If you love street art and graffiti, then you’ll find yourself in ‘heaven’ when you walk through the urban streets of Amsterdam, Netherlands. You can find a creative range of these unique works that come in all shapes and sizes. The capital has remained an important hub for artists since the 1970s. Throughout the decades, their visually striking works of art have become part of the urban landscape. While some of these are illegal, there are others that have been commissioned. It is recommended that you join a guided tour to get acquainted with the city’s diverse street art. If free exploration is more of your preference, have a look at our guide on exploring street art in Amsterdam below. Get your camera and Instagram hashtags ready!
Wander through the Voetboogsteeg alley and you might come across a large mural of an Iranian woman who is heavily clad in a burka. Upon closer inspection, you might find that the theme is a cry for justice in the artist’s homeland of Iran. The mural essentially paints the harsh reality of the chaos that the Iranian people face every day - and all they can do is stare in helplessness.
Address: 1012 XM Amsterdam, Netherlands
2. Kalverstraat 92
Kalverstraat 92 is home to the Amsterdam Museum, where you will be able to learn the full history of the city of Amsterdam. Though you’ll find many paintings and exhibis that chronicles the city’s development, you might also find some decade old street graffiti on display.
Address: 1012 PH Amsterdam
This long street that connects the Hekelveld square to the Spui square in the center of Amsterdam is almost fully covered in street art. From interesting cartoon-looking murals to thought-provoking art, you will definitely be snapping away and posting those colorful photos up on your Instagram account. Do look out for the De Slang, a famous snake painting that covers a building from head to toe.
Address: Runs parallel to Nieuwezijds-Voorburgwal street
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Hop on the free ferry to Noord, a quaint and thriving hub that is full of activity and culture. The place is often described as a village within the cosmopolitan city of Amsterdam. Once you’re here, head for the NDSM Wharf to see a giant mural of Anne Frank, who was arguably the most famous and iconic symbol of World War 2. If you have time, do also take a trip to an abandoned gas station called De Tanker to see some cool graffiti art on old tanker crates.
Address: North Holland
Prinsengracht is one of the three canals that run through Amsterdam; the other two are the Herengracht and Keizersgracht. Wander along this canal to find a famous mural painted by the London Police, a renowned pair of graffiti artists that are synonymous with their iconic black and white characters.
Address: Canal that stretches through Amsterdam
6. De Wallen
De Wallen is the largest and probably the best known red light district in Amsterdam. It consists of a large network of alleys that house a few hundred prostitutes who offer their services to willing customers. Pay close attention to the tiny and interesting street art that litter along these canals. A word of caution: do be careful to point your cameras away from the ladies in the windows and make sure you don’t snap any photos of them.
Address: North Holland
Who says street art is just limited to drawings on random urban walls? Cross the ‘Nijlpaardenbrug (Hippotamus Bridge)’ from Entrepotdok to arrive at a strange sculpture garden that houses a rusty metal dinosaur, a mother kangaroo and her baby, and a swinging baseball batter. Their meaning is up for interpretation, but they do make for a nice photo opportunity.
Address: 1018 AD Amsterdam
Located near the famous Spuistraat, Wijdesteeg is another colorful street decked in street art. Be sure to snap a photo of the multi-colored brick road as a wallpaper for your smartphone. This work of art was created by the talented artist Hero de Janeiro, who was known for painting bright puzzle pieces on the dull concrete.
Address: 1012 RT Amsterdam
9. Handboogstraat 29
The older generation might recognize this little ‘alien’ pixelated art from the classic arcade game called 'Space Invaders’. In fact, there’s an artist called 'Invader’ who leaves traces of his mosaic art all around the city. Why not go on a scavenger hunt with your travel buddies and track down his works throughout the city? It has also been said that his 'space invaders’ can be found in other different cities. Interesting!
Address: 1012 XM Amsterdam
10. Tweede Marnixplantsoen
Head over to the well-known Original Dampkring, a popular coffee joint, and take a look up just above its entrance. Gaze in awe as you see a picture of a beautiful Amsterdam scenery of canals and warehouses duct taped to the windows. It has been carefully crafted in such a way that it makes use of natural light to bring the entire image to life. The artist, Max Zoro, does not use photographs as referrals but instead impressively designs everything by heart. Try coming back at night to view the mural from a different light.
Address: 1015 ZP Amsterdam
Street art comes to life
We think that we have only hit the tip of the iceberg when it comes to exploring street art along the small alleyways and canals of Amsterdam. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled all the time because who knows what art you will find. There might be some dangling from an unsuspecting lamp post, or perhaps a giant discreet mural that stretches across multiple buildings. Have lots of fun exploring and we hope you stumble upon a piece of art that will inspire you to fulfill your dreams.
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