Soft Eyes. Exhibition Joost van den Broek | Humanity House


20.05.19 t/m 02.06.19

Soft Eyes

It was twenty-seven years ago when Joost van den Broek got on a bus and went on his way to the war in former Yugoslavia. It was there, at a place where compassion no longer existed, that the young photographer stared into the displaced eyes of refugees for the first time in his life.

‘She laid quiet on a mattress, covered by a blanket. She looked like my grandmother. I stared at her and knew that there was nothing left that I could do. I could travel the world, but I would not be able to safe her. It was the first time that I looked into the eyes of someone who was about to die.’

He clicks on his camera in a daze. Back in Holland the photo disappears into a box for twenty-five years. Tucked away, just like his pain. The encounter with the old women causes him a trauma, but it also makes him committed to tell and show the stories of refugees in gripping and magnificent photos for years to come.

The Dutch Council for Refugees (VluchtelingenWerk Nederland) invited Joost van den Broek to go through his archive. The photographer looked at hundreds of pictures, nearly twenty-five years of photos about the life of refugees and asylum seekers in The Netherlands. Together with the Council, he chose 16 images for his exhibition ‘Soft eyes’.

Visitor information ‘Soft Eyes’

Our temporary exhibitions are always free of charge. Check the practical information for the current opening times and prices if you also want to visit our permanent section.

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Opening times

  • 10:00 - 17:00
  • 12:00 - 17:00

About Joost van den Broek

Photographer Joost van den Broek (1967, Rosmalen) specialises in social engaged documentary and portraits photography. He is known for his sensitive and emphatical view and is praised to be the best portrait and documentary photographer in The Netherlands.

Van den Broek wins numerous prices like ‘de Zilveren Camera’, becomes photojournalist of the year 2006 and 2008 and has published multiple books. His photos were published on a daily base in national newspapers and media such as de Volkskrant, Vrij Nederland, de Groene Amsterdammer and VluchtelingenWerk Nederland. In 2015, due to his health, the honored photographer puts down his camera for good. He stays involved as a head-teacher of The Photo Academy in Amsterdam.