Koloniaal Rotterdam, Netherlands

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Educational app

Colonial Rotterdam, Netherlands

Commissioned by the Municipality of Rotterdam, ArtiShock has developed this Mixed Reality app ‘Colonial Rotterdam’. The app and the underlying framework (CityTourXR) was developed to make the colonial- and slavery past visible at various locations in Rotterdam with the insights and technology of today. The app is part of a broad curriculum for primary, secondary and secondary vocational education.

The city of Rotterdam as we know it today has become so partly due to colonialism and slavery in the past. That history works through in the present. The city is committed to making the divided past a future that connects Rotterdammers. For this purpose -among other things- three books have been published that form the basis for the information in the app.

Download the Koloniaal Rotterdam app (Dutch only)

icon android playstore

Multiple Augmented Reality experiences are integrated into this -publicly available- app. In addition to Virtual Reality, there is 360-degree footage, videos and special animations have been integrated. Each location has additional -in-depth- information.

The absence of a building, street or square does not mean that a story has come to an end, cannot be told or has never existed. The absence of a building, street or square only implies that the story must be told from other sources.*

*From the book: Het koloniale verleden van Rotterdam, (red. Gert Oostindie)

Rotterdam and colonialism

In Rotterdam there are many locations with an origin or reference to a colonial past. Physical routes through this beautiful city allow students (and the general public) to experience this past in a unique way.

From 1600 onwards, some Rotterdam administrators, entrepreneurs and navigators had an important part in Dutch colonialism, in plantations, in slavery and in the slave trade. This app wants to contribute to social awareness around this topic.


The app wants to make the colonial and slavery past visible with the insights and technology of today. In addition to text, sound and images, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality(VR) have also been added.


You can experience a short and long route. The short route is about 3.5 kilometers (and takes about 2 hours). This is indicated on the map using a colored dotted line. You can supplement these (by bike?) With the other locations of the long route on the interactive map.

Virtual Reality Portraits of young urban

Recordings have also been made with Rotterdam young people for this app. The VR part can be discovered with the -specially designed PopupCardboard for this app-. Students and other users of the app can also use a regular Cardboard. This part of the app is intended for the first and second class of secondary education.

“We wanted to make a genuine VR experience. No contrived acting based on made-up stories or role-affirming characters. We wanted real stories from today that children can draw strength from. It gives an insight into how young people from Rotterdam deal with their ethnic background.”

If you have your own mobile VR viewer, such as a Google cardboard, you can probably use it.

The PopUpCardboard to experience the VR portraits

“We wanted to make a genuine VR experience from ArtiShock. No contrived acting based on made-up stories or role-affirming characters. We wanted real stories from today that children can gain strength from.”


The Colonial Rotterdam app was created by ArtiShock Productions with the CityTourXR platform. This platform offers space for companies, organisations and governments to independently create and manage multimedia content.

Other cities can also use the CityTourXR platform. The platform offers the possibility to create multiple extensive routes and share information about a city or about events. Whether it’s a historical or cultural tour or a nature trail, the platform offers a wide range of possibilities.

Advantages of the CityTourXR platform:

  • Accessibility: The entire content of the app can be pre-loaded before the tour, so users don’t need a mobile data plan;
  • Branding: The app can be designed in your own style and branding, allowing you to have a unique identity;
  • Augmented and Virtual Reality: We provide support for professional (interactive) elements such as animated films and greenscreen recordings. We also develop customized AR and VR experiences;
  • Content Management: You can independently create and manage textual and visual content through a user-friendly content management system;
  • Multiple routes: You can create multiple routes within the same app;
  • No additional costs: Once published, there are no maintenance, subscription, or other costs unless you choose to add them;
  • Development time: The average production time, including communication, is approximately 3 months.


  • We also offer the possibility to take a simple AR city tour. Then you can independently create routes and post Augmented Reality content. That then happens within an existing app- environment. However, no branding is possible, there are recurring subscription fees + any charges depending on usage.


Turn-key production of such a project is time-consuming and complex. In a nutshell you have to deal with oipsetting a project plan, research, concept development, content creation, design and technical realisation. Below is a small impression of the Colonial Rotterdam project:

Er is veel te ontdekken in de app Koloniaal RotterdamKoloniaal Rotterdam
De Rotterdamse dames van het Black Gospel Choir 4U voor St. Mary's Church
Multatuli wrote his indictment 'Max havelaar'
VR opnames met Spoken Word-Artist Amara van der Elst Amara van de Elst
Research: Muur vol met content in de voorbereiding
Straatinterview met Shieneey Harinandansingh van Roffa Takkies
Music is also significant in the history of Rotterdam
Animatie met Tyler Koudijzer
Street names in AR explaining where the names come from
Een kleine toespraak van de Burgemeester van Rotterdam
Even de Naomi
Nathanael Allen verteld in Virtual reality
Explanation in the app with cards how it worked at the time
VR Recordings with Tyler Koudijzer
Alexandra van Dongen, curator museum Boijmans van beuningen
The Dutch East Indie monument tells stories from a country that does not exist (anymore)
Graphic translation for people of color
Consultation with the sounding board group
Enkele schermen van de app
VR icon within the app
Consultation in style of course with a tree trunk, a pirate, a dinosaur and a flower 😉


The CityTourXR platform can be used for events, cultural historical heritage (such as a monument route) but also for music festivals and culinary- or shopping routes and so on…


Do you want to know more about the CityTourXR platform? Please feel free to contact us via projects@artishock.com or call +31(0)78-6314375

Coming about

The Colonial Rotterdam app has been realised with the utmost care. Three books have been published on behalf of the municipality that form the basis for the information in this production. In addition, a wide sounding board group of specialists in the field of education, slavery- and colonial past was used and various civil society organisations were consulted.

