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STAD IN ZICHT - 14 artists give their interpretation of Amsterdam city in illustration and photography.


Maia Matches shows her first two (of four) 'stadstekenaar' comic reportages, respectfully titled 'Het Gore Lef' and 'Tuig van de Richel'. Both illustrations have been enlarged and are now showing in the main hall of the Amsterdam City Archives.


Artist Talk (a navigation of the artwork with prof Matches) -

       Sunday May 19th, 13:00

       Sunday June 2nd, 13:00

       Sunday June 9th, 13:00

The exhibition runs from May 10th - September 8th, 2019.

Location: Vijzelstraat 32, 1017 HL, Amsterdam

Made possible by:

City of Amsterdam

Amsterdam Foundation of the Arts

Friends of the City Archive of Amsterdam




Written by Natasja van Loon

On Friday January 25th, Maia Matches was installed as Stadstekenaar (City Illustrator) of Amsterdam. We found this to be self-explanatory - after all, Maia has been drawing about Amsterdam for so long - that we forgot for a moment that a born Canadian as an official illustrator of our capital Amsterdam, is not so common at all. The medium in which she works is also unusual. Never before has a cartoonist been appointed to this prestigious position.

Maia has lived in the Netherlands since 1999. In the mid-2000s, she became a chronicler of the Amsterdam underground and therefore prominent figure in the capital. She initiated the free comic newspapers - 'Orient X Press' focused on Amsterdam-Oost and 'Oeverloos' about Noord. In 2014 she drew the squatter's perspective in 'De Kraker, De Agent, De Jurist and de Stad', an investigative graphic novel about the Amsterdam squatting culture.

Yet her nomination came as a complete surprise.

"I received a phone call from the City Archives with an invitation for an interview," she says. "Without having asked for it, I was nominated for the position of City Illustrator for 2019. I didn't even know it existed, let alone what it meant. I thought it was a bad joke! Did they know they had a cartoonist on the phone? Reflecting on it, I realize this is not just a victory for me, but also for the Dutch comic scene. There just aren't enough mainstream platforms talking about comics in this country. "


However, doors are about to open for the City Illustrator. "I will do four spreads for Het Parool, in the weekend editions of January 26, April 27, July 27 and October 26. Deadlines that are suspiciously similar to the quarterly tax return," she laughs.

The original drawings will go to the City Archives, where they are made digitally accessible via

We ask Maia what themes she finds important. "My first Parool spread, 'Het Gore Lef' (The Audacity) was about an autonomous artist community, ADM. The 42 acre terrein had a flourishing existence until asbestos-sanitation company Koole B.V., became a tenant of the site and brutally evicted it. As city illustrator, I want to continue to look critically at the Amsterdam policy on vulnerable groups. My second spread will be published in Het Parool newspaper on our national holiday, King's Day. Frankly, I don't know a better opportunity to bring attention to the thousands of undocumented asylum seekers in Amsterdam."


FEB 2019 

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