Good news from this former prison

An artist group called United Painting in the Netherlands has transformed an empty prison into a colorful home for refugees.

Plunging crime rates in the country have left prisons empty, and many are closing down. But the government is now using some of these empty prisons to house refugees, a population that’s growing as more migrants arrive in the country seeking asylum.

Many of the refugees who are living in the restyled prisons stay for at least six months, and they’re free to come and go as they please.

An abandoned prison in the Netherlands has been repainted in colorful colors by artists ahead of refugees moving in
Photo courtesy of United Painting

According to National Geographic, many of the residents spend their time practicing their Dutch skills, learning to ride bikes, and building lasting friendships.

The project “aimed to transform this huge complex with six giant grey towers that have long been an eyesore in Amsterdam’s skyline,” United Painting writes on their website.

The group worked collaboratively with local artists to revamp the building into a welcoming, bright place for refugees to live.

United Painting artists painting a colorful Dutch prison to house refugees
Photo courtesy of United Painting
A version of this story originally ran in The Refugees Edition of the Goodnewspaper in July 2020. The Goodnewspaper is our monthly print newspaper filled with good news.
You can join thousands of subscribers who get access to more exclusive stories like these, our private community space, a free inspiring poster, and so much more. Become a subscriber today.


Best Refugee Organizations to Support in All 50 States

A catalogue of organizations that serve refugees in every state in the United States

Meet the Organization Helping Refugees Heal Through Storytelling

MeWe International first launched in the Zaatari refee camp in Jordan

5 Ways to Make a Difference for Refugees

How to support refugee artists, small business owners, LGBTQ+ refugees, and more...