As the birthplace of the founder of parliamentary democracy, Zwolle has a strong commitment to democracy, which goes hand-in-hand with human rights. After a successful start in 2017, the city became a permanent part of Shelter City in 2018.

Our support

Rest and re-energize

At Shelter City Zwolle, human rights defenders are offered a safe space in a quiet and secure environment where they can focus on their well-being and care for their physical and physiological health. Defenders are able to use this time to rest and re-energize, away from any threats and security risks that come with their work. 

Tailored support and capacity-building

Our team of dedicated students and volunteers ensure every guest has a fruitful stay. During their stay, defenders can access tailored support such as language courses, medical care, and recreational activities. They can also choose to participate in a range of courses at the local university, which provides them with the opportunity to gain knowledge, form new allies, and be equipped to reinforce their cause. 

Engage with local allies

We provide a platform for human rights defenders to share their stories and raise awareness on the human rights situation in their country with the youth and residents of Zwolle. We do this through events, lectures, and meetings, which enable defenders to obtain outside perspectives to strengthen their activism and expand their network.

Our team

Tom Duteweert
Tom Duteweert

Main coordinator of Shelter City Zwolle

Our stories

Yendri, mobilizing LGBTIQ+ communities in Venezuela
Yendri works on advancing the rights of Venezuelan LGBTIQ+ individuals. Find out more about his work through a podcast episode and documentary.
Shelter City Utrecht
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

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and stay up to date with all news and events.