You finally get around to it in the summer holidays: reading a thousand-page book, playing your favourite game and watching all five seasons of a popular Netflix series in one go. Fantastic for a few days, but you can soon get bored with your student accommodation and your parents’ sofa. Luckily there’s more than enough to do in Rotterdam this summer. Street art lover Dave Vanderheijden, Ludivine Berouard from the Student Art Association and Kirstin Feberwee and Willem Scholten, event organisers at SG Erasmus, share their art and culture tips.

1. Fernando Botero in De Kunsthal: celebrate life the Latin way

Dancers, 2002, Fernando Botero Image credit: Kunsthal Rotterdam

IBA student and art lover Ludivine Berouard thought that the university didn’t do enough to generate enthusiasm for art among its students. That’s why she decided to establish the Student Art Association (SAA) together with a friend. “Rotterdam is an incredibly arty city, but students often miss the best events because they only hear about these once they’re over.” To prevent this happening this summer, Ludivine’s tip is the ‘Celebrate Life!’ exhibition by Colombian artist Fernando Botero in De Kunsthal. “De Kunsthal art gallery always has fantastic exhibitions that are really diverse; there’s something for every visitor.” As well as the Botero exhibition, every Sunday in July is all about Latin-American life: “A unique way to spend your Sunday afternoons: fantastic art, cocktails and live Latin music.”

2. Street art in the Witte de Withkwartier: Rotterdam’s Banksy

Image credit: Rewriters010

“At the beginning many people were sceptical about my idea of bringing street art to Rotterdam”, explained Dave Vanderheijden, the man behind the Rewriters010 project. He decided to bring all the street artists’ talents together and developed the Rewriters app together with the Municipality of Rotterdam to enable those interested to enjoy an art city walk. “Take a look and try it”, said Dave to his critics. After a walk along the murals, even they were convinced: street art is real art. If you want to see Rotterdam’s Banksy’s works with your own eyes, Dave suggests Hoornbrekerstraat and Eendrachtsstraat. “There’s a lot of street art particularly in and around the Witte de Withkwartier area. On a nice day and with a bit of luck you can even see a ‘wall in progress’.”

3. Pleinbioscoop & Roffa Mon Amour: much more social than Netflix

Image credit: Serge Feldmann

“Watching a film together outdoors is much nicer than watching one at home on the sofa”, explained Kirstin Feberwee, event organiser at SG Erasmus. “It’s such a different atmosphere. A good film can really bring people together.” As organiser of the Open Air Cinema on the university campus, Kirstin’s tips are two film festivals. “For a few euros you can see the best films of the past year at de Pleinbioscoop cinema from 10 to 18 August. From Lantarenvenster films to the Pathé blockbusters; they are all shown in the Museumpark.” There are special evenings as well as the standard evenings, such as a Golden Oldie evening and an evening organised for the deaf and hard of hearing. “Really special. You’re suddenly ordering your drink in sign-language.” Roff Mon Amour takes place two weeks earlier, from 27 to 31 July. You can watch films with headphones on at this festival, organised on the Hofbogen. “That is because of the noise nuisance, but it’s also for the silent disco at the end of the film.”

4. Art evening in the Witte de Withkwartier: free art & drinks

Image credit: Job Zomerplaag

Witte de Withstraat Art Evening is the place for art lovers, but also for students who want to discover Rotterdam’s art scene”, explained SAA chair Ludivine Berouard enthusiastically. Although Witte de Withstraat is mainly known as a nightlife area among most students, Ludivine suggests trying the free art evening that takes place on the first Friday of every month. On that evening, the next one is planned for 5 August, the art galleries and museums in the street open their doors to the public for free. Ludivine also sees opportunities for art lovers to convince their friends to enjoy an evening of art: “Most galleries offer free drinks during the evening. That seems to me to be a good way to get your friends to go with you.”

5. Metropolis Festival: the festival headliners of the future

De Likt – Metropolis 2014-0131
Image credit: Ruben Hamelink

“Feyenoord hooligans headbanging to Syrian wedding music is not an unusual scene at the Metropolis Festival.” Willem Scholten, music lover and programme maker at SG Erasmus, is looking forward to the free festival that will take place in the Zuiderpark on 3 July: “Although the festival is free, that says nothing about the music quality. It’s actually really great.” The festival offers a stage to a wide range of musical styles played by local talent as well as promising newcomers from abroad. “You can discover really good bands there; for instance, The Black Keys and The Killers were once on the line-up.” But it’s not just the music that’s surprising: “The festival audience is just as diverse: “From rich to poor, hipsters to real rockers; they all travel to the deep south. This is Rotterdam at its best.”