The List: creating awareness in the center of Leeuwarden

Walking around the main street of the center of Leeuwarden during this month, we could find something that in the beginning we might not identify. Close to the canal, there were some fences with white canvas full of names.  What were these names? What did they represent?

By: Martina Andrés – photo: Lucas Kemper

The List Project
What this list represented was the names of all the refugees who has lost their lives within or on the borders of Europe since the year 1993. The number of registered deaths is 35.597 and, what we have to take into account,  is that thousands of refugees are never found.  This information has been compiled by the secretary of UNITED for Intercultural Action, an organization based in Amsterdam. Creating awareness is its main goal. The list has been in Leeuwarden since the 3rd of November until the 22nd of November.

Who is behind?
Iepen UP organization, as part of the Leeuwarden-Fryslân European Capital of Culture 2018, has  created this project as a part of a program called social issues.

Answer of the public
,,The answers of the people have been very strong, in both positive and negative sides”, explains Matthea de Jong, the project leader of Iepen UP. During the night of the 9th of November, an anonymous person put flowers in the 80-meters-long list. This night was maybe not chosen randomly.  It was the Kristallnacht, in English, Cristal Night.  During the night of the 9th. of November of 1938, Jewish people suffered from Nazi attacks in Germany and Austria. They entered in their houses and shops, breaking the windows and leaving crystals all over the floor. Ninety-one Jewish people were killed and 30.000 of them were taken to concentration camps. So every year, on this date, a commemoration for all these people is celebrated. It was during this night when an unknown person left flowers along the 80 meters of The List. Was it on purpose? Nobody knows.

Why is The List important?
There has been some negative replies, as people asked why this project is relevant to them or their situation in Leeuwarden.  Leeuwarden is part of Europe, and even more this year because it is the culture capital. Migration is one of the bigger issues Europe has to deal with and only because we do not see it in our streets or in our daily environment, it does not mean that it does not exist.  ,,The List has been there for one month, the suffering of the refugees is constant.”, says de Jong.