Kaapstad: A sympathetic conquest of the city center

In Tilburg you don't have to be bored for a single moment throughout the year. Even better: generally speaking, you miss more than you see. Luckily, we're here for you! Ticket to Tilburg is the leisure lighthouse on which you can navigate. The medicine against FOMO. The place where you can find out everything about the chilliest hotspots, the coolest events and the most beautiful cultural pearls. How about Kaapstad, the crazy art takeover and city hacking event that descends on the bubbling city center from August 13 to 15?

It's not an art tour. It's not an outdoor exhibit. And it's not vandalism either. So what is Kaapstad then? Well, a three-day hijacking of the inner city by artists from home and abroad! With artworks, performances and installations - often interactive - they question the world as you know it. Armed with creativity, wonder and confusion, they invite passers-by and conscious visitors to look at the city center, yourself and society in a different way. Artistic directors Anja Reinhardt and Sander van Bussel were kind enough to tell us why you shouldn't miss Kaapstad.

Conquer without barbed wire

"Public space belongs to all of us," says Sander. "Especially the city center, which is used by different people in the morning than at night. It is a complex area, where all kinds of written and unwritten rules apply. And where every square meter has a purpose or is claimed. During Kaapstad, it is artists who appropriate the city center. By hijacking the center for three days, we challenge everyone to look with different eyes at the city you normally take for granted. We do this with humorous installations, interactive performances and artworks that make you think. Kaapstad is a sympathetic conquest of the city center. Without barbed wire but with art and dialogue."

"We put things on edge and want to amaze people"
- Anja Reinhardt

Photograph: Jostijn Ligtvoet

Forget what you know about the city

Under the inspiring artistic guidance of Sander and Anja, some 29 artists and collectives will take over Tilburg's city center. Anja: "Where the center is always about commerce and entertainment, so 'the outside', during Kaapstad we focus on other, inner values. We put things on edge and want to surprise people and stimulate their senses. We explore the deeper layers of the city. By doing that, something banal like a lamppost or an electricity box can suddenly endear you, or give you food for thought." "Kaapstad is - exclamation points!!! - deliberately not an art tour," says Sander. "It's an event, a way to experience the city. You think you know your city, but that image turns out to be false for three days. Just like when you come back home after a long vacation and think, 'I've never seen the city like this before!' That's the Kaapstad effect."

Art that asks questions

"I strongly believe that art can add something to the social debate and even set things in motion," says Anja. "It is an engine for discussion, debate and change. Kaapstad is unique because there is always interaction, a dialogue. The artists ask questions with their works, make you think. And sometimes you really are part of a work or performance. Of course you can also watch from the sidelines. But participating is much more fun!" Sander also emphasizes the importance of dialogue during Kaapstad: "Engaging in conversation keeps you awake and critical. We don't have to agree with each other, as long as we keep talking, debating and can question things."

"You think you know your city, but that image turns out to be incorrect for three days."
- Sander van Bussel

Kaapstad  <3 Tilburg

The Kaapstad captains are happy that the event is a fixture in the Tilburg summer program. "Tilburg is a perfect breeding ground for us," says Anja. "That has to do with the spaciousness. It is a city that has not yet been rigidly designed, full of loose ends in terms of style and aesthetics. That's why the city isn't completely hammered out and filled in. Tilburg appeals to me precisely because there is room for experimentation." Sander adds: "Tilburg is unfinished and therefore the ideal place for Kaapstad . The raw edges give us and the artists room to play, wonder and experiment. At the same time, the city is developing rapidly, so we have to guard this rawness. It would be a shame if we eventually turn into a city that has been planned to the bone. We are not Venice."

Photograph: Jostijn Ligtvoet

Come and see!

Three aerials that make music out of your behavior. A drag performance with circus influences. Riding megaphones that want to chat with you. An interactive sculpture of 169 skippy balls. A huge periscope in the Heuvelstraat. A rabbit in a shop window. This and much, much more can be seen and experienced in Kaapstadn this year. But suppose you only have one hour... what must you have seen? Sander chooses, after a long hesitation, De Periscoop van het Belgische collectief Instituut voor de Volkswarmte. "A periscope, mounted on a small car, shifts your horizon to what is happening 5 meters above you. Residents at a cup of coffee. A warehouse full of naked mannequins. Or a dance performance. What you find when you peek through the device in the Heuvelstraat is a surprise every time." For Anja, the One Minute Sculptures by Erwin Wurm are a must-see. As a visitor, you are invited to transform yourself into a sculpture for one minute based on crystal-clear instructions and using various objects. "These interactive sculptures make my heart beat faster. Indeed, Erwin Wurm takes audience participation to a higher level in the 10 works he is putting up in Kaapstad. Read the instruction, take a seat on a pedestal and become a work of art for a moment."

Creative hijacking of public space is not reserved for artists, according to Anja and Sander. The public plays a key role. Sander: "Everyone can get involved, gladly even. Go on a voyage of discovery and join us in hijacking!" Let's do it, Sander!


Kaapstad takes place from Friday 13 to Sunday 15 August in the center of Tilburg and is free to attend. All artworks, installations and performances can be admired and experienced according to the corona guidelines of the RIVM. Go to the website of Kaapstad for more info about the artists, the works and the locations where they can be found.

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