Discover Breda in an unique way

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If you live in or have visited Breda you’ve probably witnessed this scene before: a group of people standing in front of a mural, attentively listening to someone telling a story. This was likely one of our tourguides. In this article you can read more about them and the valuable tours they lead. 

In a previous series, we explained how our Blind Walls are made. After an artist completes their mural, our work doesn’t end. We then want to tell as many people about it as we can. We do this through social media, a newsletter, photos, videos and articles, but most importantly, through our guided tours.

During our tours, one of our guides will take you on a trip through Breda. Veronique van Zanten is one of them and since 2019 she’s been walking through the city in her Blind Walls jacket. She’s not from Breda originally, but has lived here for 15 years now: “Since I learned so much about the murals, I feel very connected to the city.” The stories behind the murals make you look at your city with different eyes, Veronique believes. “You tend to mindlessly bike, walk or drive past places as a resident. When you know what happened in a building or why a street is named a certain way, you get a different kind of appreciation for that place.” 

Tourguide Jeanne at the Blind Wall from Collin van der Sluijs | Photo by Rob Lipsius

Weekly tours
You can join a guide every Sunday to admire our open-air museum. There is a choice of three different walking routes and a bicycle route. Martijn van Poppel is responsible for scheduling the tours, contacting all participants and keeping an overview of ticket sales. At the beginning of a tour, you’ll hear what we do behind the scenes and what street art exactly is. “Guides involve the visitors in the stories they tell, in order to discover the city together. Some just like the overall design, others are interested in the creative process, some want to know everything about the history and others ask a guide about the financial and contractual picture.” 

The group of guides consists of eleven enthusiasts who are all very involved with what we do. They speak from enthusiasm, knowledge and experience. “The guides know the complete story: they have seen the archival footage from the City Archives and know the anecdotes from before, during and after the making of a Blind Wall. On our website you can read what a mural is about in one paragraph, but there is so much more to tell,” says Martijn. 

Veronique, Martijn, Lars and Anouk | Photos by Rosa Meininger

Looking differently
A Blind Walls Gallery tour is a unique way to get to know the city centre and its neighbourhoods. Lars Scheve has been a guide since last year and is heading into his second season. He was born and raised in Breda and has been interested in the murals and the stories behind them since the very first Blind Wall. “The best thing about being a guide is that I can transfer my enthusiasm and make people look at their surroundings differently. Participants sometimes see new things in places they pass daily, that’s cool.” 

In addition to her job as an art teacher, Anouk Verhoeven is also a guide. The combination between exploring the city, telling about Breda’s history and admiring murals is perfect for her. She says that a tour is never the same: “The groups are very diverse. Even though you walk the same route and tell the same story, it’s always received differently.” A mural can sometimes surprise participants. Frau Isa’s Blind Wall was inspired by the old Kwatta factory that was in Breda. “During a tour it turned out that one of the participants used to work there. She could tell all kinds of stories about what happened behind the factory walls,” says Anouk.  

Cohesion
The best thing about being a guide, Veronique thinks, is that you make people aware of something they didn’t notice or know before. “Participants are often familiar with murals but they often don’t realise that there’s so much coherence and a link with cultural heritage in them. No matter where you start during a tour, it all ties together nicely,” she says. 

In addition to the weekly tours on Sundays, we also offer educational tours and custom tours, which you can match entirely to your wishes. During educational tours, primary and secondary school students discover the murals in an interactive way. You can find more information here. 

Tourguide Rebecca bij de Blind Wall van Mantra | Foto door Joost van Asch

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