Inspired by the 'Vrijplaats' project, which in the early 2000s used to provide shelter to writers, journalists and artists in the city, Tilburg became a Shelter City in 2016. Over the past years, Shelter City Tilburg has built on the experience of the city in providing safe spaces by hosting human rights defenders from around the world. Today, Shelter City Tilburg also contributes towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and especially SDG 16.

Our support

Rest and re-energize

Tilburg is a social city in the Brabant province, where there is always a place for creatives and people who think ‘out of the box’. Here, human rights defenders can find safety while enjoying the picturesque streets of the city and its surrounding nature. Shelter City Tilburg provides inspiring spaces for defenders to take a break and pay attention to their well being away from the risks.

Tailored support and capacity-building

Depending on their background, different local partners are involved to support the human rights defenders staying in Tilburg. This allows us to provide the best support tailored to each guest. Our ‘Friends of Shelter City Tilburg’ volunteers also take care of the social activities of the guests and accompany them throughout their stay. 

Engage with local allies 

At Shelter City Tilburg, human rights defenders can attend lectures at the university, join meetings with civil society and strengthen their capacities to continue advocating for human rights back home better equipped. Guests can also share their stories with the residents of the city. This way we hope to together contribute to global and local awareness on human rights. 

Our team

Margaret Ariëns
Margaret Ariëns

Programme coordinator at Shelter City Tilburg

Our stories

Nataliia, a journalist in service of human rights
Nataliia documents human rights violations and the plight of minorities such as the LGBTQ+ community, migrants, and people living with HIV.
Shelter City Nijmegen
Angel Sulub, keeping Mayan values alive
Angel, an indigenous rights defender from Mexico, shares how he is working to keep Mayan values alive.
Shelter City Nijmegen
Juvie, using documentation as a tool against injustice
Juvie, a human rights defender from the Philippines, shares her journey of over a decade in grassroots activism and documenting human rights violations.
Shelter City Maastricht
Iván, reflecting on his journey as a human rights defender
Iván, former diplomat and Shelter City Amsterdam guest, shares his personal journey of becoming a human rights defender.
Shelter City Amsterdam
Iván, reflexionando sobre su trayectoria como defensor de los derechos humanos
Iván, antiguo diplomático y huésped de Shelter City Amsterdam, comparte su trayectoria personal como defensor de los derechos humanos.
Shelter City Amsterdam
Kiruba, fighting caste cruelties in India
Read Kiruba's story of challenging caste-based atrocities and discrimination in India.
Shelter City Nijmegen
Arsène, adding drops of justice in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Arsène shares his story as a human rights defender and lawyer in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Shelter City The Hague
Clasien, part of a global movement of human rights defenders
Clasien shares with us her experience coordinating Shelter City Tilburg and what it means to her to work with human rights defenders.
Shelter City Tilburg

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