at museum@vluchtelingenwerk.nl.

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