Spotlight - Street art

Street art

Utrecht is brimming with fabulous street art. Some of the works of art would be hard to miss, while others are hidden away in the city’s narrow alleyways.

By Dieuwke de Boer

A gigantic mural on the corner of Croeselaan and Van Zijstweg is one of the latest additions to the growing collection of Utrecht street art. It’s possibly one of the most striking too. Munir de Vries drew inspiration for this work from the stories of local residents. Another artist inspired by what goes on around him is Rob Heerdink (also from Utrecht). He daubs his paint onto the side of his own house on Adelaarstraat, in the north of the city. His murals, which always reflect recent events, change regularly. For example, when Johan Cruijff died, a portrait of the football legend soon appeared on his wall. A picture of a crying Miffy – the world-famous bunny featuring in more than thirty children’s books – marked the death of Dick Bruna, the bunny’s creator. Further on, on the corner of Adelaarstraat and Nieuwe Keizersgracht, you’ll find an older mural: an optical illusion that gives the impression of a splendid, traditional balcony built onto the house.

But this list wouldn’t be complete without a few works of art inspired by the artistic movement De Stijl, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. An ode to the movement from the side of a block of flats towers above Kalymnosdreef in the Overvecht district: this enormous mural consists of slabs of the familiar red, white, yellow and blue. Another nod to De Stijl can be seen in the colourful painting of a cyclist on a wall on Joke Smitplein. This work of art commemorates the start of the Tour de France in Utrecht two years ago. You´ll find another souvenir from the Tour on the corner of Cartesiusweg and Thomas à Kempisweg: portraits of Joop Zoetemelk and Jan Janssen, the only two Dutchmen ever to have won the race.

Murals depicting the name of a street, district or specific spot are a common sight. No prizes for guessing what you’ll find in Otterstraat, for example! A bit further along, in Tweede Daalsedijk, you’ll see some old trains painted onto the walls in both Meidoornstraat and Goudsbloemstraat. These are a reference to the nearby train building factory, which built trains for the Dutch national railways from 1913 until 1972. Almost three-quarters of the people living in these streets worked in the factory.

We could go on and on: from a view of the Dom next to the Springweg garage and a small tiger on the corner of Plompetorengracht and Molenstraat, to a mosaic of Miffy in Jeruzalemstraat and gnome astride a goose in a side street of Gansstraat, just behind FREEM bikes & coffee. And if you look carefully, you’ll notice that the gnome – the typical Utrecht graffiti character ‘KBTR’ – features in paintings all around the city.

  • Hoek van de Croeselaan/Van Zijstweg
  • Adelaarstraat (2x)
  • Kalymnosdreef
  • Otterstraat
  • Tweede Daalsedijk
  • Achter de Springweg-garage
  • Jeruzalemstraat
  • Gansstraat
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