State of Being, documenting statelessness

In this exhibition, photographer Anoek Steketee documents the theme Statelessness. She made portraits of the myriad faces of statelessness – young and old, born in the Netherlands or elsewhere – a vulnerable group of people who find themselves trapped by Dutch bureaucracy.

As a stateless person, you belong nowhere. According to the law, you do not exist. Stateless people have no nationality. With no passport or other documents to prove their identity. The things most people take for granted, like renting an apartment, getting married, studying, taking out health insurance and working legally, are impossible. People may be born stateless, or lose their nationality due to inadequate legislation, or when states break up. In the Netherlands an estimated 10,000 people are stateless. Worldwide, this number is 10 million.

The portraits are part of the photo series Document Nederland, commissioned by the Rijksmuseum. The exhibition ‘State of Being’ can be seen at the Spuiplein, during the Movies that Matter Festival from March 17 until April 8 2018.

Tip: In collaboration with Humanity House & UNHCR, Movies that Matter organizes a special talkshow on statelessness on Tuesday 27 March at 20:30. With Andrea Vonkeman, director of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the Netherlands and photographer Anoek Steketee. The moderator is Bahram Sadeghi. Registration opens soon.