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On Thursday, December 22, the WCM’s pop-up exhibition “LISTEN” opened at the Heeswijk Castle, near Eindhoven, the Netherlands. The exhibition will be open to visitors from December 23 to January 8, 2023.

The exhibition, which spans the entire length of the castle museum, centers on the experiences of Ukrainian children, but also presents the stories and personal belongings of individuals whose childhood was affected by war in BiH, Croatia, Kosovo, Syria, Afghanistan, Palestine, Eritrea, and Yemen. Following Belgrade, Prishtina, Prague, and Strasbourg, this is the exhibition’s fifth destination in 2022.

Audience at the opening
Stuffed toy (Ukraine) on display

Speaking at the opening ceremony were the Director of the Heeswijk Castle, Luc Eekhout, Founder and Managing Director of the War Childhood Museum, Jasminko Halilovic, and Governor of the North Brabant region, Ina Adema.

In his address, Luc Eekhout emphasized that the Heeswijk Castle is proud to host the War Childhood Museum’s exhibition which is, at this point in time, relevant to all of Europe. Moreover, the exhibition can foster an understanding of war’s effects and the experiences of children arriving in the Netherlands from all around the world, including Ukraine.

As the Commissioner of King Willem-Alexander, who visited the WCM’s exhibition at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, Ina Adema welcomed the first War Childhood Museum exhibition in the Netherlands, expressing delight at the opportunity to host it in this particular region. She concluded her address by sharing an emotional personal story about her father, whose childhood was marked by the Second World War.

Jasminko Halilovic explained the reasoning behind the Museum’s efforts to produce LISTEN this year, as a response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In coordination with its Ukraine office, the WCM aimed to fulfill its core mission at a critical moment, and give visibility to the stories of those whose childhoods are currently affected by war. Halilovic stated that he hopes the exhibition inspires empathy in visitors, also expressing the wish to see individuals, and society as a whole, put in more decisive effort in securing a peaceful future.