Queer Refugees Are Struggling to Live in One of Europe’s LGBTQ Havens

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10/17/2022

At the beginning of September, I joined a protest in Amsterdam against the refugee housing emergency happening in the Netherlands. At the centre of the crisis is the situation at the Ter Apel refugee centre, the largest in the country, where all people arriving in the Netherlands must register with the authorities. In the summer, hundreds of people were forced to sleep outside on multiple occasions due to bureaucratic delays and overcrowding. The situation came to a head in August, when over 700 asylum-seekers had to camp outside the facility for over three weeks. The sanitation at the centre was condemned by a representative of the Dutch Red Cross, who said that people developed rashes, blisters and other conditions because of their exposure to the elements and the lack of access to showers. In August, a three-month-old died at the centre, but an investigation determined no criminal offence had taken place. The situation left many applicants in great mental distress, with some reporting suicidal thoughts.

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