Antwerp to Open Red Star Line Shipping Museum in 2013
The historic port city of Antwerp will open the Red Star Line Museum on Sept. 27, 2013, in the historic warehouses of the Red Star Line shipping company.? The museum tells the story of the shipping company, its origins, its growth and its demise.
From 1870 onwards, huge numbers of Europeans started to migrate to North America. There was still a large amount of agricultural land available and the industry was begging for labor. Others wished to leave out of fear of political or religious persecution. The abolition of the emigration restrictions and the new, faster steam ships only underscored the American Dream. Many of those voyages started in Antwerp.
Between 1873 and 1934, there was an ebb and flow in Antwerp’s Eilandje District of migrants, tourists, adventurers and fortune-seekers from all over Europe -- more than 2 million in all. They boarded the Red Star Line’s ocean steamers at the Rijnkaai. The migrants were mainly Eastern Europeans, and sometimes also Germans and Belgians. Two Red Star ships sailed every week, carrying 1,000 to 1,500 passengers. These were migrants for the most part, but soon the first wealthy tourists also started using the shipping company.