Marx as a Migrant – A digital narrative

Karl Marx lived a long life as a migrant. Fleeing from the Prussian state, censorship and possible arrest, important stops on his journey were Paris, Brussels and London. These cities shaped his political activities, his engagement with political fellow-travellers, as well as his intellectual development and thus his entire work.

At the click of a mouse, you can follow Marx as a migrant from city to city. You can not only immerse yourself in his time, but also discover that even today, traces of his life and work continue to be seen in Paris, Brussels and London.

Each station takes about 45 minutes.


Marx as a Migrant

  • Brussels
  • "Reckoning" with the "philosophical conscience"

Brussels, September 2017, Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert in the city centre.

One of the most beautiful shopping arcades in Europe. Each year, more than six million visitors stroll past the shops of jewellers and chocolatiers, traditional glove- and hat makers, visit the cafés, restaurants, theatres. “Omnibus omnia” (Everything for everyone) stands as the motto above the entrance.

When Marx comes to Brussels in 1845, this is a densely built and poorly lit district of destitute people. Barely anyone from the bourgeoisie dares venture into the area. The galleries are meant to change that. The old residents are ousted and displaced, most of their houses are demolished, some die. Construction begins in 1846, in 1847 King Leopold I opens the arcade, which attracts luxury starts from the start.

The building and its historical background cause a stir. Marx must have heard about it. What did he think? How do people in the Galeries Saint-Hubert think about him today?