NANSEN Magazine aims to connect and celebrate migrants of all kinds.

We do this by getting to know one migrant per issue, honing in on the minutiae of lives lived away from home – moments all migrants can relate to, and many non-migrants will, too.

For us all, the word “migrant” conjures up a particular image. We want to expand the way each of us see migrants and the way we, as migrants, see ourselves.

With 244 million migrants roaming the planet right now, we don’t think we’re ever going to run out of stories.

A map of AYDIN AKIN's migration route from Issue 01

A map of AYDIN AKIN's migration route from Issue 01

THE MOST STRIKING THING we learned while making this magazine is that just three percent of the world’s population are migrants, the very same proportion as in the 1960s.

THE LAST HALF-CENTURY has brought increased international travel and global connectivity via the internet, and yet the proportion of the world’s population living outside their country of birth hasn’t changed.

A LOT OF PEOPLE use the word “unprecedented” when they talk about migration today. We prefer the word “human” — after all, getting up and moving somewhere else is something humans have been doing since forever ago.

WE WERE ALL MIGRANTS ONCE, walking out of Africa and slowly populating the globe over thousands of generations. Today the same journey might take just a matter of hours by plane, with the physical struggle of walking to another continent replaced by the psychological and bureacratic demands of borders and visa regulations.

MIGRANTS ARE, and always have been, explorers, entrepreneurs, visionaries, thrill-seekers and dreamers. Whether we move by choice, chance or force, we all have stories to tell.

MIGRANTS BRING NEW SNACKS, learn languages, become famous movie stars and run the United Nations. No big deal. Some of us have more ordinary experiences, like trying to find the words for “laundry powder” in a new language or struggling to figure out the public transport ticket machines in our new home. At NANSEN Magazine we believe those experiences are worth celebrating, too. They mean someone’s dared to step out and take a chance on a new life.

SOME OF US CALL OURSELVES "REFUGEES", while others prefer “expats”, “newcomers”, or the very fancy “émigré”. Actually, that’s what we wanted to call this magazine, but someone beat us to it. 


Our magazine is named after Fridtjof Nansen, the Norwegian explorer and humanitarian who orchestrated mass relief for various groups of refugees following World War One. We’re inspired by his spirit of adventure and his big thinking on migration.


NANSEN Magazine is published and edited by Vanessa Ellingham with design and art direction by Eva Gonçalves.

This website was produced by Mimosa Agency.

What people are saying about NANSEN Magazine

NANSEN was shortlisted for the 2017 Launch of the Year award at Stack Magazines. They said, "it’s a completely original, nuanced, and personal take on the sweeping issue of migration, filled with lively, playful designs to create an utterly engaging reading experience."

"In Berlin, a magazine gives voice to the world's 244 million migrants." — Libération (French)

"NANSEN Magazine spotlights one migrant per issue, offering a much needed individual perspective on Europe’s refugee crisis." — Huck Magazine

"While the term ‘migrant’ is often loaded, and used to stoke political fires, NANSEN highlights how broad the term is." — Aerostorie

"The first issue of Nansen leaves us only wanting for more." — Cee Cee Berlin

What this reader learned from NANSEN Issue 01 — Twitter thread

NANSEN Magazine Issue 01 has also been covered by fluter and Elsewhere Journal (Germany), Les Inrocks and Partage Social Club (France) and HEAPS Magazine (Japan).