information & sharing · media

Big movements begin with small actions. Our statement after the elections.

justPeople – For the World

The wind gently sways the trees and evokes the voices of displaced people in the nature reserve Heumensoord near Nijmegen. A huge gap remains there now as if nothing significant has happened. However, Heumensoord is definitely not a blank spot in our collective mental map.

In 2015 a refugee camp was built in the middle of the forest. It was the largest emergency shelter in the Netherlands in decades. As the same time it brought about a massive network of support in Nijmegen and surroundings, mostly through informal and deregulated social organization, based upon humane urgency, interaction, volunteers and social media.

Our justPeople collective came together in this context, out of solidarity and mutual support. We are a dynamic group of international, young people who feel concerned with their living environment, in any geographic, social, informational and psychological sense.

In the following we wish to make a statement, as a response to the recent Dutch national elections, the developments of recent years, but even more so as a message to the future.

Our responsibility as humans is to counter the fragmentation of society in general, and especially segregation and racialization of refugees and migrants. We stand for solidarity and mutual aid, intercultural dialogue and respect. We stand for equality, regardless of gender or color. We do not wish to comfort ourselves through solutions that temporarily soothe us at the cost of those in need. We need our collective experiences in creating a sustainable future for us all. We are part of that, we are the future and the wind of change.

Dutch elections

About a month ago, March 15 2017, the latest national elections of parliament took place in the Netherlands. Through Europe, the Dutch elections seem to be celebrated as a victory over far right fascist rhetoric.

We feel statements made in such messages are far reaching and misleading, especially when displayed on an idealistic and progressive social platform. As a matter of fact, Geert Wilders’ party did win five seats, gaining 33% over the previous term. It’s perhaps a message of hope to some, a relief in comparison to the widespread fearful anticipation for worse, but we feel the sense of relief overrules the sense of urgency towards developments in recent years. It overrules the need for (self)empowerment. It overrules the silent acceptation of racist references, which have been increasingly dominating discourses in recent years, and are slowly slipped into lines of argumentations. It overrules the silent outcry of those in need who often have no voice and are silenced the moment cameras are absent. It overrules the state of the earth. Any such sense of relief soothes us with blind caps for the bigger processes in the world, persistently at the cost of others. This does not only apply to politics of migration, but rather to nearly all urgent themes of our current world: climate, education, information, health, injustice, suppression, slavery, etc.

We understand that the 2017 elections could have turned out somewhat worse. We understand there have been positive signs in the elections, such as the big turnout in general and by young people, and the relatively progressive voice of the newer generations. The green parties have increased substantially in size.

Yet it is important to make very clear that we have a long way to go. People are being suppressed, marginalized, manipulated and dehumanized from in- and outside of Dutch borders, consequential and regardless of Dutch or European policies. We are fed hate of the other, and try to use that to fix our own identity in place. A diluting and masking mechanism, considering that an identity is a process, rather than something static.

Policies made in recent years, such as those which have been dubiously called the ‘refugee deals’ with Turkey, Libya, Mali, Niger, have come from the same people who have now again won the 2017 Dutch elections. The deal that was made has always been controversial to some, but is also officially being contested more and more by large organizations such as Oxfam Novib & Stichting Vluchteling (link to article in Dutch). and academics throughout Europe because of its inhumane geopolitical game at the costs of those in dire need.

Currently the UN estimates, there are about 140 million people displaced in the world by the effects of climate change. They estimate this amount could increase to up to 300 million people in 2050. While our society is making noise to exclude migrants, the CO2 emissions in the Netherlands in 2016 by companies and industry have been the highest ever measured (link to Dutch article). Both policies and the neoliberal market are failing us and our world’s reality, and have been doing so for several decades already.

All the more reason to consider a new reality. A reality in which all kinds of people will be everywhere. A complex reality. A reality in which we urgently need to embrace necessary changes, a reality in which denial and separation are the disease, while collaboration and interaction are the cure. A reality forecast by inclusive initiatives and fathomable examples and development, where differences can be used to find similarities, and in which (social) development is a form of courage and perseverance. Migrants have always been treated as a security threat, it’s time to change this discourse into an inclusive, responsible and most importantly a self-critical notion. We need to look ahead and be brave and open towards a vulnerable future.


We also understand that the voice of many, in some cases represented by those voting for segregating and fear-dominant leadership, has been silent for years. We understand that the general discontent of people is a reason to vote for a fearful call for change, a reference to the familiar folk in a time where sense of direction is lacking. Changes are fast and decisions are made uninformed or undemocratic. We understand the sense of fear. We understand the impact of global decision making, mirroring a sense of powerlessness and shortsighted versions of diverse and complex realities. This sense of fear comes from a fear of losing the security of the livelihood of many.

But we cannot justify creating a common enemy. In the Netherlands, the euphemism of “participation society” has created a framework, where all our social networks and social safety nets are slowly taken away by use of the name of ‘efficiency’, guided by economic models and economically dominated rhetoric. We see it in the education system, housing possibilities, and in the health care system.

