Two million passengers made the crossing from Antwerp to North America aboard the steamships of the Red Star Line. Their story, that of the shipping company that transported them and that of the city and the port from which they departed, are central to the Red Star Line Museum’s main exhibition. The museum poses the question of what this history means today. Migration and human mobility are issues that have been relevant throughout history: millions of people all over the world have left (and are leaving) behind what is familiar in order to look elsewhere for a new future.
In the Red Star Line Museum you follow the path of the emigrants. From their departure from their country of origin, through their long journey and their temporary stay in Antwerp, to the crossing and their arrival in their new homeland of America or Canada.
The Red Star Line Museum in a nutshell
The Red Star Line Museum invites you on an eventful journey following in the footsteps of the emigrants. Become acquainted with the passengers and accompany them on the trip from their native village to Antwerp. The ocean steamers of the Red Star Line are docked on the quay ready to depart for the New World. Exciting and personal stories accompany you across the ocean. On the other side of the ocean you say goodbye to your fellow passengers.
With their whole life packed in a few suitcases, millions of people sailed from Europe to America after 1800. The United States and Canada were the promised land for fortune seekers and everyone looking for a better life. For many people, the trip to the New World began in a warehouse in Antwerp. Red Star Line ocean steamers paved the way to a new life for about two million men, women and children between 1873 and 1934.
High expectations and deep disappointments
The historic sheds that belonged to the legendary shipping company with the red star in its flag currently house the Red Star Line Museum. The museum tells the story of the millions of Europeans who were courageous enough or desperate enough to leave their old life behind and look for a better existence. Via an emotional rollercoaster of high expectations and deep disappointments, racing adrenaline and sleepless nights, the dream becomes a reality for some of them. The former harbour sheds that belonged to the Red Star Line are the perfect place to make the stories of countless passengers palpable and visible. Their dreams and complaints are brought to life in this inspiring environment.
A visit to the Red Star Line Museum involves both a journey to the past and an encounter with the present. Migration might have a different face these days, but the human side of migration is timeless and universal.