Night of the Dictatorships: Strong leaders or dictators 2.0


Political prisoners have become part of history in the Netherlands. But you can still find them elsewhere on our continent. Come and see the nearby struggles against authoritarianism reflected within the ancient walls of the Prison Gate Museum.

Seizing power for decades, throwing thousands in jail, controlling the internet, or labelling critics as foreign spies. You name it, they have done it. The strongmen of Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkey. They call upon historical glory, praise national armies and insult journalists. They reinvent democracy and invoke ‘traditional’ values to fit their goals. You know the story, it is getting repetitive.

The stories that matter are those that never get old. Stories of people speaking out despite threats. Stories of those who are prosecuted and harassed for defending human rights and standing up against injustice. Stories of civic courage from Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkey, told by local activists and Dutch artists. Get inspired by these stories that will always persevere. Experience, meet and get the chance to take action.

All tours are in English (Dutch handouts are available) and take about 45 minutes. They start at:

  • 20:45 hrs
  • 21:00 hrs
  • 22:00 hrs
  • 22:15 hrs


  • Tan Tunali, Dutch journalist and writer, Turkey correspondent for Trouw and De Groene Amsterdammer between 2013 and 2016;
  • Andrey Yurov, Russian human rights defender and philosopher, laureate of the Helsinki Civil Society Award.
  • Konstantin Baranov, Youth Human Rights Movement, Russia;
  • Merlijn Huntjens, Dutch poet, co-founder of the PANDA collective that combines poetry, performance and pseudo-psychology in productions about social relations;
  • and a political refugee from Kazakhstan.

This event is hosted by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee at the Prison Gate Museum in The Hague.