The housing market in the Netherlands has become increasingly privatized by neoliberal politics, which now results in refugees in need of new homes being portrayed as a direct competitor to the less wealthy people in the Netherlands. Fear is channeled into anger towards migrants, fueled by frantic media and politicians. justPeople opposes this. We channel the insecurity of the future into action; action to change our livelihoods into an inclusive society. Towards a society that we would like to live in, based on solidarity and mutual aid. We can come together, repair bikes together, share tea and knowledge.

Common courage

We are not stating that we can fully change the world. As a matter of fact, collective development can only be carried on through personal experience, which is a matter of falling and rising within surroundings of reflectors. However, in all relative privilege we have, we can indeed create a good example, facilitate those reflectors to strive forward and use our means, networks and creativity for pragmatic development. These are similar means to the ones our parents used to create the social roots we do have.

We can make the world a better place only by taking initiative. On the streets, in social centers, in community shelters, in living rooms with friends and family, a better future is made. We cannot look up the hierarchically defined ladder, only to be disappointed time after time and give up, directing our frustration towards others near us, or anonymously depicted strangers who we project our own deficits on.

A better world starts with you and your network, no matter the results of any election. As it has always been, women’s rights, rights for people of color, rights for the LGTBI-Q community and rights for marginalized groups in general have been gained on streets, in social environments, and in reflection of experiences of those in need. We believe a common cause can be found in many of the issues in the world of today; we are all in need. Solutions are often not a one-size-fits-all, which is why solidarity and creativity are virtues that go through and beyond politics.

It takes courage to raise your voice and direct a clear “no” to racism, or any form of segregation. To direct a clear “yes” to inclusive solidarity initiatives and supportive communities.

We still have a long way to go and many lessons to be learned, but we look into the future with positive energy.

Do you feel inspired to make the Netherlands a better place for us all, despite the politicians in The Hague? Do you want to channel today’s insecurity into tomorrow’s better world? Check our projects where we build the future we want, without racism, without sexism, without racialization, with love, with solidarity and most importantly with positive energy.


17901917_10158777023535393_1308571021_ono racism Bildschirmfoto 2017-04-13 um 09.43.11


Engage! - Postcards from the Border. · Events · Get Involved!

Journeys. Film and info evening March 22nd

Filmcafé Onderbelicht and justPeople invite take you on a journey this evening. We travel to Lesvos, think back to Heumensoord and follow Aboud from Syria on his path searching refuge in the EU. This evening contextualizes the trip “Postcards from the border“, which will start in April and consists about taking action in solidarity networks… Continue reading Journeys. Film and info evening March 22nd

Engage! - Postcards from the Border. · Get Involved! · information & sharing · Solidarity & Protest

From Heumensoord to Lesvos: support activism documentary project!

Our dear friend Laura is going filmmaking in Greece in april. Ever modest and very essential as a friend and in our justPeople collective, she aims to shed light on the people who are stuck between borders and systems, juggling between basic needs, a family in a country in ruins, and hoping to get to a destination where they can rebuild their lives.
In terms of basic needs and safety, refugees, activists and humanitarian aid workers are still struggling every day in a situation that is still much more urgent than what we can see. Check out the video for a short introduction. For more information and to support, visit the crowdfunding page.
If you have any recommendations with people or situations, let us know

Come together, share your story & draw your map of Nijmegen · Posts

Mapping project in 2nd exhibition at international conference in Madrid

Bildschirmfoto 2016-07-01 um 14.21.32
Via Contested Cities

We are very pleased to spread the word: one of our maps got selected to be shown in one of the “stills” rooms in Madrid during the Contested Cities conference from 4th -7th of July.

In December we came together for the event share our different visions on Nijmegen and Heumensoord. In May the maps were part of an exhibition together with pictures and mind maps from the US/ Mexican border.

Nijmegen divided in Centrum and Jungle. This map reflects the experience of a newcomer in Nijmegen who arrived as a refugee, living in camp Heumensoord, which lies in a forest one hour walking distance from the city center.


Back then when we sat down together for some tea and some free drawing, Heumensoord had existed for about three months. It was in the middle of the winter and people were insolated in a camp in the forest. We all rememeber how hard it was to even get there without a bike (an hour and a half walking from the city center).

The inhumane living conditions in the camp were later confirmed by the Nationale Ombudsman. The camp was closed earlier. However, does this mean that people will not be sent again to mass camps into isolation?

Jungles, borders, exclusion

Distances are so easily created and borders are so easily set up. Our map shows that a division takes place: On the one hand there is the city center and on the other hand, as if behind a wall, there is the jungle. The question arises of who actually has access to the city then?

All over Europe, currently there are camps popping up. Mass camps with disastrous living conditions. These “jungles” challenge our vision of the cities, they are a symbol of the excluded.