Experts, organisations and sources

We thank everyone who has put their shoulders to this fantastic platform.

The city is committed to making the divided past a future that connects Rotterdammers. Three thick books have been published for this purpose – among other things. The content of the Colonial Rotterdam app is largely a reflection of these reference books, but specifically aimed at children and also made available to anyone who wants to take note of them.

There is also a handy booklet that is available to everyone and can be obtained through the Library of Rotterdam, among other things.

Special thanks:

You don’t do a project like this alone, so we express our great appreciation and gratitude for the commitment and cooperation of the following people and organisations:

Slimeboard Group

Cultural History Advisors (& sounding board group)


  • Liane van der Linden (Indian collective memory, project coordinator Knowledge Centre Creating 010, Hogeschool Rotterdam | Advisor heritage, art and diversity)
  • Alex van Stipriaan (Professor of Caribbean History and Advisor to Intercultural and Heritage Projects)


  • Adnan Delic (Hugo de Groot College)
  • Inge Spaander (Media teacher)
  • Irina Nojoredjo (Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences)
  • Jacqueline Blaak (PCBO Rotterdam)
  • Mark Aarts (Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences)
  • Ineke Struijk (Basic School Wereldwijs)

Social Organisations

  • Sidris van Sauers (Radar Rotterdam)
  • Loulou Drinkwaard (wild Hair publishing house)
  • Lorenzo Elstak (Stichting IkBenWij)
  • Cedric Krolis (RUTU Rotterdam)

Municipality of Rotterdam




  • latysha Pocorni (PPMO Frontline, Municipality of Rotterdam )
  • Ruud Rakers (Project Manager of the City of Rotterdam)
  • Eddie Meijer (senior advisor at City council Rotterdam)
  • Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb

Text content, animations, Augmented and Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality Portraits

Special thanks to the people below who have worked for the Virtual Reality portraits with authentic stories


  • Nathanael Allen
  • Amara van der Elst
  • Naomi Martosoewondo
  • Tallia Tuharea
  • Serghinio Front

Illustration introduction page:

  • Menno van der Weerd


Image group of resistance heroes stock exchange building

  • Vany Hay (dia Di Tula)

Black Gospel Choir 4U

Augmented Reality: Voices and Vocals for the Brave Story of St. Mary’s Church

  • Audrey, Jasmine, Lucia, Irsah, Theo, Joke, Ruth, Gisela, Shirley, Jolanda and Gerda

Indian State Jewellery / Dutch East Indies ~Monument

Augmented Reality: Portraits based on the book ‘Growing up in a country that no longer exists’

  • Mary-Ann Struijk-Deuning (Author, photographer and voice-over)
  • Aart Deuning (Voice-over)

Farmer’s hole

Animation film of Shipyard Rotterdam’s prosperity in collaboration with


  • Tyler Cold Iron (Spoken Word Artist & Performer)

Content & footage

Rotterdams Archives

Roffa Takkies (video homepage)

  • Shieneey Harinandandingh & colleagues

Nederlands Fotomuseum

  • Carolin Provase

World Museum Rotterdam

  • Titia Erasure
  • Marleen Rose Brand
  • Maria Rey

Maritime Museum Rotterdam

  • Hanneke Kempen

Museum Boijmans van Beuningen

  • Alexandra van Dongen (Conservator of Historical Design)

Rotterdam Partners / Schielandshuis

  • Judith Farmer
  • Guido Pijper (Photographer)

RTV Rijnmond

  • Jacqueline Stokman

Media Merci Photo Press Office

  • Pascal Lugtmeijer (Photographer)

Jazz Archives / Allard Pierson


  • Guus Bauer (Writer / Reviewer)

Concept production and engineering


Orb Amsterdam

AR & App development


  • Doruk Eker
  • Gianluca Di Vincenzo


Web & Content Management development


  • Joey den Braven

ArtiShock Productions BV

Research, content, production & design

  • Lydia Bolle (Administration & finance)
  • Davey Boy Corner (Sr. AR & 3D development)
  • Marid de Bruin (3D draftsman & animator)
  • Marcel Massing (3D artwork, project management, photography, text and research)
  • Cristian Vorstius Kruijff (Design, concept, art-direction & project management)

Vision on technology

Augmented and Virtual Reality and emerging visual technologies will profoundly change the way we perceive our environment and organise our social and professional lives. It will become an extension of ourselves and our senses. ArtiShock develops these intelligent technical-visual solutions. These contribute to a positive way people experience their environment.

Also take a look at these cases:

Marinersmuseum: Virtual City Viewer Rotterdam
Virtual City Viewer developed for the Marinesmuseum Rotterdam is about their resistance in May 1940.
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Historical panels in 3D storytelling for museum
3D animation of 15th century paintings
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Lalique’s Jewels as a Holograms
Jewels from the Rene Lalique collection can soon be experienced as Holograms in 3D. Normally in the safe, now these jewels are on display
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webAR- and social media AR for the International Film Festival Rotterdam
Tiger on the Loose! During the International Film Festival Rotterdam you can -at your own risk- enter the film world of the tiger with web-based AR (Augmented Reality).
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