Photo of Heijplaat and Brooklyn-Curtis Bay by artist Steve Bradley

HarborTraces is an ongoing art/educational exchange involving two marginalized harbor communities: Brooklyn-Curtis Bay (also known as Baybrook) in south Baltimore, Maryland, USA and Heijplaat in the city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Brooklyn-Curtis Bay and Heijplaat are both harbor communities that have experienced a loss of industry and jobs and suffered environmental damage. Both are geographically cut off from the rest of the metropolitan area by waterways and major transportation arteries.

The artists in the exchange focus on public art projects designed to engage the members of these unique, parallel communities and invite them to examine their histories and sense of place. Many of the activities have an environmental theme.

A variety of projects have taken place over the years. While the majority of HarborTraces projects have been centered in Brooklyn-Curtis Bay and Heijplaat, similar projects have also taken place in other communities in the two cities.

The HarborTraces Baltimore-Rotterdam art/educational exchange program is spearheaded by the Baltimore-Rotterdam Sister City Committee (BRSCC). It forms one part of a constellation of ongoing activities organized by many other local institutions to empower residents in both communities. BRSCC has received several grants for this art/educational initiative and is soliciting funds from other sources.

Key objectives

  • Enhance residents’ knowledge about and engagement with local places and histories, in order to develop community pride and a sense of ownership.
  • Broaden residents’ horizons by setting up exchanges between the two cities and enabling people to share experiences. The medium of art plays a crucial part in achieving both objectives.

More information


The Baltimore-Rotterdam Sister City Committee (BRSCC) is a volunteer-run committee based in Baltimore. It is part of the Baltimore Sister Cities 501(c)(3) nonprofit association, which is affiliated with the Baltimore Mayor’s Office. BRSCC promotes economic, cultural, educational, health/environmental and other cooperation and exchanges between Baltimore, Maryland, USA and Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and supports Baltimore region’s other activities and programs related to the Netherlands and the local Dutch community. The committee encourages engagement between the two cities to creatively learn, work, and solve problems together through reciprocal exchanges and projects.

For more information about the sister city activities and mission, visit:


Baltimore-Rotterdam Sister City Committee logo

Baltimore Sister Cities logo