Street Name Hacks Criticize Gentrification In Amsterdam

Street art collective Kamp Seedorf are single-handedly renaming streets in Amsterdam to address the extreme hipsterfication of the Dutch capital.

The remarkable, ironic street art of Kamp Seedorf (named after legendary football player Clarence Seedorf) can be found across Amsterdam. It all started with stenciled cult football players, followed by famous singers, actors, and even Amsterdam’s Mayor Eberhard van der Laan, who passed away this October. Although Kamp Seedorf claim that their work doesn’t contain any particular message, they do think it is a way to shake people up.

Kamp Seedorf’s tribute to Mayor of Amsterdam Eberhard van der Laan †

Perhaps the most widespread work of Kamp Seedorf are the street name hacks that turn conventional street names into semi-permanent names. The new names are painted over the traditional Dutch blue iron signs with white lettering. With their street name hacks, Kamp Seedorf have honored local heroes like rappers Hef Bundy and Sevn Alias by naming a street after them or their work, while they also hacked some street names into less personal, yet daring names.

Hipstergracht (Hipster Canal)

Glutenvrij Pad (Gluten-Free Lane)

Perhaps the most interesting street name hacks are those that play on local stereotypes or geographical connotations of urban areas. One early example is Herengracht which was renamed Hipstergracht. In recent decades, Amsterdam’s famous canal belt became known as the home of the privileged Dutch intellectual and cultural elite, that is seen as arrogant and ignorant about the rest of the country. Hipstergracht (Hipster Canal) makes a statement about increasing popularity of the area, featuring upscale boutiques and expensive apartments. Other recent street name hacks include the birth of Quinoasaladstraat (Quinoa Salad Street) and Glutenvrij Pad (Gluten-Free Lane), referring to foods related to millennial consumption tastes that increasingly dominate Amsterdam’s consumption landscape.

Quinoasaladestraat (Quinoa Salad Street)

Kamp Seedorf won’t solve the Amsterdam housing crisis or stop the ongoing gentrification process in the city. This was never their intention either, but pointing out subtle changes in the city could make people aware of who they are, what they do, and how others might perceive this.