What would you take if you have to flee your home?


Julia Janssen

Graphic Design

Design Research

This project is specifically developed for Museum Bronbeek,

the museum for Dutch colonial history, in Arnhem


A Collaboration with Madelon Balk


Between 1945 and 1963 about 350.000 Dutch-Indonesian citizens and Moluccans were forced to build up a new life in the Netherlands, due to the independence of the Republic of Indonesia. All those people came to the Netherlands by boat, where was just space for only one pease of luggage a person. Those people had to pack their complete identity in one bag. We where interested in what those people took with them, So in an interview with three returnees form the Dutch East Indies, they were asked which objects they brought during their journey and what the reason was for that.


To create a more contemporary view on this 'forgotten' history and to comprehend the situation of these returnees, we made a comparison with the current refugee crisis. We did the same interview this refugees who are recently arrived in the Netherlands, after a most horrible trip to come here.


Based on all these personal stories, their bags and suitcases were reconstructed and visualized in live size banners. At the foot of every banner the viewer can read about a story they told us about two of the objects they brought and view the complete route this person took and with what kind of transport they used.