Exhibitions and discussion

CONTESTED_CITIES is an international interdisciplinary network of researchers from Europe and Latin America (Madrid, Leeds, Mexico City, Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires, Quito and Rio de Janeiro). They research processes, consequences and resistance to neoliberal urban politics in Europe and Latin America. (via)

The conference opens up dialogue and discussion and has a special focus on visual material that will be presented alongside the talks.

The CONTESTED_CITIES CONFERENCE will be a forum of radical academics, practitioners and activists from different theoretical, disciplinary and geographical backgrounds coming together to probe the multiple forms of urban injustice that shape cities across the world. Cities have always been contested spaces in which struggles over different political visions of urban development, planning and life take place; yet urban contestation is increasing.

In recent years this has been manifested through austerity urbanism, crisis politics and processes of financialisation. Millions of urban citizens are experiencing dispossession, displacement and expulsion on a daily basis; their ‘right to the city’ has been denied by diverse forms of neoliberal and authoritarian urban governance.

At the same time there is growing global resistance and counter-strategies to these injustices, varying in form, scale and approach. The conference will develop counter-dialogues and perspectives, fighting against these injustices, in an attempt to think beyond neoliberalism. (via)

It is great that the Heumensoord-struggles find a place in this debate. Whoever goes to Madrid next Monday: Wouldn’t it be great to visit the conference and give us a shout out about it? We would like that!


Come together, share your story & draw your map of Nijmegen · Events

Maps in exhibition

For the month of March you can enter another borderland right in the middle of Radboud university grounds.

The Global Lounge, a place to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee in the book shop, becomes a place for a visual border study. On the walls you find photos of the US/ Mexican border. On the tables you get invited into mind maps about that border as well as a border experience that takes place in our direct surrounding.

You remember this? 



In December we invited for getting together and to make maps. Not only did we have a cozy time together, but we also got insights into different perspectives we have on Nijmegen and Heumensoord. Some Syrian and Eritrean tunes were playing and we asked ourselves: “What do I like about my living surrounding? What is important for me? What not?”. That made for some spontaneous and very interesting drawings.


Nijmegen divided in centrum and jungle

This map reflects the experience of a newcomer in Nijmegen who arrived as a refugee, living in camp Heumensoord, which lies in a forest 1 hour walking distance from the city center.

Last week, the exhibition’s opening happened in the course of a Radboud Public Roundtable Discussion: ‘Postcolonial Europe’ from our borderlands. Academics, students and activists shared experiences. The discussion was incredibly rich and dense. We need more of that! More opportunities and more spaces!

It makes us happy to see such talks happening that open up a reflection zone for everyone. And it also makes us happy to see the maps exhibited. Go and have a look and tell us what you think!

Location: Roelant’s ‘Global Lounge’,
Thomas van Aquinostraat 1a, Nijmegen (inside Books by Roelants <>)
Radboud University, Nijmegen



Stories from the camp

Suddenly a lot of short notice transfers to yet another huge camp. Again it’s not ready yet.

Humans of Heumensoord started a goodbye series. Suddenly a lot of people are transferred to the Blauwestad near Groningen. Another yet not ready huge camp for 1000 people. For some the conditions might be better. But do the transfers really have to happen on such short notice? And is another big camp on the outskirts… Continue reading Suddenly a lot of short notice transfers to yet another huge camp. Again it’s not ready yet.

Events · Women's meeting

Women’s meeting: this sunday

Our friends from Nijmegen Gastvrij already organized a women’s meeting twice at the Klinker. Both times it was a fun get together, kids were being entertained and we were chatting and eating away. It’s time for a next round! When: 6th of March, 13-17 hrs. Where: De Klinker, Van Broeckhuysenstraat 46, Nijmegen. Let’s talk, eat… Continue reading Women’s meeting: this sunday

Stories from the camp

Hello to a New Generation!

The report of the Ombudsman finally made official the inacceptable state of affairs that asylum seekers in the Netherlands have to cope with. It was made clear that people’s medical and psychological needs are far from being met. The government is now oblidged to acknowledge that they can’t make people wait for half a year… Continue reading Hello to a New Generation!

Solidarity & Protest · Stories from the camp

Time for the authorities to act: Create a human rights- friendly environment

A plea for making welcoming possible It’s official: The independent national human rights investigator (Nationale Ombudsman) declares that Heumensoord is not a good place when it comes to human rights. Media coverage follows accordingly (Following the link, you can read an English translation to RTL nieuws’ video). From our side, it is not a new… Continue reading Time for the authorities to act: Create a human rights- friendly environment

Stories from the camp

Video translation: RTL nieuws visits camp Heumensoord after report of critical human rights situation

Click here to see yesterday’s video. Below, you find an English translation of what is said. Voice over: These are images from the inside, no real bad stuff visible, but still, there is a lot wrong. Then the woman: Lack of privacy, lack of living expenses, too much noise makes people sleep badly, and some… Continue reading Video translation: RTL nieuws visits camp Heumensoord after report of critical human rights situation