HYDERABAD: A direct Jet Airways flight from Bengaluru to Amsterdam is a great incentive to fly to Holland in a jiffy! The Tulips season in Holland coincides with a long summer vacation (for schools) in India. When good things come in pairs I feel one should grab the opportunity at such times.By the way, Rotterdam is not far from Amsterdam – hardly 21 minutes by train, 38 minutes if you drive and 1 hour 20 minutes if you take the bus – the choice is yours.
Rotterdam has the largest port in Europe, and as such, the city forms a vibrant gateway to Europe. But it’s not just the harbour that breathes life into a city nearly destroyed in WWII; amongst the city’s many attractions, its street art is much loved by many, adding new colour to its rich history. Out to highlight this part of Rotterdam’s culture is Rewriters010, a project dedicated to eradicating boring walls by providing local artists to unleash all their creativity onto them. Street art is something more than just graffiti or spray-canned works. It can brighten up otherwise dreary neighbourhoods, address local social problems or highlight nature or traditions so typical for the area.
I was much impressed by Rotterdam’s street art: the city has an enormous amount of wall murals, which can be seen in Rewriter010’s walking route.Daniel guided us through the walk, showing interesting murals on the way.The route of Rewriters 010 is a combination of old and new artwork. While their works wildly differ in style, the common denominator is that almost all artists are based in Rotterdam, and as their work shows, are well aware of their surroundings.
If you want to be on your own, at your own pace, you can download the Rewriters App but it is in Dutch. As you spot over 40 pieces of street art, the route will guide you along the cities’ highlights, lesser-known neighbourhoods and some excellent places for food and drinks.
I found some murals especially appealing some of which are in black and white and more expressive than the brightly coloured works. One such is Rotterdam-based ‘Bier & Brood’, a highly-detailed, large black and white work that covered an entire building, named ‘the last research’, referring to the old days when the building was used by an organisation testing food products.
Tymon Ferenc de Laat, a well-known Rotterdam artist, used his work ‘Love Birds’ to propose to his girlfriend Sam. Daniel said it is the exact spot where he proposed: of course, Sam accepted and it is three years since they are happily married. I found the whole thing so cute and touching!
Rotterdam’s “Make it Happen” series has an interactive wall piece that would invite people to actively become part of the artwork to create their own image for a photo: it is popular with many tourists.
I climbed onto the wall, briefly became part of the art, and proudly posed for pictures while passers by looked on appreciatively.
(The author is a documentary filmmaker and travel writer; she blogs at vijayaprataptravelandbeyond.com)