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It is with great regret that the Holland Festival is forced to cancel the 73rd edition, which was to take place from 4 to 28 June 2020. The corona pandemic-induced, domestic and foreign restrictions and uncertainties make it impossible for the international performing arts festival to take place.

The ongoing, restrictive measures that the central government had to announce 21 April last sealed the fate of the 73rd edition of the festival. It is no longer possible for the Holland Festival to realise the festival in its announced form. The Holland Festival is an international performing arts festival with artists from more than 20 countries presenting their work in artistic coherence. The uncertainty about the various global measures with travel restrictions and quarantines, the impossibility of rehearsing or producing, the uncertainties about the use of Dutch theatres and concert halls, the loss of international presentation partners and the cancellation of performances and tours by companies themselves, have made the complex puzzle in June 2020 impossible to realise. Above all, the safety of audiences and performers is paramount. The festival does not want to take a risk in this.

Art matters. It is precisely because we have to miss it that we and our audience realise all the more how important it is to be able to watch and listen to performances and concerts as a collective experience. This is why the festival organisers are exploring alternative ways to still be able to show part of the programme in June with many of the artists who would be performing in the festival and with various collaborative partners. Including streamings, films, radio recordings, vlogs and blogs and podcasts, the makers will show what they are working on. The festival will be accessible online under the title Holland Festival 2.0-2.0. Also for this edition, the connecting theme is In pursuit of the we, which is more relevant than ever in these times of 'social distancing'.

Emily Ansenk, festival director: "The festival that is artist-driven and always puts the artists at the centre, realises that many of them have been working for months and years on wonderful productions that will not be seen, or only later. The Holland Festival explicitly expresses its support to the makers, artists and companies involved. Among other things, we will pay co-production contributions that have already been spent."

Martijn Sanders, chairman of the supervisory board: "The impact of cancelling the festival for the first time in its seventy-three years of existence hits the festival team extremely hard. We are convinced that contemporary art reflecting on social themes is more important than ever in the current times. We are pleased that the artists and the festival team remain committed to continuing to showcase the art, in an online edition."

Bill T. Jones, associate artist 2020, on the festival's cancellation:
"Recently, I had a revelation during a COVID conversation. A fellow artist said to me: 'This disruption and the disappointment that many artists are facing now is business as usual for the creative class.' She went on to say that we are trained for the 'accident', the 'unforeseen', the 'disruptive'...! Artists are temperamentally suited to improvise, reinvent and find solutions! The circumstance of the COVID crisis has placed this belief in jeopardy. Can I/we truly pick up the pieces, move forward refashioning circumstances as we go? An honest answer is, 'I don't know...'. However that region of my mind and heart where the will resides says, 'We must go on. We must recreate. We must keep faith.' I continue to enjoy and learn a great deal from my partners at the Holland Festival. Their professionalism, bravery and deep humanity fuel my resolve and I am grateful for this. To the Future."

The Holland Festival expressly thanks its funders. The generous leniency and support of a number of key partners, namely the Ministry of OCW, the City of Amsterdam, Fonds 21, Ammodo, many private foundations and donors and media partners NTR, VPRO and De Groene Amsterdammer enable us to realise an alternative festival.

Members of the public who have already bought tickets will be actively approached by the festival organisers in the coming period. They will be offered the opportunity to convert tickets into vouchers for 2021, donate the amount or get a refund.

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