The 5 most inspirational quotes on buildings in Rotterdam

1) 'Als iedereen ergens anders vandaan komt, is niemand een vreemde' - Rien Vroegindeweij

‘If everybody comes from somewhere else, nobody is a stranger’, is a line by the poet Rien Vroegindeweij (1944) who captures the culture and people of Rotterdam in his articles, poems and plays. He recently wrote the book Rotterdam with Jan Oudenaarden, a conclusive history of how the city rebuilt itself after the 1940 bombardment.

street poetry at Rotterdam

West Kruiskade/Tiendplein (above Holy Smoke)

2) 'Alles van waarde is weerloos' - Lucebert

These five words by Lucebert form one of the most cited poetry lines in the Netherlands. It means, ‘Everything of worth is defenceless’. Lucebert (1924-1994) was an influential artist, connected to the Cobra movement as a painter, and to the literary movement the Vijftigers as a poet.

Street poetry by Lucebert

Roof of Willem de Kooning Academy, Blaak 10

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3) 'Heel de wereld is mijn vaderland' - Desiderius Erasmus

Philosopher and humanist Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (1466-1536) lived in Rotterdam for only a few years, but apparently felt such a connection with the city that he added it to his name. References to Erasmus can be found all over Rotterdam. On the sidewall of the central library you find this quote: ‘The whole world is my homeland.’

street poetry by Desiderius Erasmus

Central Library Rotterdam, Hoogstraat 110

4) 'Wie meer wil weten moet woorden eten' - Gerrit Kouwenaar

Gerrit Kouwenaar (1923-2014) was a much lauded poet, author, journalist, resistance fighter and translator. He was also a contemporary of Lucebert and part of the Vijftigers literary movement, known for its spontaneous and experimental poetry. In later years his poems became more thoughtful. This line on the library wall says: ‘Who wants to know more, must eat words.’

street poetry in Rotterdam

Grote Visserijstraat 120

5) 'De omgeving van de mens is de medemens' - Jules A. Deelder

Poet, performance artist and jazz lover Jules A. Deelder is one of Rotterdam’s most characteristic inhabitants. His upfront and to the point poems can be found in several places in the city. This neon blue one – ‘The surroundings of man are his fellow men’ – is near his home and the bar named after his daughter, Ari.

street poetry in Rotterdam

Nieuwe Binnenweg 125

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