Rewriters Rotterdam: Street Art Route

by - 3:00 PM

Hello. My name is Envy. And I'm an addict. I'm addicted to street art I need it in my life. First I went to Slovenia, where I did a street art tour in Ljubljana. Then I did one in Utrecht. But I needed more. So I searched the internet. I searched, searched, searched and found a glorious map of Rotterdam with a perfect street art route all set out for me. I think I may have cried some happy tears upon finding it.
The map was made by Rewriters Rotterdam, a local street art organization who also organize guided tours - if you're with a group. I've said it before, me and my camera don't count as a group... So I printed their map, charged my camera and planned a day out in the city.

I went to Rotterdam on a scorchingly hot Friday in May. Because I'm widely known for my ability to get lost in my own house, I dragged my dad along. It was easy to convince him to come with me. It was not so easy to keep him from calling me 'tour guide' in a very weird accent. Neither was it easy to convince him to start the route at the actual start instead of at a subway station in the middle of the route. But with being tour guide comes a little bit of power, so we started the route where we were supposed to start: at Rotterdam Central Station.

We started walking and my lack of mapreading skills became painfully obvious before we'd even found the first piece on the map. The map wasn't always as clear as I wanted it to be, mainly because not all street names were on it. If you're unfamiliar with the city I'd advise you to keep a regular tourist map next to the street art map so you can find your way a bit easier. Now if I'd done that and my dad hadn't been there, I still would've been lost before seeing any street art at all. That's how hopeless I am with maps. Within ten minutes my dad had taken over the role of tour guide, which I didn't mind at all.

First we followed the streets along the train tracks for a while. That's where we saw the first pieces. My dad thought I knew things about the artists who'd made them, but this was actually my first time I heard of most of them. I made sure to tell him all I knew about Ox-Alien and KBTR though, since I kind of wanted my honorary title of tour guide back.

After the area around Central Station we quickly dipped into the northern part of Rotterdam, a place I hadn't been to in years. This is were we saw the first pieces that weren't on the map and also an enormous wall that looks like the kind of thing fashion bloggers would drool over as it makes a gorgeous background.

De luchtsingel brought us back to the city centre. It's a gigantic wooden structure that connects the north to the centre and up until I found the Rewriters map I'd never even heard of it. It's one of the things I like about the map: it doesn't just lead you to the best street art in town, you also get to see almost all the major Rotterdam landmarks along the way.

My dad wasn't much of a fan of seeing all those things as well though, especially because there was a bit of tour that had no street art and just led through some cool streets. He wanted to go straight to the art, which was also why he didn't want to start at Central Station. I wanted to stick to the route though and I'm glad we did. I saw some great places and streets I'd never seen before.

As we got close to the river I finally got to see a piece I'd walked past with my ex-boyfriend at least five times. For a moment I got frustrated with myself because I saw it every one of those five times and never took the time to look at it. I really should have, because it shows the iconic landmarks of Rotterdam, it's enormous and simply awesome. It was one of my favorites along the route by my favorite group of artists from this city.

Of course you can't like every single one of the pieces you see on a route with over 30 pieces of art. At this point of the route, about halfway, I decided to take pictures of just the murals I liked. And I was also getting a little tired. My feet were starting to hurt because I hadn't been smart enough to put on some good shoes instead of half-dead sneakers older than time itself. I should've kept in mind that the route is seven kilometers long. Yes, seven. So don't think you can do it in an hour, you need to take your time. You need that time. First of all you need to actively search for some of the murals. Second, you'll see many more pieces of street art that aren't on the map if you take your time to search. In my opinion, that's how it should be. Part of the thrill of street art is putting the effort in to find the best pieces. Even though I'm technically cheating by using a map, I still had that thrill whenever I knew I was getting close to a piece without having any idea of its actual location.

My dad and I had started walking through the Everyone here thought we were lost tourists, which was pretty funny. Usually I'm the one who helps out lost tourists.
From this point on we went through a few streets I never would have entered if I hadn't been walking the route. Not all of them were, how shall I put this, hygienic. I may have stepped in some things I didn't want to step in while trying to take some good pictures. What can I say? It's all part of urban exploring.

My dad and I walked on, taking breaks every now and then because it was so freaking hot that day. We'd seen almost each and every one of the pieces marked on the map when we reached the Westkruiskade and started noticing all these cute little places where we could go for lunch. I don't know if this was intentional, but the last art piece on the map is so close to so many little restaurants that it's a perfect place to end your route and go for lunch, like my dad and I did. We had hamburgers at a very Instagrammable place. The food was too awesome to wait any longer than necessary, so I resorted to taking pictures of the restaurant instead of the food. It was a perfect end to a perfect morning.

At the end of the day I could only say one bad thing about the map that had led me all through the city: This map doesn't get updated. And since street art doesn't stick around for all eternity, you might find yourself looking for a piece that's no longer there. My dad and I found all pieces except for two, but made up for that by finding the latest Rewriters wall that was made just a week before we walked the route. If you don't want to face that struggle you can download the Rewriters app with all of their routes. This one does get updated all the time and you can even see pieces that have disappeared on it, but since my phone can't even handle Whatsapp anymore I was not able to check the app out for myself.

If you're in Rotterdam and you like street art even a little bit, you have to walk this route. No questions asked. Just go!

x Envy

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6 Fellow Ramblers

  1. That first mural might be my favorite -- it's always such a lovely surprise to see incredibly bright colors splashed against city walls. I wonder if Chicago has tours like this! I know I'd enjoy taking them. What a fun activity to do with your dad!


    1. The first one was made just a week before I did the tour. I was so happy to see it. Your comment also made me realize I didn't put my personal favorites in the post, hahaha. Oops...
      It'd be awesome if Chicago had a tour. Maybe there's a site that marks the best murals. I know more and more cities are getting one of those so you can discover street art by yourself

  2. these are gorgeous wow. I love all your street art posts <3

    1. I'm so glad you like them! There'll be more coming up when I come back from my vacation :D

  3. I can totally understand why you have an addiction! Great post-and I love the photos, very effective. I'd love to visit one day.


    1. I hope you come over some time in the near distant future! I'll show you all the best sites :)


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