At the intersection of Schiedamse vest and Schilderstraat, one can often see people trying to climb on a green vertical strip about twenty metres high on the wall. On this green strip there are white comic-like human figures painted that invite people to participate in the climbing and forget their hasty route for a while. Almost like a performance, people of all ages gather every day here and just hang from these handles in imaginative postures. They grab or step onto the metal handles and proudly take pictures of their achievement as they complete the human chain from bottom to top. The invitation message is written with capital letters on the lower part of the wall: “make it happen”.
Why are these people climbing that wall? The answer is given by the artist Daan Botlek, who created the mural in 2014 under the commission of the municipality of Rotterdam. The motto “make it happen” was used by the city of Rotterdam to inspire young artists and entrepreneurs to express themselves, since it represents the mentality of Rotterdammers; hardworking, direct people who overcome the challenges in a creative manner. In other words, people who make things happen.
This explicit message makes the mural “make it happen” one of my favorite examples of the rich street art scene in Rotterdam and it has become a landmark on its own for the vibrant neighborhood, turning it into a playground for people of all ages for a while.