“They meet each other through the Books”

photo of apartment building in Utrecht with a bookcase mural
photo credit: Jan Is De Man

There’s been some monster murals with serious messages appearing in Dublin in the last few years and, depending on you political views, you either like them or hate them but here’s a mural in the Netherlands that would bring a smile to anyone’s face (I imagine).

Dutch street artist Jan Is De Man creates murals that raise everyone’s spirits because he works with the involvement of the residents who commission him. That’s his most recent mural above – a colourful bookcase mural on an apartment building in Utrecht in the Netherlands.

Before the mural   – photo credit: Google Maps

For this mural, he was aided and abetted by fellow street artist Deef Feed who is the co-owner of their tattoo shop Blackbook Tattoos in the centre of Utrecht.

First of all they asked the residents to name their favourite books. “We were able to put 8 languages and cultures together in the one concept”, says Jan Is De Man, “everybody, every age, every culture, every language was welcome, the only rule I set up to participate in the art project was: no political books and no religious books. Besides that every book title was welcome.”

They took one week working fulltime to bring the idea from paper to wall… “The most difficult part was the initial concept planning. That’s the case with most projects – to get the right concept that fits the wall and that fits the neighbourhood – but when you have the right idea, then it’s not too difficult.”

photo of girl looking at bookshop mural in Utrecht
photo credit: Jan Is De Man

Since this heart-warming mural has been unveiled it has brought people in the area together. “This neighbourhood is filled with different cultures”, says Jan Is De Man, “but they meet each other through the books, regardless of differences in culture, regardless of their political points of view…”

Actually my favourite “mural” is the Red Squirrel in Tara Street, Dublin which was constructed entirely from bits of scrap metal. It was made by Portuguese artist Artur Bordalo who has made several of these animal murals around the world. He chose the Red Squirrel for Dublin because it is an endangered species in Ireland, due to the spread of the larger Grey Squirrel.

Red Squirrel sculpture by Artur Bordalo
Red Squirrel by Artur Bordalo   – photo credit: Irish Mirror

Have you got a favourite Mural?  What story (or what books) would you choose to put on your wall?

Source of this story

Jan Is De Man





  1. Thank you for that Eoin, I have not seen the red squirrel, will head to Tara street to see it this weekend. Haven’t noticed any murals lately, but will keep a look out. They bring life into the streets. Kevin K


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