Railroad tunnel Rivierenwijk


Art in bicycle and pedestrian tunnel

Art in the public space is the crowning glory of a large-scale renovation of the Deventer ‘Rivers neighborhood’. That was what the Municipality of Deventer had in mind. Visual artist Stefan Venbroek made the design in his characteristic collage style. M2uur bv was commissioned to design, produce and install the two artworks.


Municipality of Deventer


Arcadis, Amersfoort


Stefan Venbroek


Bicycle tunnel and viaduct, Deventer


aluminum composite and Qpanel print and coating


46 panels, approx. 100 m²

Year of realization:


The story of the neighborhood

As an artist, Stefan Venbroek was already involved in a number of other art projects in the neighborhood. He got to know the Rivierenwijk and the neighborhood him. At the intercession of the residents, he was therefore the designated designer for the artworks in the bicycle tunnel and on an overpass. ‘In my work I tell the life of their neighborhood, of the people from young to old, taken from life. More than four thousand photographs form the basis of the work I took of the neighborhood and the people. I made portrait drawings from these and combined them with other drawings and digital techniques. Water flows in the background of both designs as a reference to the Rivers neighborhood.’

Demanding places

From the search for a suitable location for the artworks, the municipality picked two spots. A newly constructed bicycle tunnel under the railroad connects the Rivierenwijk with the suburbs of Deventer. And a footpath over the viaduct that actually connects the neighborhood with the old part of Deventer. Symbolic locations, but places that present challenges. Supervision of these places is low and vandalism is lurking. So, the works of art must be able to withstand rough handling and be maintenance friendly. Venbroek’s colorful, cheerful designs create a friendly and pleasant environment.

Tough and weatherproof

M2uur bv searched for a suitable material to execute the designs on. This material not only had to be strong, scratch-resistant and maintenance-friendly, but also weather-resistant. We were also very keen on the price”, explains Freekje Vervoord of M2uur bv, “the budget for realization was relatively limited. At the same time, we were eager to impress with Stefan’s designs. The whole thing just had to have a certain size and body. We therefore ended up with the exterior panels from Qpanel.’

Lightweight with impact

Qpanel plates consist of thin aluminum cover plates around a composite core. After printing, the images are protected with a special coating. This coating protects against scratches and has a self-healing ability. The coating is also resistant to sunlight, UV radiation and moisture. Graffiti can be cleaned and removed conventionally. Because of the low weight of the panels, the installation was relatively affordable. Freekje Vervoord: “We opted for invisible fixing by gluing the panels together. In the tunnel, a simple construction of aluminum box sections was used, on which the plates were glued. On the viaduct, the plates were glued directly to the concrete.”

Sustainable solution for a safe environment

The works of art make the bicycle tunnel and viaduct more pleasant and safer places to cycle through or walk along. Graffiti and defacement of the panels have occurred occasionally but could be removed quickly and without damage. “We can be proud of the end result,” feels Freekje Vervoord, “everyone entering or leaving the Rivierenwijk can enjoy the mounted works of art. The designs are a wonderful tribute to the residents and a crowning achievement in the revitalization of the neighborhood. We managed to provide a sustainable solution for a safe and pleasant environment with relatively few resources. Every day on my way to the office I drive under the viaduct and then I get happy when I see the panels of art hanging.”

Railroad tunnel Rivierenwijk