The history of Rotterdam goes back to 1270, when a dam was constructed in the Rotte river. After this, many people sought safety around its shore banks. Today, Rotterdam is a thriving city, an international hub and a place of well-known for its diversity with no fewer than 175 nationalities. As a city welcoming to all and one that has long opened its arms to those in need of shelter, Rotterdam is a wonderful place for human right defenders from around the world to get back their energy.
Rotterdam joined the Shelter City network in 2019, making it the 12th city in the Shelter City Netherlands network. The city of Rotterdam offers a safe haven to three human rights defenders at risk per year, who during their stay can find safety, take a break and re-energise, expand their network, and share their story with local Rotterdammers.
At Shelter City Rotterdam, we organise a dynamic programme for the human rights defenders, and also aim to engage the people of Rotterdam in worldwide human rights.
The Shelter City Rotterdam programme is jointly organised by local Rotterdam organisations Humanitas, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Amnesty International Rotterdam and Verhalenhuis Belvédère. Humanitas coordinates the programme of each guest with the help of Shelter City mentors and buddies, Erasmus University connects Shelter City guests with students and lecturers, and offers them the opportunity to carry out research and improve academic writing skills, while Amnesty International and Verhalenhuis Belvédère both offer a stage for human rights defenders to share their stories and engage with local Rotterdammers. Together, Shelter City Rotterdam ensures a fruitful stay for our guest, and contributes to creating awareness about human rights situations worldwide in Rotterdam.
The initiative is supported financially by the municipality of Rotterdam.