Why give a tour as a gift?

What do you give to people who already have everything? A special museum experience and beautiful memories!

We, the tour guides of the Amsterdam Museumplein, show people of all ages and backgrounds around daily – an audience as diverse as Dutch society. We know the intriguing stories behind artworks and have a lot of experience in engaging people with objects. The We See Stars tour guides will make your tour a fun and unforgettable experience. Moreover, your contribution ensures that refugee children on Lesbos have the opportunity to shine during an art or music workshop.

 

Who are the people behind We See Stars?

We are professional tour guides and museum teachers who work for the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Tropenmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam Museum and the Frans Hals Museum, among others. The group is very diverse; among us are art historians, historians, artists and anthropologists. What unites us is a passion for art and cultural education. We See Stars is our pro bono commitment to the Mosaik Centre.

 

Where exactly is my money going?

Mosaik Center on Lesbos offers a warm, safe place for the most vulnerable people in refugee camps on Lesbos. Solidarity, equality and self-reliance are key words for Mosaik, that provides sustainable help to refugees who want to rebuild their lives. The centre offers English and Greek language courses to 630 refugees from 20 countries. Legal assistance is also provided for filling in asylum applications. Refugees themselves give language classes in Arabic and Farsi to NGO staff. There are also art and music workshops, dance classes, child care, yoga and cultural events, often supported by artists, activists and organisations from all over the world. Mosaik has been working on Lesbos since 2016 and has provided classes for more than 4,000 people.

We are obliged to pay 6% VAT (9% in 2019) on the guided tours and € 0.49 per ticket goes to the ticket service. Because we want to ensure a safe and reliable payment environment. Since everyone who participates in We See Stars does so as a volunteer, all income from the action goes to the Mosaik Center.

Do you want to give more? Thank you! Just go to Mosaik and click on ‘donate now’ in the top right corner.

 

Why Mosaik?

Mosaik was founded by residents of Lesbos. Mosaik wants to be emphatically united, equal and open. The centre is in the centre of the capital and is open to everyone, including local residents. Here’s more information about Mosaik. 

 

How can art help?

The tour guides who work for the major museums in Amsterdam see hundreds of children a week. Therefore they know the effect of art and cultural education. Children can forget their worries in a stimulating and creative environment. By making and discussing art together, we grow closer together and feel more connected. This increases the feeling of belonging to a group, which is very important for refugee children who have been uprooted from their social environment. Various scientific studies show that art works therapeutically, and can help to process trauma.

That is why we – the tour guides of the Museumplein – are 100% behind this action to offer art workshops for children on Lesbos. And that is why we are working pro bono for Mosaik in January.

 

Don’t they need food, more so than art?

There is indeed a shortage of food. Many refugees queue up for days for water and food, which often is mouldy as well. Here you can read more.

But… we believe that children should always be able to play and have fun, even in terrible circumstances. Mosaik’s art workshops offer children important distractions – a moment without ‘adult’ worries about war, food and medicine. Mosaik also offers legal assistance and language lessons for all ages. Mosaik Centre on Lesbos is in great need of materials for the art workshops. Don’t want to take a guided tour or give one as a present? You can also donate directly. Go to Mosaik and click on ‘donate now’ at the top right.

Don’t they need medical help?

Yes, there is a great need for medical help. In the refugee camps there is a desperate shortage of food and medicine. Many people don’t have access to their daily medication for diabetes, for example. Here you can find more information.

But… we believe that children should always be able to play and have fun, even in terrible circumstances. Mosaik’s art workshops offer children important distractions – a moment without ‘adult’ worries about war, food and medicine. Mosaik also offers legal assistance and language lessons for all ages. Mosaik Centre on Lesbos is in great need of materials for the art workshops. Don’t want to take a guided tour or give one as a present? You can also donate directly. Go to Mosaik and click on ‘donate now’ at the top right.

 

I don’t like art. What to do?

Every day we meet visitors who say: ‘I don’t like art’. And every day, at the end of our tours, we hear: ‘I liked it so much. Now that I know the stories behind the works, they have come to life!’. So let yourself be amazed! You won’t be the first one to be happily surprised by a guided tour. You can also make someone else happy with your ticket, or support this action in another way.

 

I just want to donate money. Is that possible?

Sure! Just go to Mosaik and click on ‘donate now’ in the top right corner.

 

Where can I go with a question about my ticket or payment?

Can’t you find your online ticket? Did something go wrong with the payment? Go to Entranz 

 

I received a ticket as a gift, but I can’t make it at the stated date/time. What to do?

That’s a real pity. Unfortunately you can’t exchange the tickets, because We See Stars is a pro bono initiative of a group of professional freelance tour guides. So we don’t have an office. Maybe you can make someone else happy with a feel-good gift? You can also put your ticket up on www.ticketswap.nl or via social media.

 

I would like to ask something else. How do I contact you?

Is your question not listed here? Then please complete the contact form. We will do our best to answer your question as soon as possible. Given that We See Stars is a pro bono initiative, we do not have a professional customer service. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

 

What is the situation on Lesbos now?

The living conditions in refugee camps on Lesbos are very bad, especially for children. At the moment there are about 19,000 refugees trapped on the Greek islands. According to the ‘EU-Turkey refugee agreement’ that was signed in 2016, they will have to go through a Greek asylum procedure or they will be sent back to Turkey. Because this system does not work, they are stuck in Greek refugee camps for months or even years in terrible conditions.

Camp Moria on Lesbos was founded in 2016 and can accommodate 2,500 people. There are now 9,000 people, including 2,000 children. These children fled with their parents from exploitation, abuse and rape in countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. After a dangerous, frightening journey they arrived in a camp where there are not enough places to sleep – neither blankets, nor tents. It is cold and the hygienic conditions are disastrous (1 toilet for 70 people, 1 shower for 80 people). People have to sleep under tarps on the ground, pregnant women and young children included. They queue up to 12 hours a day for food. There is little to eat and if there is food, it is often mouldy. Moreover, there is a shortage of medication. This causes infectious diseases to break out; people suffer from diarrhea and skin infections.

These conditions and the hopelessness of the situation come on top of the war traumas that many refugees have. According to humanitarian organisations, this leads to an overwhelming number of people with serious psychological problems, such as panic attacks, psychosis and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Knife attacks, rapes and suicide attempts (even among children) occur daily. Organisations such as Doctors Without Borders call these conditions degrading, shameful and dangerous and describe the situation in the camps as a mental health crisis. They speak of a humanitarian disaster area. Desperate parents can no longer take good care of their children, who are consequently traumatised. Hopeless and deprived of education and work, residents sink into depression. According to Doctors Without Borders, these people are being penalised and kept in inhumane conditions, while they have the right to seek asylum in Europe.

Read more:

NY Times 

NOS

Trouw

Trouw – opinion

 

How do I book a VIP ticket?

We are working on it… Keep an eye on our website!