The now infamous Vijzelgracht, a street in downtown Amsterdam where entire houses are sinking into the ground due to a series of major screw-ups in digging the new North-South metro line, was a sorry sight. Families were evacuated and their houses boarded up and declared ‘unfit to live in’.
Across the street, local artist Peter Doeswijk who lives and works on the Vijzelgracht came up with a cultural solution to poster up the boarded houses and hide the inevitable graffiti: by using famous artworks of Dutch Masters (Frans Hals, Vermeer and the likes). He has had other poster exhibitions on the Vijzelgracht during the actual construction and without his efforts, the street, which boasts famous manors such as the one of the Maison Descartes (French institute) would look even worse than it sounds.
When I went by to take pictures around 6 pm last Monday, about 50% of everyone walking by stopped for at least 10 minutes to admire all the artworks and take pictures. Here are mine below. The last one is of the stairs of one of the houses, just to show you how bad the situation is. It reminds me of the stairs in the Mousetrap game.
I also met Peter Doeswijk some 12 years ago when he sold his painted phones before we all had mobiles ones, as his niece was a roommate of mine back in Montréal.