What is the collection?

In Amsterdam, a large number of well-known and lesser-known works of art show the story of the city and its inhabitants. Art in the public space has the potential to strengthen the city’s public and polyphonous character. Art can show us – not because it is accessible, but precisely because it is complex – that the public space is a domain where opposites are not eliminated or banished, but rather embraced and experienced.

Art in the public space manifests in many different ways, in different guises, with different functions. The collection of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area, for example, includes a wide range of works of art, from monuments, sculptures, social projects and interventions in the environment to graffiti, wall paintings and reliefs. Art not only has qualitative and historical aspects, but it has also been used for decades to improve social structures in neighbourhoods and other aspects that are difficult to measure, such as ‘unity’ and ‘quality of life in the neighbourhood’. The collection is not just about monumental gestures or sculptures on pedestals. Art can also signal a place of gathering, or be one itself.

WJM Kok – Monochrome 360° (2020)

How did this tradition start? Where are these works of art located and how many are there, exactly? How were they created and what stories do they tell? These aspects of art in the public space do not always manage to catch the spotlight. The Stadscuratorium safeguards the accessibility of visual art in the public space by making such information accessible both online and on location in a new and inventive way. Thus, the Stadscuratorium stimulates the preservation of the city’s visual memory and ensures that is on every agenda.

Amsterdam has a large number of initiatives that inventory the collection of art in the (semi-)public space of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. These include Public Art Amsterdam, Amsterdam Street Art, Art Zuid and Buitenbeeld in Beeld. A recent addition is Hans Aarsman’s ‘Rijksakademie on the map’, a city map that shows 441 works in the public space of Amsterdam, all by artists who are/were connected to the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten. The collection owned by the City of Amsterdam contains the almost 1,600 sculptures and monuments that are listed on Buitenkunst Amsterdam. However, the collection also includes privately owned outdoor sculptures plus more than 200 pieces of post-war wall art. Street art and graffiti have hardly been documented in this manner at all. The Stadscuratorium is committed to making the stories of the entire collection as up-to-date and complete as possible and unlocking them to the public.

In the stories below, a selection of works of art is spotlighted and the Stadscuratorium addresses its agenda, opportunities and urgencies – and, notably, its love, knowledge, annoyances and hopes. Future contributions will involve collaborations with residents, artists and writers – together, they will tell the story of the collection of Amsterdam.

Collection Stories


Jamahl Richters


Iris Kensmil

The National Monument on the History of Slavery

Erwin de Vries



The Sky-Earth Observatory

Mark Bain

Wayang / Into the Shadow

Nio Architects

Housing is not a favor but a right

Tine Hofman

Poort van Nieuwendam (Gate of Nieuwendam)

Marcel Smink

Morgenster (Morning Star)

Arjen Lancel


Marijke Ouendag-Van Lis


Jeroen Doorenweerd

De Buurtoptimist

Sarah van Sonsbeeck

Ramses Shaffy

kunstenaar xs

Het Lieverdje

Carel Kneulman

Mama Baranka

Nelson Carrilho

Revisiting The Cullinans

Sanja Medic

Gedenk te overstromen

Collectief Walden

Stoere Bloemen

Marieke Bolhuis

Het straatongeluk (The street accident)

Lex Horn

43 kinderen (43 children)

Henri Lucas

The Botanical Garden of the Bims

Merete Richters & Charayda Andeloe

Dishes – Untitled

Rein Jelle Terpstra

2 hondjes (2 dogs)

Marjolijn Mandersloot


Bastienne Kramer

Roosje (Rose)

Rombout Oomen

A thousand suns

Roland Schimmel

Bridge 404

Hildo Krop

De kus (The kiss)

Jeroen Henneman

Love or generosity

Nicole Eisenman

Virtual Fountains

Femke Schaap

PIT portaal

Karin van Dam

Anxiety Rabbit

Piet Parra

Het geheim en het bewijs (The secret and the proof)

Wendela Gevers Deynoot


Karim Hashem en Kristian Kanstadt

Schaap met vijf poten (Sheep with five legs)

Gerrit Bolhuis

U Bevindt Zich Hier (You Are Now Here)

Martijn Sandberg

Noch einmal

Henk Visch

101 namen (101 names)

Martine Neddam

Achtergelaten baggage (Left luggage)

Antoine Mes

Zeegezicht aan het IJ (Seascape on the IJ)

Irma Boom

Floating Poetry Room

Siah Armajani


Anneke de Witte

The Scream

Jeroen Henneman

The pillared turtle

Hans 't Mannetje


Paul de Reus

The Regenerator

Marina Abramovic

The Hippo

Tom Claassen

It started with a dime

Marjet Wessels Boer

Two female figures

Elisabet Stienstra

De Ontmoeting (The Meeting)

Maria Barnas

De Dokwerker (The Dock Worker)

Mari Andriessen

Ontmoetingsplaats (meeting place)

Shinkichi Tajiri

Diversity in bureaucracy

Judith de Leeuw


Florentijn Hofman

Voor de bijen (For the bees)

Frank (Frank Emile) Mandersloot

Fragment of a living room, reduced to 88%

Mark Manders

Scherven van Beschaving (Shards of Civilisation)

Fabrice Hünd

Doe iets (Do something)

Serge Verheugen

White Noise

Ginny Vos

Dragers van verre (Carriers from afar)

Nelson Carrilho

Weather Engine

David Claerbout

Corned Beef

Carolien Feldbrugge

Hang In There (You Will Be Fine)

Bureau Illuminate

The lens trees

Thom (Thomas William) Puckey

Truus Wijsmuller Memorial

Herman Janzen


Harmen Liemburg

Fête Galante

Hans van den Ban

Yellow Wings

Loes van der Horst

Colour Connection

Nina Rave

Joost Conijn

The Layered City


De Muur (The Wall)

Alfred Eikelenboom


Gijs Assmann


Erwin de Vries

A Pregnant Man’s Dream

Ramon Martins


Herman Makkink

5 Elements

André Volten

Monument Indië-Nederland

Van Hall

Spelen in de Stad (Playing in the City)

Piet Parra

Nationaal Monument Slavernijverleden (National Slavery Monument)

Erwin de Vries