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Europaplein Station

Gerald van der Kaap, ‘I want a permanent wave’, 2018

Europaplein | Europe

Europaplein Station provides access to the RAI, the ROC and the Amsterdam School architecture of the Rivierenbuurt. About 20,000 passengers use the station every day, including as a connection to the Amsterdam RAI railway station. The RAI trade fair complex is highly regarded internationally and attracts many foreign visitors – for example, the International Broadcasting Convention alone draws 55,000 visitors from all over the world.

The complex accommodates the most diverse events: from household trade fairs to Aquatech, from the Amsterdam Boat Show to the lawyers’ congress, from the hospitality industry trade fair to a meeting about new cancer therapies. The RAI connects colleagues, traders and compatriots in various fields and is a place where many different languages are spoken, national as well as professional. In short, interesting starting points to view Amsterdam from a European perspective.

The two large platform walls were designated as the location for the artwork at Europaplein Station. These offered space for a work that offers a European perspective on Amsterdam, which makes the station recognizable as a stop for the RAI and evokes a feeling of warmth as a counterweight to the somewhat inhospitable immediate station environment.


Video stills from one Gerald van der Kaap’s shows | Image: from a sketch by Van der Kaap.

Brief Encounter

Gerald van der Kaap (Enschede, NL, 1959) was awarded the commission to carry out his design for Europaplein Station. A sentence from an old travel dictionary was the starting point for his design: I want a permanent wave / Ik wil een permanente golf. They are sentences that Van der Kaap often used in his performances as a vj. They are exemplary for the different interpretations of language.

When Van der Kaap works as a vj, he mixes a multitude of images together. Here he uses the same method, but the images are solidified, as it were. The rhythm of the design is dictated by the sentence ‘I want a permanent wave’ and a cinematic scenario. On the wall of the North-bound platform a man appears, and on the wall of the South-bound platform, a woman. For a moment they are connected to each other in a Brief Encounter.


The photographs in the artwork were taken by Van der Kaap himself, in the structural work of the station and in the nearby ice cream parlour. He cast the models, had the clothes designed and staged the different scenes in the photo story. A story that seems to be a contemporary version of the tale of Zeus and Europa. It is not entirely coincidental that somewhere in the floor of the station there is embedded a Greek 2-Euro coin that depicts this mythological scene.

Van der Kaap carried out the work by putting the image in the different layers of the hardened glass and alternating blank parts with coated ones. The back of the panels consists of a reflective coating. By applying these materials, depth and movement are created. In combination with the monumentality and the highly narrative character of the artwork, as a traveller you will become part of the story: you literally enter it.


Old notebook with the sentence ‘I want to have a permanent wave’ | Image: from a sketch by Van der Kaap

About the artist

Van der Kaap is an artist, photographer, and vj and frequently creates works for public spaces.  In his debut film ‘Beyond Index’, about a group of art students who copy European masterpieces in a Chinese painting factory, the colour blue makes for change.

About the work

Title: ‘I want a permanent wave’ | Opening: 17 May 2018. | Material: photography and digitally composed prints mounted between glass. | Measurement: two walls, each circa 4.5 x 120 m.


The artwork right before the preview | Photo: Jorrit ’t Hoen.