A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
When I was on vacation in Valencia, I discovered my interest in street-art or more commonly know as “somewhat better graffiti”. Coming back to the Netherlands shortly afterwards I realised that there is way less street-art to find, and if, it is well hidden. To find out more about the issue, I immersed myself into the unfathomable depths of the internet and came across some quite interesting things.
What both Spain and the Netherlands have in common, is that graffiti is made illegal by law which also means that all street-art which is not commissioned or permitted by the municipality will be removed . Yet the Dutch local authorities are a bit more rigorous when it comes to actually getting rid of graffiti, which is, in my opinion, totally okay when the “art” in question are ugly tags. The municipality of Den Haag has a contact point (“Meldpunt Graffiti”) where citizens can report any form of vandalism to have it removed (“schoonmaakregeling”).
But not all uncommissioned graffiti are tags and so a lot of beautiful street-art is being removed by the authorities as well. To cut down on illegal graffiti, initiatives and platforms with the goal to support local street-artists have been established, one being The Hague Street Art (THSA). This organisation works closely together with the municipality and has the goal to minimise “plak- en kladvandalisme”. To actually realise this, they offer legal practice-spaces, graffiti classes, free workshops on festivals and, most importantly, they paint and let paint commissioned artwork across the city.
THSA has planned some projects in cooperation with the municipality for the upcoming year already, one being “Eerbetoon Haagse Iconen”. Within this project, well-known Hagenaars will be portrayed on giant murals in the city centre. Furthermore, they want to further facilitate legal street-art in the Laakkwartier and Schilderswijk districts.
As mentioned before, THSA also offers graffiti lessons as well as free workshops on festivals, for example at the OH OH Intro Festival or Embassy Festival.
For people interested in getting to know the street-art scene of Den Haag, THSA also offers guided street-art tours through the district of Segbroek. The artwork can be found mostly on electricity houses and has been painted by local as well as international artists.
Street Art Tour:
I went on the 2 hour street-art tour with some friends during the summer holidays. What I really liked is that they not only show you the “graffiti” but also tell you a lot about the artists, the background and motivation of the artwork and also techniques used. It’s a great way to get to know a different side of Den Haag and you further support a great movement that makes the city a little bit more colourful.
You can also check out the free The Hague Street Art Magazine which can be picked up at various locations around Den Haag. It includes interviews with artists, information on upcoming projects and lots of colourful pictures.
some locations: Bagels & Beans, De Gekke Geit, The Student Hotel