I was pedaling hard to meet a friend, feeling slightly guilty because I was late for our appointment. I knew the route well. My friend Theo had just moved to my old neighborhood – Transvaalbuurt, on the east side of town – a, now, up-and-coming area in Amsterdam, in between my favorite cafe in East – Coffee Bru – and the gorgeous waterfront by the Amstel canal.
At the Wibautstraat I breathed a sigh of relief: I was ALMOST at my destination and taking a shortcut into a residential area would make me win time. And that’s when I stumbled upon a massive street-art mural of a woman, suspended in the air, flying like a bird, in tones of blue and turquoise. In a snap, I turned the pedals of my omafiets backward to break. I needed a photo of that. As I stepped on my bike again, I saw one more mural: the three emblematic crosses of Amsterdam’s flag on a backdrop of vivid red. Glorious. Then I saw another, and another: ten massive urban murals 10×15 meters covering the facades of a group of buildings. I was in awe. Later, I’d learn that the real estate corporation that owns the properties had commissioned the artworks (in collaboration with residents) to the collective Amsterdam Street-Art (ASA.) These murals were fuel to my street-art love affair. Needless to say that I was very late for my appointment. But promptly forgiven by Theo, who I then took on a street-art tour in her own hood.