Steel, bronze and concrete

7 Statues in Rotterdam Centre you should visit

Welfare Piet Starreveld statue Rotterdam Hanna Owusu
Hanna Owusu
Written by Hanna Owusu
May 15, 2023

Want to enjoy a bit of art while strolling through the city centre? No problem, because in Rotterdam you can find important works of art all over the city and visible to the public.

In this article, I'll show you 7 statues that are close to each other and can therefore be easily admired one after the other.

Sculptures on the Lijnbaan

Walking down Lijnbaan from Weena to Binnenwegplein is not only a great opportunity to go shopping, but also to get a good portion of public art. On a 10–15-minute stroll you can admire the following statues:

“Playing Bears” by Anne Grimdalen (1956)

The little bronze bear statue with two bears playing was designed by the Norwegian sculptor Anne Grimdalen. Because of its height it’s also a great attraction for kids.

“Trommelslager” by Adri Blok (1958)

A few steps further you will find the “Trommelslager”. A bronze statue on a concrete pedestal depicting a drum beating boy.

“Two Turning Vertical Rectangles” by George Rickey (1971)

At the end of the Lijnbaan (crossing Binnenwegplein) you will see the moving sculpture, which has the same form its name indicates: two turning vertical rectangles. This constructivist sculpture is 20 meters high. Try to film it in time lapse to see it move faster, it’s so much fun!

Playing Bears Anna Grimdalen statue Rotterdam Hanna Owusu
Turning Rectangles George Rockey statue Rotterdam Hanna Owusu

Four in one place – The Van Oldenbarneveltplaats

If you don’t have much time, but still want to get a few impressions on sculptures in Rotterdam, I suggest you visit the Van Oldenbarneveltplaats on the Coolsingel, opposite of the WTC. There you’ll find four iconic sculptures in one place: The Husband of the Doll, The Knot, Untitled “styalized flower” and Welfare.

The Husband of the Doll by Thomas William Puckey (1991)

A naked, cheerful clown with a naturalistic body and a caricatural head.

The Knot by Shinkichi Tajiri (1976)

The trademark of the American sculptor Shinkichi Tajiri: the knot. A simple shape that symbolizes very different things depending on the cultural background. A wonderful opportunity for a conversation!

Husband Of Doll Thomas Puckey statue Rotterdam Hanna Owusu
Knot Shinkichi Tajiri statue Rotterdam Hanna Owusu

Untitled by Naum Gabo (1957)

Also called “the thing” or “styalized flower”, the untitled statue by Naum Gabo is made of steel and a zinc/brass coating on a concrete plinth. It became part of the Top 100 Dutch monuments between 1940 and 1958.

Welfare by Piet Starreveld (1953)

The sculpture is mounted on the facade of the former ABN Amro bank building, the current Forum Rotterdam. The woman is the symbol of prosperity and holds a flying dove of peace in her hand. At her feet is a frieze depicting a sower, a blacksmith, a plowman, a prancing horse, and a woman carrying sheaves.

Untitled Naum Gabo statue Rotterdam Hanna Owusu
Welfare Piet Starreveld statue Rotterdam Hanna Owusu

Tip: visit the Van Oldenbarneveltplaats in the afternoon when the sun starts to set. Then you will be able to witness a beautiful light play, created by the sun’s reflections from the WTC. The surrounding area will be full of green and turquoise light beams (have a close look at the picture of the untitled statue by Naum Gabo!).

Discover more art

It's nice to be exposed to so much art and culture just by being in the city. Besides the statues I've introduced you to here, there are over 200 other public artworks in the centre of Rotterdam - this is just the beginning. So keep an eye out for more during your walk and don't forget to look up along the facades. It's not uncommon to find statues and artworks at dizzying heights.

No wonder that an art riddled nation like the Netherlands brings forth artists like Rembrandt and Van Gogh - you simply have to be inspired with this much public art!

Hanna Owusu
Written by Hanna Owusu
May 15, 2023