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European Culture Award for the exhibition Homosexuals and Lesbians in Nazi Europe


Kazerne Dossin and Mémorial de la Shoah win an international award 

Kulturforum Europa announced that it has awarded the European Culture Award to the creators of the temporary exhibition ‘Homosexuals and Lesbians in Nazi Europe’. Kazerne Dossin has decided to make admission to the exhibition free to mark the occasion.

Laureate of the European Culture Award

Kazerne Dossin is proud to receive the prestigious European Culture Award from KulturForum Europa on 5 March 2024, together with Mémorial de la Shoah. KulturForum Europa chose the exhibition because it draws attention to the extent of Nazi persecution and the wealth of (sub)cultures in the LGBTQI+ community in the early 20th century. “The exhibition has successfully taken up the challenge of saving this chapter in history from oblivion. It starts from a scientific point of view, striving to combat as many untruths as possible and filling gaps in knowledge,” KulturForum Europa said.

Before the ceremony, all the parties involved arrived at the venue: Dieter Topp (Director KulturForum Europa), Christian Bauer (Director of the Academy for Art & Design at KulturForum Europa), Sophie Nagiscarde (Mémorial de la Shoah), Suzette Robichon (journalist, editor and women’s rights activist), Florence Tamagne (historian and curator of the original exhibition), Tomas Baum (director Kazerne Dossin) and Björn Siffer (alderman for culture of the City of Mechelen). The Friends, the Board of Directors, and the General Assembly were also represented. 


KulturForum Europa e.V. (KFE) was founded in 1992 by Hans-Dietrich Genscher to promote an internationally shared European idea of culture. As such, the institution focuses, in particular, on contemporary phenomena of racism and the exclusion of communities, as well as discrimination based on origin, religion, ideology, skin colour, gender, or sexual orientation. It strives to promote and encourage mutual respect and tolerance internationally through culture and is committed to fighting xenophobia.

Every year, KulturForum Europa presents a European Culture Award to artists, organisations, and exhibitions focusing on these themes. Kosovan theatremaker Jeton Neziraj was the previous laureate. In 2020-2021, he won the award with his cultural organisation ‘Qendra’, which provides a platform for political and social issues in the form of theatre and other literary and cultural events. 

This year, the award goes to the creators of ‘Homosexuals and Lesbians in Nazi Europe’. In this exhibition, the Kazerne Dossin team provides relevant and underexposed information about the situation in Belgium and the Netherlands. Once again, Kazerne Dossin has demonstrated that it is an international reference as a museum, positioning Mechelen as a place of remembrance of a past that must never be repeated,” added Björn Siffer, Mechelen’s alderman for culture. 

Exhibition Homosexuals and Lesbians in Nazi Europe

The fate of homosexuals and lesbians during World War II has long been ignored. The vast majority of the population was unaware of their suffering. The exhibition highlights their precarious situation in Belgium and neighbouring countries such as Germany, France, and the Netherlands. Mémorial de la Shoah developed the concept of this exhibition, which was elaborated under the scientific direction of Florence Tamagne. This exhibition was first organised in Paris in 2021. 

“We must remember the fate of homosexuals and lesbians in Nazi Europe, which has long remained invisible. With the help of several original documents, the exhibition focuses on their plight under the Nazi regime, from their stigmatisation and persecution and ultimately, their struggle for recognition,” says Florence Tamagne, Scientific curator of the exhibition, who is also a lecturer in contemporary history at the Université de Lille and an expert on the history of homosexuality. 

Kazerne Dossin developed and added material relating to Belgium and the Netherlands. To do so, they called on the expertise of historians such as Wannes Dupont, Judith Schuyf, Marc Verschooris and Bart Hellinck. The exhibition initially ran from 16 February 2023 until 10 December 2023 and was extended until 13 March 2024 due to its success. The exhibition has welcomed nearly 21.000 visitors since it opened.

“European history is a polyphonic history. With this exhibition, we once again highlight an extraordinary history that saves us from the pitfall of a unitary history. This exhibition also allowed us to explore the current significance of this history of persecution of homosexuals and lesbians,” Tomas Baum, director of Kazerne Dossin, explained. 

Free admission

As we are delighted with the recognition of our endeavour, we are offering free admission to the exhibition Homosexuals and Lesbians in Nazi Europe from today. Bookings for a free visit to the temporary exhibition can be made from Thursday 8 March until Sunday 10 March at the front desk or through the website.