Rewriters – Fighting to Bring Street Art Back to Rotterdam

Through Rewriters010, Dave Vanderheijden and Daniel Claessens hope to restore Rotterdam’s street art to the former glory it enjoyed in the 90s. With that in mind, they’ve made walls available for artists, created a guided tour of the city’s street art and launched an app. Thanks to Dave & Daniel, the walls of Rotterdam are finally getting back their color!

There was a time when Rotterdam was a street artist’s paradise. In the 1990s, illegal graffiti flooded the city’s streets, buses and trams. Things changed significantly when the city council instigated a major clean-up campaign leading to much stricter penalties for this form of expression. Though Rotterdam artists such as Lastplak, Daan Botlek, Eelco, TelmoMiel and Ready2Rumbl have received international recognition, the city did not allow them space to work. In spite of it all, artists are taking back the streets of Rotterdam with the help of Daniel Claessens and Dave Vanderheijden, creator of online hip-hop magazine Hiphop In Je Smoel. In an effort to rehabilitate the art form, Dave and Daniel launched the Rewriters app; they also help artists reclaim spaces in Rotterdam and offer guided tours, putting the Rotterdam street art renaissance on display through their organization Rewriters010.

The App

The tour offered through the app begins at the central station in Rotterdam and extends over 4 ½ miles of the city. Twelve murals were created especially for the project, providing an opportunity for street artists to display their work legally on city walls. Each artist’s mural is representative of his or her unique style, which makes for quite an eclectic tour. The Rewriters app also provides information about former pieces that have been removed from the walls of Rotterdam, so you are able to see a panorama of Rotterdam’s street art through time by consulting the archives in the app, along with new work being added all the time.

What’s next?

Hoping to cover as much street art in Rotterdam as possible, Dave & Daniel plan to add more tours which will include the neighborhoods of Delfshaven, Feijenoord and Charlois. Thanks to their efforts, local authorities have also begun to change their minds about street art and many walls in and around the city have been legalized for use by street artists. Here’s to Rotterdam restoring its reputation as street artist paradise!

Download the app here: IOS, Android
Bonus: The app is available offline
Languages: English and Dutch
Price: $0.99

Discover more alternative and cultural spots in Rotterdam with our city guide Indie Guides Rotterdam.

Article translated by Andrea Perdue