A couple of Dutch cities lead the way in street art, and Rotterdam is one of them. A street art tour takes you along the highlights of the city, as well as some nice lesser known neighbourhoods and hotspots while spotting some excellent murals. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Join me on my street art tour in Rotterdam.
I feel like The Netherlands are a bit late in discovering the power of street art. Countries like Belgium Portugal and the US have known for ages, or so it seems, that street art is something more than just graffiti or spray-canned works. Street art can brighten up otherwise dreary neighbourhoods, address local social problems or highlight nature or traditions so typical for the area. But we are slowly catching up.
Over the last few years, famous foreign artists have left their mark on Dutch streets, but The Netherlands have also produced some now famous names. Heerlen, Goes and Breda have hosted street art festivals. And Rotterdam is also an excellent city to spot street art.
Join a street art tour in Rotterdam
On weekends there is a street art tour that you can join. It starts at noon at Rotterdam Central Station and takes about three hours. If you’d rather discover the city at your own pace, I highly recommend downloading the Rewriters app. It’s in Dutch, which may make things a bit tricky, but at least you can see where all the murals are. If you follow this route, you will catch multiple birds with one stone: whilst spotting over 40 pieces of street art, the route will guide you along the cities’ highlights, lesser known neighbourhoods and some excellent spots for a drink or bite to eat.
Street art around Hofbogen
A short stroll will take you from Rotterdam central station to Hofbogen, near Rotterdam Hofplein station, where the first collection of street art can be admired. First of all, there’s the three-dimensional work of Rotterdam born Ozon who chose a failed piece of ceramics as a subject for his work. After having coffee at Hofbogen (Lokaal is pretty good) walk cross the train tracks using the ‘Luchtsingel’ while looking back at the hip hop inspired mural by Opperclaes XL.
Getting to know Rotterdam through street art
Street art can also teach you quite a bit about the place you’re visiting. Two murals that can teach you a little about Rotterdam are near the Maritime Museum. Artist collective Lastplak created a giant, colourful and cartoon like mural, and it’s pretty easy to make out typical Rotterdam icons like Euromast, the cubic houses, Erasmus bridge (which has been nicknamed The Swan) and Rotterdam harbour.
Around the corner, the Leuvenhaven quay offers some excellent views of impressive ships, shipyards and bridges and it’s also the place where Vinz and Doppies’ Monster of Rotterdam lives on the side of a boat.
Black and white Bier & Brood
I often find black and white street art even more powerful than the brightly coloured works (I am a huge fan of ROA) and Rotterdam based Bier & Brood collective has definitely put its mark on the Rotterdam street art scene with its highly detailed, large black and white works. On Baan Bier & Brood covered an entire building, named ‘The last research’, referring to the old days when the building was used by an organisation testing food products.
Near Witte de With (where you have excellent lunch and drinks options), Bier & Brood are the artists behind the mural Metamorphis, which was inspired by the movie A clockwork orange in which villain Alex turns into a model citizen. The work depicts Rotterdam morphing from a city with challenging neighbourhoods to a must-visit destination.
A proposal by MeLikePainting
If you follow me on Instagram (come say hi if you like) you have probably seen this guy all over my feed. Simply, because I like his work so much. MeLikePainting is Tymon Ferenc de Laat, a well-known Rotterdam artist, whose work is inspired by his travel through South America, as you can see from his portraits Horizonte and Mr. Merida.
Fun fact: Tymon used his work ‘Love Birds’ which he made together with Robert Rost, to propose to his girlfriend. And I am happy to report (as I basically couldn’t help myself and asked Tymon on Instagram) that her answer was YES!
Planning a trip to Rotterdam
- Trains run regularly from to Rotterdam from Amsterdam, and even from Antwerp, Brussels and Paris. Check tariffs and timetables here.
- Rotterdam is a rather widespread city, so you’ll probably want to use the tram and metro to get around. Buy and charge an OV Chip Card to use public transport.
- Looking for a nice hotel in Rotterdam? I can highly recommend the Citizen M, centrally located near Blaak. You can read about Blaak in my article about 3 bustling Rotterdam neighbourhoods.
- I’ve also written an article about Rotterdam for art lovers.
- Check out all must-sees and hidden gems in my city guide Rotterdam.
What’s your favourite city to spot street art?