During the war, the city of Rotterdam was completely destroyed then hastily re-built resulting in the construction of standard concrete buildings lacking aesthetic appeal. Artist Cor Kraat called it a mishmash of concrete and straight lines. In the late ’70s, this led to several artists trying to bring the city back to life with playful pieces that broke the monotony of the city.
The Kraatpaal is one of the earlier examples of this movement. Mr. Kraat came up with the idea after painting a bunch of lampposts in various colors and patterns, stating that he wanted to do something different with the lamp post shape. What resulted is a curvy lamppost that looks less like a post and more like a wild growing tree.
In its time, the piece became the most photographed art installation in the city and was widely popular as a landmark. However, over the years it became part of the street view and to an extent got forgotten. Especially in this smartphone generation, many youths walk past it daily without looking up and noticing it.
Know Before You Go
The pole is easy to pass without noticing it so keep an eye out for it when walking down Karel Doormanstraat.