Statelessness, Anoek Steketee, Document Nederland

October 6 2017 to January 7 2018
Philips Wing

Commissioned by the Rijksmuseum, Anoek Steketee brings the theme 'Statelessness' into view for the 'Document Nederland photo exhibition'. She made portraits of 12 stateless persons of all ages. 'Document Nederland' consists of 36 photos on display in the Rijksmuseum from 6 October 2017 to 7 January 2018.


foto Tima, 5 weeks, statelessness, Amsterdam, Anoek Steketee, 2017 Stateless people have no official nationality, no passport and no rights. In a formal sense, they don't exist. This means that they cannot get an education, they are not allowed to work, they have no access to medical care, and they cannot travel, marry or open a bank account. Some people are born stateless, others become stateless during the course of their life. According to the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, there are at least 10 million stateless people worldwide today. More than a third of these people are children. There are an estimated 10,000 stateless people in the Netherlands.

Anoek Steketee: How do you document statelessness if what defines it is the people who have been removed from the system? People who, in an organized, bureaucratic society, have no rights and are completely invisible? People who officially don't exist? This subject made me aware of how having citizenship rights is taken for granted. Passing on your nationality to your newborn child is the greatest gift you can give them.

Anoek Steketee

Anoek Steketee (Hoorn, 1974) studied at the Koninklijke Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten (Royal Academy of Art, The Hague). She is known for her solo work including Front stage (2006), Dream City (2011) and the transmedial project Love Radio (2014) that she produced in collaboration with writers/filmmakers Eefje Blankevoort and Arnold van Bruggen. Her work has been shown at various festivals and museums in the Netherlands and abroad.

Document Nederland

Since 1975, the Rijksmuseum has organised the annual exhibition Document Nederland, for which a Dutch photographer is asked to focus on a topical societal issue. Previous photographers have included Hans Aarsman (1984), Dana Lixenberg (2011) and Carel van Hees (2016).

Document Nederland Junior

Document Nederland Junior is the accompanying photo competition for young people in secondary education. This year's theme is 'Are you part of the (school) system?' The ten nominees are featured on The Document Netherlands Junior photo series will be shown in the Rijksmuseum's education centre, the Teekenschool, from 6 October.

Statelessness, Anoek Steketee, Document Nederland is on display from 6 October 2017 to 7 January 2018 in the Philips Wing.

Document Nederland Junior is open from 6 October 2017 to 7 January 2018 in the Teekenschool.

The exhibition Document Nederland is made possible by the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR.


The exhibition coincides with the launch of the book State of Being, Documenting Statelessness (Paperback/124 pp./English edition/80 ills design: Kummer en Herman/nai010 publishers) and the issue of Studies in Photography about Document Nederland written by Rixt A. Bosma. (Hardcover/€ 22.95/56 pp./English edition/over 50 images/ISBN 978 94 91714 65 8).

There is also a special supplement about this edition of Document Nederland in Vrij Nederland magazine.