The city is full of statues and works of art. The trick, however, is to spot them. There is a good chance that when you walk through the city centre you are surrounded by art without realizing it. Some with beautiful stories or made by the greatest artists.
As an art lover, it is therefore not a bad idea to follow a sculpture route through the city. Below we share a number of beautiful works of art, presented per area. But there is so much more; walk through the city and you will be rewarded with more art!
One of the most stately buildings on the Coolsingel is of course the City Hall. Simply not to be missed. Besides the building itself being beautiful to look at, the City Hall is filled and surrounded with unique statues and sculptures.
In the City Hall itself you will find, for example, sculptures of Queen Wilhelmina and Willem Frederik Hendrik, also known as Hendrik der Nederlanden, both from 1919 and made by Gra Rueb. Also not to be forgotten is the statue that accompanies the motto of Rotterdam: “Stronger through struggle”, by Hank Hans.
But that is of course not all. Above the clock of the City Hall you will find the Golden Angel of Peace by Johan Keller, or in a niche in front of the City Hall, a bronze statue by Johan van Oldenbarnevelt. In front of the City Hall is also a large bronze statue of Hugo de Groot, a Dutch lawyer and writer. Make sure to walk to the courtyard of the City Hall, because there is a beautiful fountain by Simon Miedema.
With the City Hall as the backdrop, you will find a large monument on the City Hall Square (Stadhuisplein) that is simply not to be missed. The name of course already says a bit about what the statue was made for: the commemoration of all Rotterdammers who died during the Second World War in the struggle for the liberation. Remembrance Day is held here every year on May 4.
The monument consists of four people: a woman looking back, a child and a man looking at each other and a man looking ahead. A beautiful symbolic work of art for the past and the future. Created by Mari Andriessen and unveiled on May 4, 1957 by Princess Wilhelmina.
On the steps in front of the World Trade Center on the Coolsingel, you will find the statue of Gijsbert Karel van Hogendorp, holding the constitution of 1814. Which makes lots of sense, since van Hogendorp was a Rotterdam politician and one of the drafters of the Dutch Constitutions.
Every Rotterdammer has probably walked past it dozens of times, because this work of art has been standing right next to the Bijenkorf since 1957. The statue was designed by Naum Gabo and became part of the Top 100 Dutch monuments between 1940 and 1958. Did you also know that the nickname for The stylized flower is "the thing"
Several bronze statues can be found on the busy Lijnbaan. A place that every Rotterdammer has walked multiple times while shopping, but may not have noticed that there are several statues in the middle of the path.
Have you ever spotted the 'Playing bears', for example? That nice image of two bears who, as the name suggests, are playing. This has been standing in the middle of the Lijnbaan since 1956 and was made by Anne Grimdalen, a Norwegian sculptor.
Another bronze statue is that of Adri Blok, who designed the ‘Trommelslager’ in 1958. An image of a boy beating a drum. Or the 'Reading Girl', by the Dutch sculptor Huib Noorlander from 1960, which found its place on the Korte Lijnbaan.
In the Wijkpark near the West-Kruiskade is a statue of a very special man. The statue of Rigardus Rijnhout, also known as the Giant of Rotterdam. Rigardus was no less than 2 meters and 38 centimeters long, weighed 230 kilograms and had shoe size 62. To honor him, the foundation 'De Reus van Rotterdam' had a full-size statue made by Herman Lamers in 2011. The location of the statue is also not without reason, because the Old West is the giant’s birthplace.
Around the large street Blaak, there are also a number of gems that you should spot. Right next to the Markthal, for example, on the Binnenrotte, is the 'Ode to Marten Toonder'. Marten was a Rotterdam comic book artist, known for Olivier B. Bommel and Tom Poes. If you look closely at the image, you can also see four figures from his comics. The sculpture was made by the Rotterdam artists De Artoonisten.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the reconstruction of Rotterdam, the statue ‘Triomf’ (Triumph in English) was unveiled in 1995 by Prince Bernhard. The artist behind Triomf is Kees Verkade and with his artwork he shares the different phases of triumph: being weighed down under a heavy burden, wrestling out of it and being completely free.
Very different from the artworks mentioned above, because Guard is a mix between a Transformer, a Terminator, a superhero and a mutant. This three meter high, broad-shouldered and armed cyborg can be found at the skate park and was made by the artist Hans van Bentem. An initiative of CBK Rotterdam, and campaigned by skaters.
Whether you like this artwork or not is up to you. But it sure is interesting. This remarkable sculpture, called Anita, is by David Bade and consists of a girl figure rising from a bag of rubble. The artwork is best admired with your own eyes, near the skate park on the Westblaak.
For this relatively new work of art from 2020, we walk to the Binnenrotte, because that is where this two-part work by Ben Zegers is located. These two turned feet, at a distance from each other, are exactly where the 'Dam in de Rotte' was located and where Rotterdam originated.
However, the symbolism behind the two feet is not only the origin of the city, but also the footsteps of the first Rotterdammers and the function of the market in which people engage in dialogue with each other.
It is certain that Rotterdam has even more hidden and not so hidden works of art. Above we have given you a selection from the collection, but do not hesitate and go out to discover the rest!