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The Definitive Guide to Rotterdam Urban Art

Updated: Aug 27, 2019

I hit the streets with Lise Populiers in search for the best places across the city to spot thought-provoking art in plain view.

‘I’m Lise, I’m a second-year student at EUC, majoring in psychology. I’ve always lived close to Rotterdam. I love exploring the city, and I constantly stumble upon new places to visit (and new art to see). During one of many walks, I came across some urban art and took a picture of it. Over the course of a year, I have photographed over 80 pieces of street art from all over Rotterdam. What I love about street art is its subtlety in brightening up the city.’

‘These pictures were taken in Blijdorp. This neighbourhood is full of street art! At the risk of sounding like a tour guide, there’s also an old tram around here which has been transformed into a restaurant called Gare du Nord; it’s 100% organic, biological and sustainable! Also, make sure to swing by “Man met Bril Koffie” while you’re there for a nice cup of coffee, I really recommend it!'

'This picture was taken in Delfshaven. The work shown here reminds me a lot of Keith Haring, who started out making chalk drawings in subway stations. There’s another piece done in Haring-style somewhere along the Witte de With; it has a staircase attached to it, so you can be part of the work yourself! It’s the perfect place to get yourself a cool Instagram pic!'

'These pictures were taken on the Grotekerkplein in front of the Laurenskerk. During the summer, many fun free activities are hosted here, including meditation sessions and various kinds of sports! I really like the work depicting the boy, it reminds me of Banksy. He’s one of the world’s best-known street artists, although nobody’s quite sure what his real identity is. He’s been known to do some wild things, such as smuggling his work into some of New York’s biggest museums – including the MoMa and the Met – and shredding his own works at an auction.'

'I don’t quite remember where I took these pictures. The first one is a remake of Gustav Klimt’s famous painting “The Kiss”, which gained popularity during the flower power-era. You may have noticed that the work shown on the second picture was done by one of the artists we saw in Blijdorp earlier.'

'These works are both located in the city centre. The work of art on top is located close to Central Station. There’s so much public art around there! There’s also a really cool yellow wooden bridge, called the “luchtsingel”, connecting the city centre with Rotterdam Noord, which you can walk across.'

'These two works are located close to EUC. Both were done by the same artist, Ox Alien, who was commissioned by the city of Rotterdam to colourfully restore run-down old buildings. If you pay close attention, you’ll be able to spot many more of his works all around town!

I could go on forever talking about street art. One final tip for those too lazy to travel across the city just to see some art: recently, various artists have started decorating the pillars separating the subway tracks between the Rijnhaven and Maashaven stops. Every pillar has been decorated by a different artist, so, in just a short period of time, you can marvel at lots of different works!

Go out, have fun, and meet new people! Fall in love with a smile, not with a smiley!'

Pictures courtesy of Lise Populiers

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