The BMW – Rotterdam, Netherlands - Atlas Obscura

Rotterdam, Netherlands

The BMW

A dramatic art installation features a BMW flying out of a building in Rotterdam.  

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. In an effort to jazz up the city’s buildings and lend beauty to the area, a group of artists began installing creative art installations. 

The artists—known locally as kunst en vaarwerk—have developed a few influential pop art pieces to liven up Rotterdam. Their best-known piece is the BMW by Cor Kraat, which was unveiled in 1987 by the municipal councilor. 

The artwork consists of a red BMW vehicle that hangs dangerously over the edge of a parking lot, almost as if it is being driven by James Bond in the midst of a chase scene. The car looks as if it’s about to fly out of the building, frozen precariously in time with half the car hanging out of the window.

The overall effect is stunning, dramatic and anything but boring. Over the years, the BMW has been re-painted and restored (as recently as 2017), keeping the art installation like new and captivating. 

Know Before You Go

The car is one street away from Rotterdam central station but hidden from view by the new flats. You have to know to look for it, which is why many people miss it!

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