Kolonie 7

Kolonie 7

by Pauline Fonsny


Once upon a time, almost 200 years ago, on land then belonging to the Netherlands, there was a place where the poorest of the poor were locked up and put to forced labor. This place, located in Merksplas, a municipality in the province of Antwerp, was called “Kolonie 7” and billed as an “agricultural colony for recalcitrant vagrants”. From dusty maps to the occupied land that has since become Belgian, stories whisper. They tell a thousand buried stories of a past that will not go away. For today, although the vagabonds are no longer there, other undesirables from further afield occupy the place…


Pauline Fonsny trained as a philosopher and editor in Brussels. In 2019, she will direct her first film, the short “À l’usage des vivants”, followed in 2021 by a radio documentary “À leurs corps défendants”. She is now working on a feature film, « Kolonie 7 ». Her work focuses on the structural racism of Belgian and European policies, and more specifically on the history of detentions and expulsions of foreigners in the country where she lives.