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

Clasien Vermeer
Clasien Vermeer

Programme coordinator at Shelter City Tilburg

Our stories

Wiecza, fighting for a better future for Venezuela
Learn more about Wiecza, a Venezuelan lawyer and human rights defender.
Shelter City Eindhoven
Numan, fighting for LGBTIQ+ rights in Malaysia
Learn more about Numan and his work to support the LGBTIQ+ community in Malaysia.
Shelter City Amsterdam
Manjula Pradeep, the inspiring activist behind Shelter City
Manjula Pradeep is an Indian human rights defenders and the inspiration behind Shelter City.
Shelter City Europe
Meet Caroline Rucah, Kenyan LGBTIQ+ rights defender
Watch a short documentary and learn more about Caroline Rucah, LGBTIQ+ rights defenders from Kenya.
Shelter City Utrecht
Asha’s photo hangs proudly on my wall
Nikki supports human rights defenders that stay in Shelter City Rotterdam. According to Nikki, being a part of Shelter City has changed her life.
Shelter City Rotterdam
Louisa and Asha: defending human rights in Nigeria and India during the COVID-19 pandemic
Louisa and Asha are two human rights defenders and former Shelter City guests who shared with us how their work has changed during the pandemic.
Shelter City Rotterdam
Mohammed Azaiza shares his experience of being stuck in Gaza while dreaming of Amsterdam
Mohammed Azaiza is a human rights defender from Gaza who was unable to relocate to Shelter City.
Shelter City Amsterdam
How William’s perseverance left a mark on numerous residents of Nijmegen
Yara was part of the Shelter City Nijmegen team for two years. During her time, she met inspiring human rights defenders such as William from Uganda.
Shelter City Nijmegen

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