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

Zabib, balancing motherhood and activism in South Sudan
"Being an activist shouldn’t stop women from having children, and having children shouldn’t stop women from their activist work. Let’s not give up."
Shelter City Rotterdam
Félix, shedding light on the harsh reality in Mexico, despite the dangers
Learn more about Félix, a Mexican photojournalist and a human rights defender.
Shelter City Amsterdam
Jhon León: defensores de los derechos humanos unidos por Shelter City para cambiar el mundo
Jhon es un defensor de derechos humanos colombiano. Aquí reflexiona sobre cómo Shelter City ha impactado, de manera positiva, su vida y trabajo.
Shelter City The Hague
Jhon León: Shelter City unites human rights defenders to change the world
John is a Colombian human rights defender. Here he reflects on how Shelter City has positively impacted his life and his work.
Shelter City The Hague
Raúl, creating safe spaces for the LGBTIQ+ community
Read about Mexican LGBTIQ+ defender Raul and his work to provide shelter to LGBTIQ+ persons.
Shelter City Utrecht
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

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