The island of all together

An inspiring documentary that brings tourists and refugees together on Lesbos

This week is Refugee Focus Week at Pakhuis de Zwijger, Amsterdam. Every day, we are publishing articles that highlight different migration focused initiatives that fall in line with the evening in-house programs that also focus on this theme.


Filmmakers Philip Brink and Marieke van der Velden made the documentary ‘The island of all together‘, where multiple dialogues between refugees and tourists are captured on the island of Lesbos. The two worlds seem unlikely to meet; tourists enjoy their holiday and relax on the beach, while refugees just fought for their lives, fleeing their homes on rubber boats.

How can these worlds be brought together? The filmmakers invited tourists and refugees to talk to each other. This has resulted in inspiring and touching dialogues. All the refugees who appeared in the documentary are now either in Austria or Germany, waiting for permanent visas.

The island Lesbos

Originally, the Greek island has mainly been a tourist hotspot. However, since the Syrian war started, the island has taken on a second role. Many refugees are stranded on the Greek island after crossing the sea under inhumane circumstances. These refugees ended up on Lesbos not by choice but by necessity. At the other side of the island, tourists celebrate their holidays. The documentary portrays in a very original way the coming together of these two different groups. 

© Marieke van der VeldenParticipate!

The documentary makers encourage others to share this documentary and to trigger the dialogue on refugees. On their website you can download the same question cards as the people in the documentary use. Opening up the conversation about refugees may lead to changing the status quo.

The documentary has won a silver camera for its renewing fotojournalism.

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