A colourful collection of ordinary people*

*Buurtplaatjes in Schiedam.

14 May to 16 October 2022

Sticker collecting for Buurtplaatjes (Neighbour pictures) is still in full swing around Schiedam. You can also see this colourful collection of ordinary people on display at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, where you can get acquainted with all the pictures of the city. You can meet Lennox in the People who have found the meaning of life category, and hairdresser Ingrid who once sent a customer away for having too many tangles in his hair. (Ingrid heard afterwards that the tangled man had gone to the dog groomer instead!) Schiedammers who appear in Buurtplaatjes can get a free visit to all the exhibitions in the museum just by showing their sticker book at the ticket desk. If you bring someone with you, that person gets in free too!

‘The exhibition is more than just a survey of Schiedammers,’ says museum director Anne de Haij. ‘It shows that we have more in common than we think.’ After closing for 18 months of renovation, the festive reopening of the museum building included the launch of the Buurtplaatjes exhibition, a collaborative project with artist Maarten Bel. It works like Pokémon or football cards, except that you collect local residents instead of famous footballers, and you get your stickers from local entrepreneurs rather than big supermarkets chains.

Visitor in the exhibition. Photograph: Marco de Swart

Neighbourhood gathering
De Haij explains that the museum reopening marks the beginning of a new initiative where the museum invites all Schiedam neighbourhoods to a festive evening. ‘On each evening, you and your neighbours can visit the museum free of charge, with snacks, music and tour guides from your own neighbourhood. We all walk to the museum together or we can come and collect you in a bus, just like a school trip!’

There are six evenings planned: east Schiedam on 10 June 2022, Nieuwland on 24 June 2022, south Schiedam on 15 July 2022, west and central Schiedam on 26 August 2022, Groenoord on 9 September 2022, and Noordrand along with a number of other neighbourhoods together on 7 October 2022. Each evening is from 19:00 until 21:00. If you have any questions, comments or ideas, please send a message to dorien@stedelijkmuseumschiedam.nl. You can also read more about the neighbourhood gathering project here.

Moos the chicken
The exhibition A colourful collection of ordinary people includes all of the nearly 500 pictures and stories from the Buurtplaatjes participants. You can meet Cor, along with his chicken Moos, in the People who have swum in the Lange Haven category. In a category about mistakes you meet Anja, who arrived at the wrong airport in Cuba (twice!) as well as boxer Don Diego Poeder, three times Dutch champion and once world champion.

Gunay Uslu, Dutch Secretary for Culture and Media, with René and Ise from Schiedam. Photograph: Aad Hoogendoorn

The very last picture
On a rotating mirror you’ll also find the last Buurtplaatjes picture in the city centre, Nieuwland, and north Schiedam. Pick up the sticker in our shop to finish off your book! There’s also a swapping station where you can exchange the last few stickers and place an advert. Maybe you’re looking for someone from your category to do something together? The exhibition is also open to people who aren’t in the book, and if you’re not, you can leave a message for the category you’d like to belong to.

Beautiful thinking
Project leader Dorien Theuns believes that these stories are all important. ‘There are cheerful quotes and touching stories, such as in the People who were feeling low, but have come out on top again category.’ A popular category was People who always see the beauty in other people. Harun from Nieuwland says, ‘Güzel gören güzel düşünür. Güzel düşünen, hayatından lezzet alır,’ or, ‘A person who sees beauty in life will think beautifully. A person who thinks beautifully will enjoy the flavours of life.’

Visitors in the exhibition. Photograph: Marco de Swart

Buurtplaatjes began in the mind of Maarten Bel, an artist who collects second-hand mugs and CDs of whale sounds. He wondered why he didn’t know his neighbours better and what he can do about it. Bel says, ‘I added the two things up and thought, If only you could collect your neighbours! After the first Buurtplaatjes round in east Schiedam, the city’s south, west, centre, north and Nieuwland followed. Together, the five books contain almost 500 pictures, running until the end of June 2022.

With thanks to
Gemeente Schiedam, VSBfonds, VriendenLoterij Fonds, Mondriaan Fund, Fonds Schiedam Vlaardingen, G. Ph. Verhagen-Stichting, De Groot Fonds

Top image: Maarten Bel with the Buurtplaatjes. Photograph: Aad Hoogendoorn