Previously an abandoned industrial area, this plot of land in Krefeld-Uerdingen was brought back to life in 2017. Since then, it’s been drawing in visitors throughout the summer months with a unique concept: the Rhine Side Gallery.
The Rhine Side Gallery – Art, where you wouldn’t expect it
The industrial town of Krefeld-Uerdingen has always been that: industry. It has never been a tourist favorite like Cologne or the picturesque vineyards all around the country. The city is situated right by the River Rhine, one of the most traveled rivers for cargo ships in the country. This perfect location has always been enough explanation as to why the city never grew into something besides an industrial area. From most anywhere, big furnaces can be seen. Their fires have not yet been extinguished. They perfect the image of a coal-and-steel kind of town.
Nobody would come to a place like this, looking for art, relaxation, and a nice cold drink. Much less expect to burrow their toes in the sand while enjoying both!
But with the Rhine Side Gallery, you can do all of those things!
The kind of art displayed
When one hears the word “art”, many tend to think of classics or baroque. Paintings you could find in the Louvre, sculptures made of stone, and similar grand things.
But the art exhibition at the Rhine Side Gallery is a very different kind: street art!
Here, you will find illustrations, portraits, and cartoons made with spray paint. These graffiti aim to tell a story and speak out against problems in the world. Or they just want to celebrate the beauty that the artist finds in everyday life.
There is a lot going on. From electric sharks sprayed on a stone wall to illusions on the pavement – you won’t tire of the things you can see.
Without the confinements of an exhibit hall, artists from all over can paint what they wish to paint, where they want to paint it. Some prefer the maritime theme and keep their pieces in the areas that look out onto the river below. Others see structures and buildings as part of their canvas and embrace the local architecture.
The people behind the Rhine Side Gallery
The people that saw this plot of land, called “Am Zollhof 6” that lay abandoned, and recognized its potential for so much more were from the organization Uerdinger Kaufmannsbund.
In the beginning, the Rhine Side Gallery was meant to last only a few weeks in the summer of 2017. The plan was for this to bring people together and allow them to see Uerdingen from a different perspective. No longer a place of work, but a place of creativity, life, and relaxation for everyone. That was, what the Uerdinger Kaufmannsbund was aiming for.
And they were successful: what should only have lasted a short while would go on to endure the years.
Not only in regards to the food, which was provided by local restaurants and snack shops, but in every other aspect, the label “made in Krefeld” played a huge role in the success. The 15 artists that came from all over the world would spend an entire week giving back color and life to the dreary-looking buildings and walls.
The open-air gallery is the heart of Uerdingen
What started as a one-time thing opened its gates for the sixth time in 2022. And with every year, the concept evolves and changes. Though it changes, it has not lost sight of its origins: Uerdingen.
The food, the art, the activities: everything remains personal, no false sense of polished art exhibits to be found. The people love their Rhine Side Gallery and often come by for a visit. Even the local economy sees the positive effects that it has on the small shops around town.
FAQ – Rhine Side Gallery
Monday through Thursday, you can enjoy the unique and lovely atmosphere from 3 pm to 9 pm, and on Fridays and Saturdays, you can stay even longer, until 10 pm. Even on Sundays, you can use your time off to visit, between 1 pm and 9 pm.
You have several options: take the Tram 043 and get off at “Krefeld Uerdingen Bahnhof” and walk about 400 meters. You can also take the Bus 941 to the same station. Don’t worry about missing the stop: it’s the last stop on the route.
Lastly, if you don’t feel like walking all that much: take the Bus 927 and get off at “Dujardinstraße”. From there, it’s a little less than 250 meters to the Rhine Side Gallery.
In the beginning, a multitude of sponsors carried most of the financial burden. Nowadays, sponsors change. Especially for activities like beach soccer or beach volleyball, local clubs or shops support the Gallery with equipment. Locals, clubs, organizations, and people that want to help can also get involved. For example, a lot of the greenery is provided and planted by volunteers.