Zuidoost Underground Art Route

From the Tropical Bird Forest to the Tunnel of Love, explore Amsterdam Zuidoost’s underground art.

Through the project Researching the City: Mapping Imaginaries, we have seen how our lived reality has much to do with the mental maps we construct. What have we learned in our childhood? What places do we embrace as interesting? What kinds of landscapes do we consider to be safe? 

At the same time, we each have our own personal characteristics which change day to day. How we are feeling, whether we are introverted or extroverted and our appetite for adventure all contribute to our experience of place. 

Students, residents and visitors have expressed that they feel unsafe walking and cycling through Amsterdam Zuidoost, particularly at night, in part due to the characteristic tunnels of the area. We know that safety not only has to do with possible aggression from others but also the idea that we may get lost without adequate signage, known landmarks or places to ask for directions. These concerns are especially acute in places like Amsterdam Zuidoost which are constantly changing. 

In response to these concerns around safety, several tunnels in Zuidoost have been refurbished in the past year, initiated by the Zuidoost district among others. For example, the renovated underpass at Daalwijkdreef near the Bindelmeer College in Venserpolder is a collaboration between the Zuidoost district and the Weerbaar Amsterdam / Drug Crime program of the AcVZ. Second-year secondary school students collaborated on the design of the wall art in the tunnel and chose the new name: the Vensertunnel. This artwork has brightened and beatified the tunnels and created some recognisable routes through the district. 

University students living at the Spinoza Campus are often eager to explore and learn about Amsterdam Zuidoost and have been especially receptive to the new artwork. Believing that beauty should be available to everyone, we have combined the impressions and experiences of students with existing knowledge and experience of the area to create an art route connecting the renovated tunnels according to themes, ideas and impressions. This route is intended to be enjoyed during the day or at night, on foot or by bike in rain or shine.