Antwerp · History

The Red Star Line Museum

It’s the 19th century. America’s industries are flourishing, promising Europeans, poor and rich alike, a new world and a better life. With their whole life packed in a few suitcases, millions of people sail to the United States and Canada. For many people, the trip to the New World begins in a warehouse in Antwerp. Red Star Line ocean steamers pave the way to a new life for about two million men, women and children between 1873 and 1934. It is in this warehouse that the Red Star Line Museum opened its doors only some days ago, telling the story of millions of Europeans who were courageous or desperate enough to leave their old life behind and look for a better existence.

 

1. A brief history

The Red Star Line was created as a trade name in 1873, and was co-operation between the International Navigation Company (Philadelphia) and the Company Société Anonyme de Navigation Belgo-Américaine (Antwerp).  A complex of three brick-red buildings faces the Rijnkaai (Rhine landing stage), a section of the docks in the old Antwerp harbor district. For more than sixty years the Red Star Line ocean steamers docked right there.  They took on passengers by the hundreds from all over continental Europe, all pursuing the American Dream.

Belgians, too, were among those who sought a new future on the other side of the ocean. However, Belgians figured only as a small portion of the Red Star Line’s passengers. Belgian emigration to countries outside of Europe was relatively limited. Antwerp was however a particularly popular port of emigration among Jews from Central and Eastern Europe. These people constituted a sizeable proportion of the Red Star Line’s passengers. To take one statistic: of the 2.8 million people to exchange tsarist Russia for the United States between 1899 and 1914, 40% were Jewish. In many cases, these were people of very limited means who were assisted by several Jewish relief organisations in Antwerp. Many Eastern European Jews emigrated because of the socio-economic situation, but also because of the climate of discrimination against them and outbursts of anti-Semitism – the pogroms. One of the more famous passengers of the Red Star Line is the future prime Minister of Israel Golda Meir.

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2. The museum

The former warehouses of the Red Star Line were reopened as a museum on September 28, 2013. The main focus of the museum are the travel stories that could be retrieved through relatives of Red Star Line passengers. Visitors follow in the footsteps of the emigrants. The exhibition shows the different stages of the journey. Eight themes are presented over two floors: a travel agency in Warsaw, a train compartment, the city of Antwerp, the Red Star Line building, the deck of an ocean steamer, the interior of a ship, arrival at Ellis Island, and a new future in the US. The exhibition depicts how the average European emigrant would have experienced his or her journey at the beginning of the 20th century via attractive images, striking scenography and authentic objects. A strong focus is placed on the personal stories of Red Star Line passengers. Six star witnesses are central to the story. Some of them are still alive, for others the well-documented story is told by a descendant. The witnesses include Albert Einstein and Irving Berlin, two icons of the rich Red Star Line history.

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For more information on the Red Star Line Museum visit the website.

Red Star Line Museum

Montevideostraat 3
2000 Antwerp
Belgium
tel. +32 3 298 27 70
redstarline@stad.antwerpen.be

Antwerp · Hotel · Travel guide

Rosier 10

Two years ago, interior designer Roxanne Stevens had the opportunity to rebuild a historical townhouse into a bed&breakfast. Roxanne chose to mix modern with vintage, while also adding a lot of personal elements. There are 4 rooms, each representing a moment of day: morning dawn, noon, evening glow and vibrant nighttime. Together with her amazing hosting skills, this Bed&Breakfast turned into a place where you feel at home, even if it’s for only a few days. Roxanne makes a nice continental breakfast for her international guests every morning, presenting a wide variety of cheese, meat, fruit and different bread spreads. She also makes personalized maps of the city, depending on the type of day you want to spend: some shopping, some culture, or maybe a culinary adventure? Roxanne will happily draw you a marker pen-road in all colors of the rainbow and share with you the places she likes visiting herself.

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Rosier 10 is located between the trendy South district, the Antwerp port and the Old City. Rooms are provided with flat-screen TV and free Wi-Fi. Rates are starting at €115,00 a night.

Roxy’s golden citytips for Antwerp:

1. Pay a visit to the pedestrian tunnel & use Europe’s oldest (wooden) escalators
2. Go antique & vintage furniture shopping at Kloosterstraat on Sunday (what else did you expect from an interior designer?)
3. Enjoy some coffee at Vitrin Café (Marnixplaats) or Kloonies (Kloosterstraat)
4. Enjoy the sun at ‘t Eilandje (Antwerp’s marina) and have some starters at Markt
5. Go for dinner in Ferrier, located in Antwerp’s trendy neighborhood ‘t Zuid
6. Or go all out and enjoy a delicious, innovative meal at De Godevaart, located in the Old City centre.
7. Visit the MAS museum right before closing time, go all the way up to the Panorama Deck and enjoy the breathtaking view on Antwerp by sunset/night.

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B&B ROSIER 10
Rosier 102000 Antwerp+32/ (0)489 27 99 99
+32/ (0)3 345 46 36
info@rosier10.be

All pictures by (c) 2013 Sien Josephine

 

Art · beauty · History · Lifestyle · Tel Aviv · Uncategorized

Random aesthetics in Tel Aviv

Renovated building & old water tower (Nahmani Street)

Renovated apartment building (Ahad Ha’am Street)

Habima Theater (Rothschild Boulevard)

Bauhaus Center (Dizengoff Street)

View from “Bet Ha’ir” – former city hall (Bialik Street circle)

Special event hosted by TLV mayor at the former city hall (Bialik Street circle)

“Bet Ha’ir” – former city hall (Bialik Street circle)

the Felicia Blumenthal Music Center (Bialik Street circle)

Nachum Gutman Fountain (Bialik Street circle)

Gruzenberg Street

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