Does street art, as its name suggests, belong in the street? Is street art inside still street art? Well, I think it is! When in Amsterdam please consider to visit STRAAT, a museum dedicated to street art. It’s powerful in multiple facets: the building is a former ship yard (raw and industrial), the museum displays more than 150 artworks by 130 artists, and the various styles produce a pleasant cacophony of artistic noise. As you can see on the pictures, this museum is all about street art at its finest.
Why I like street art? It has no rules. Sometimes the freedom of expression is shown by an explosion of colors, where another artist has chosen for a delicate mix of lines and icons. Most of the art works in STRAAT (Dutch for street) drew me in, offering a combination of visual beauty and a contemporary (political) message. An explanation of the artist and his/her work accompanies every piece. They definitely add value to the experience but feel free to just watch to create your own interpretation. I mean, out on the streets you will not find any explanations!
Banksy, the most famous street artist of our times. But look at all the (global) artists at STRAAT who are all creating their own universe. Some are connected to nature, others are politically engaged. And others don’t have any message at all, they just create for the beauty of creation.
STRAAT is one mind-blowing visual experience, especially when it’s dark outside and every piece of art is illuminated. All the artworks were created on-site (!) and, as mentioned, provide the added value of context and information. The museum resides in a former warehouse on the NDSM wharf in Amsterdam Noord (North) and also outside of the building you will find great pieces of street art and graffiti. The area Amsterdam Noord used to be very rough and industrial but is slowly turning into a modern, residential area. Luckily the NDSM building (now a national monument) and the STRAAT museum are here to stay!
I truly enjoyed my visit to STRAAT. The entry fee is Euro 17,50. Maybe a bit high for your average visitor, but remember that the ferry from Amsterdam Central Station (Ferry F4) to the NDSM area is free of charge. That will save you a lot on cab fees… STRAAT museum has its own café overlooking the whole exhibition. And don’t forget to visit end of day when the night falls…. That’s when street art really gets illuminated.
Want to read more about street art? Here are a few more posts that you might like: