Location // Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Length of stay // Long weekend
Travel companions // Carolina and Leslie
Purpose of trip // Girly weekend getaway
If you’ve ever traveled with me, I’ve probably at some point dragged you through some “dodgy” areas in an attempt to track down the city’s street art.
(Consider than an advance warning in case you ever consider it!)
Sometimes I do a bit of research before I go, but other times that takes the fun out of it.
If I’m on my own, I normally ask around or just explore.
I could get distracted for days on end if not one stopped me.
It’s like treasure hunting.
Without the fancy map.
Sometimes you just turn a corner and when you least expect it, there’s an amazing piece of art waiting for you on the other side.
Other times it’s less impressive, but it adds character to a city when it’s done well and respectfully.
And each trip back to a city is difference since the walls are always being painted over by different artists.
I’m pretty well versed in London’s street art scene which is constantly evolving and lies mostly in the East End.
I’ve met and interviewed many of the most prolific artists who have left their mark in London and a few who are just making a name for themselves.
The street art scene of Amsterdam is much less familiar to me.
On my fourth visit to the city of canals, queuing to see the Anne Frank House again wasn’t at the top of my to do list, so while Carolina and Leslie lined up, I snuck away and walked the canal lined streets of Jordaan.
It’s an area where Rembrandt spent the last years of his life, on the Rozengracht canal.
It’s an artsy area, now home to some of the best galleries in the city, an area that’s been reinvigorated with new life, retail, cafes and restaurants.
It also has a considerable number of painted walls.
Luckily I managed to stumble upon quite a few of them in the few hours I walked.
The photos throughout this entry are partly from this area of the city, though some others I took at random are mixed in.
Stickers seemed to be everywhere but I didn’t photograph too many of them.
I was surprised by the variety of stencils and painted pieces I found on my short walk.
If I had done my research in advance, I would have had a better idea of where to go.
There’s also some soccer themed art around by graffiti collective Kamp Seedorf and city’s ‘guerilla poet’, Laser 3.14 who scrawls one-liners around the city. And I missed this amazing Alice Pasquini piece – an artist from Rome and another one of my favourites. And another Alice piece. Ugh. This Shoe +Adele Renault piece is great too.
I was pleased to find this Otto Schade piece (below), even though it’s been tagged over. He has some excellent work in London.
The NDSM precinct is also on my list for the next trip with a free ferry ride over.
I’d definitely love some comments on other places to check out on my next visit from anyone who knows the city well.
I’d also love to interview any of the artist on the Amsterdam street art scene, so if you’re reading this and are connected, please put me in touch if they’re interested (firstname.lastname@example.org)!
I hear there are some experts who hang out at the small shop Henxs Henxs near the Waterlooplein if that’s still up to date information.
One of my favorites, French artist C215, as put up quite a lot of work in Amsterdam.
I’m not sure how many still exist.
But I found one at least (below)!
Although it was tagged and stickered over so that was a bit annoying.
I actually found a second C215 piece but I couldn’t photograph it because it was outside of a restaurant with people eating directly in front of it.
And I was super excited to find this piece (below), a collaboration by my two favorite Colombian artists – Bastardilla and Stinkfish.
It was created back in May 2012, so a full year ago and it’s still in great shape and untouched.
Maybe I just stumbled into the right area, but I was pleased with how much street art I managed to find.
Every time I go back to Amsterdam, I feel like I could live there quite easily.
It’s vibrant, colourful.
The canals are relaxing and there’s quite a bit of green space.
It’s bike friendly.
It has a neighborhood feel to it which is nice to have in a city.
And every time I return, there seems to be so much more to explore! More photos and stories from Amsterdam on the blog soon.