For me, there’s nothing quite like stumbling upon a colourful mural in the middle of the city. It’s like being in a huge, free open air museum that you can go back and visit whenever you please. I’m always on the lookout. I knew Utrecht was going to be a good spot to discover some street art gems, and I wasn’t disappointed, so let me show you exactly what I found on my wander through the city.
Art and sculptures on every avenue
First up, how about these adorable Shaun the Sheep stones that you’ll find first on your journey from Utrecht’s Centraal Station.
Whilst I can’t find anything online about who created them and what these cuties have to do with anything, I love them. They’re totally big enough to sit on, and I really missed a trick by not parking my arse on the back of Shaun here in front, but we live and we learn eh.
Just behind Shaun and his pals, you’ll find this awesome, giant street sign and accompanying map of the city centre. Daalsepark is the name of the street, and is simply a life-sized spectacle of real Dutch street name signs. The map of the city centre is so detailed, you can find something new every time you take a look.
Taking a minor detour from the main route will lead you to this incredible 8ft mural: Slapende Mars by well-known art collective De Strakke Hand.
Created in the style of classic renaissance paintings, there are multiple images dotted around the city (although this is the only one I’ve managed to find so far).
Welcome to the Straatweg
We’re back on the main route now, and we’ve passed Shaun and his pals again to get to the Amsterdamsestraatweg, a main corridor for traffic and one of the main routes in and out of the city.
You’ll spot this 3 dimensional piece of street art immediately, and get to watch it come into full focus as you wander towards it, which is a treat in itself.
Created by another renowned Utrecht artist, Jan is de Man, this piece, Welcome to the Straatweg combines the cultural and historical heritage of the street it sits on. In fact, if you look closely enough, you’ll be able to spot plenty of recognisable facades that line this street.
Trailing off of the Amsterdamsestraatweg for a moment and into the 2e Daalsebuurt, you’ll find two of the four train murals that line the back streets.
Apparently, these pieces were created due to the many NS workers who lived in the area by well-known street artist De Verfdoktor. Despite sitting there for a few years already, the paint work is as fresh as ever, and the colours are incredibly vibrant. I’m not a train person myself, but I could definitely appreciate these cute pieces.
Originally, this is the piece I was waiting for. My Piece de Resistance, if you will. De Boekenkast is a 2019 piece designed and created again by Jan is de Man.
It’s special to this neighbourhood, just like the previous piece, except this time, residents of the street were asked to provide the titles of their favourite books. Now you’ll find a wild range of literature lining these shelves, including Harry Potter, The BFG, Sapiens, Life, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, and even a cheeky issue of Playboy, and they certainly liven up the street corner.
The otter on Otterstraat
Another design by the infamous Verfdoktor, this otter chilling next to the Domtoren – Utrecht’s famous city centre tower – is one to look out for. I found it after heading to Karibu cafe in the afternoon. This piece was literally on my wander back to the train station.
Whilst this is by no means my favourite – I find the otter actually pretty scary – it’s a well-known piece of street art by one of Utrecht’s favourite artists, making it one of the most important on my rounds.
Ok, the Utrecht street sign is by far my favourite piece, because of the story behind it and its 3 dimensional design 😎.
Created by Jan is de Man, this name board actually covers up his original artwork – a proposal to his girlfriend (who said yes by the way!). In fact, if you go onto Google Maps and type in the area of Oudenoord, you can see the original proposal and the answer!
Ducdalf met schepen
Apparently the oldest piece of street art in the city, this mish mash creation was created by Anne P. Boer back in 1978, and named Ducdalf met schepen. It sits by the water on Adelaarstraat, and whilst it’s not the prettiest of sights to behold (in my opinion at least), it’s an important piece of history for the city.
Het komt goed
Ok, Ok, last piece, I promise. Rob Heerdink’s piece het komt goed #ik blijfthuis (it’s gonna be ok, #I’mstayinghome) was created just after the Corona Virus outbreak in 2020. Of course, the smiling cloud and its beautiful streaming rainbow colours represent the calm after the storm, which we’re all hoping will make an appearance sometime in the near future.
What are your thoughts?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on street art in general, as well as this awesome Utrecht street art. I love the stuff, but I can understand it can be such a turn off for others.
Of course I managed to miss out a load of pieces that I couldn’t find, but I’ll be making it my mission to head back into the city to finish this mini tour off. Who’s coming with me!?