Skip to content


Theaterplatz Weimar with Günther Ücker's Steinmal, where the AfD holds fascist rallies on Mondays.

Journal Kunstfest Weimar #3: When remembering becomes a problem.

Water is very good at covering things up. Sixty kilometres south of Weimar is a huge reservoir, about which the locals know little more than that the hydroelectric plant supplies power to houses and the steelworks, a few kilometres away. At least one village has also disappeared, and artist cum experimental radio maker Sandra Rücker found out that her... 

Nietzsche's packed furniture. photo: author

Diary Weimar (2): what would Nietzsche have thought of it (or his sister)?

I had - in a previous house - a neighbour who gave a young tree in front of our apartment complex a bucket of water every day. He had a thing for trees, as he had brought back some Sequoia seeds from a trip to the US, back in the day. He had put these in the ground in various places. One near the house, and that one, because of possible... 

Theaterplatz, Weimar. citizens of the city of Weimar read out all the names d=of the victims of Buchenwald, while Günther Uecker's cairns are being built (Photo: author)

Journal Kunstfest Weimar (1): elderly and fragile.

A lone madman? An unsuspecting visitor would think so, and when I arrived at the Theaterplatz in Weimar yesterday afternoon, I was that unsuspecting visitor. During the opening speeches of Kunstfest Weimar, a man shouted insulting texts at Bodo Ramelow, the prime minister of 'Free State of Thuringia'. The man dressed in a yellow vest was taken away by the police. Later, during a very oppressive... 

Created with Midjourney AI, via the prompt: dog staring picasso style

Beware the new myths of anti-woke

Scored a new bullshit bingo card, today. 'Art must no longer tingle, I quit'. Big headline in a quality newspaper, with below it the terrible story of gallery owner Jeanette Dekeukeleires of Gallery Art Kitchen. The 60-year-old says she is quitting her job because nothing more is allowed. (Read the story here) For instance, she received complaints from young people about the famous PSP poster with that naked woman.... 

The cultural sector needs to be protected from itself. Maryam Hassouni makes that crystal clear in What the Fak!

Patronisation! Woke terror! These were some of the reactions from the film world when there were calls for the appointment of an intimacy coordinator at Dutch film productions. As if anyone could allow or display sexually transgressive behaviour in a studio with 40 other staff around it. Impossible! Yesterday, the book Wat de Fak! by award-winning actress Maryam Hassouni was published and in it, it states... 

The attack on The Girl with the Pearl Earring is the provisional low point of Instagram madness.

A temperature record will be broken in the Netherlands on 28 October. Yet another, and it is indeed incomprehensible that on this day people still book a plane for a weekend in Barcelona. It is unfortunately also incomprehensible that on this 27th October 2022, a young man sticks his head next to the head of The Girl with the... 

IN PERSPECTIVE #10: Tea, biscuits and a working title: Cultural Netherlands

I had coffee, tea and snacks ready. I had also asked my son, the designer, to sketch an example of a future logo for 'Cultureel Nederland'1. Although the Federation of Culture (FC)'s heyday took place at the chairman's house and not on the heath, it was meant to be a heyday. That is, an informal conversation about... 

Anthony Heidweiller: Secretary of State, come up with a Delta Plan for a fundamental place of art in society.

Let's start yesterday with a fundamental dialogue with the entire arts sector, using the vitality and creativity of the arts as inspiration, both for the sector itself and for society as a whole. Our sector talking, thinking, participating, deciding! in good times and in bad times. Never be silent again ...


Today I must write about A.L. Snijders, the totally idiosyncratic inventor of the Very Short Story. I have admired his work ever since I discovered it through Vrijstaat Austerlitz (1997-1999), a literary magazine that ran for only four issues. Those are probably the best literary magazines, the fewer issues they cover the better. Arjan Witte and Tommy Wieringa, two of the founders... 

Goodbye movie house, longing for museums: (my) insights after corona

What does culture visit after corona look like? The topic came up regularly on this site in recent months. I myself wrote two personal contributions on it. Now that cultural institutions may almost reopen their doors, the crystal ball is giving way to reality. In my article on 'the promise of the empty hall', I noted a reluctance to... 

Also in my mind, 'Journey through the night' is due for a 35th printing

The 35th(!) edition of Reis door de nacht, the classic novel written by Anne de Vries, was published recently. As a ten-year-old boy, I sympathised intensely with the war adventures of Jan de Boer and his family members. The book is also a metaphor for my own struggle against darkness. It is a lovely spring day. In the ditch, a duck swims with her... 

Dear Mr Rutte: Why should music schools stay closed? Why so arbitrarily?

Dear outgoing Prime Minister Rutte, dear Mark, This is the first time I have turned to you, the first time at all for me to write such a letter. I have to get something off my chest, because I can no longer follow or understand it all. Before I point out what is bothering me, I will write to myself... 

'A structural show of love for the arts and culture from The Hague is needed in the Netherlands.'

Dear outgoing Prime Minister Rutte, Dear Mark, In my capacity as a self-employed person working in the performing arts, I am writing you this letter. This is my first letter ever about the situation of the cultural sector, culminating in corona time. First by way of introduction: we met when I played a Scarlatti sonata especially for you at the TV programme Podium Witteman, and also... 

Patrick Dupond danced in No Man's Land (5 March 2021)

Patrick Dupond danced in No Man's Land (5 March 2021)

Male ballet dancers have heroes. Ever since ballet training. A few of them are timeless, like Vaslav Nijinsky, Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov. After that, tastes vary, depending on which period you danced in and which style particularly suits you: Anthony Dowell, Peter Martins, Carlos Acosta, or more recently Sergei Polunin and Daniil Simkin. Last week, one of my dance heroes passed away: Patrick... 

The cultural sector can and must emerge stronger from this crisis. And that starts with political vision and ambition.

The Dutch cultural sector is in distress. Halbe Zijlstra's spending cuts ten years ago started a free fall that has still not stopped. The Social and Economic Council (SER) calculated that these cuts of 200 million not only caused impoverishment in cultural supply, but also wreaked havoc on the labour market. 20 thousand permanent jobs disappeared 

You don't forget tap, but tap dancing does. Why it is bad that art is not mentioned

Everyone balks. Let's put that first. And a lot of people are badly affected. Hospitality, retail, schoolchildren and especially students: everything that is not necessary for survival balks. So does the arts. Not all art, of course, especially larger institutions are coming through the corona crisis reasonably well so far. Quiet and closed, but not bankrupt. We can't take that from... 


The other day I read how a millennial called cartoonist Peter de Wit (born 1958) a "dinosaur" because of a joke he didn't like. The joke goes like this: a woman happily enters psychiatrist Sigmund's office and tells him that she can translate the poem The hill we climb because she is a woman, black, young ánd a spoken word artist. Sigmund congratulates her and... 

Raymond K. is in love; a piece with butterflies in the stomach as spring arrives

Every Sunday morning is like a lockdown. The city streets are deserted. I encounter only characters from my stories. Two men and a woman with phone numbers on their chests walk around lost. They no longer know who they are or where to go. A retired writer searches desperately for the pages of a lost story.... 

Opinion: Arts and culture are thrown out with the rubbish in Brabant

On 24 December 2020, the provincial hearing and objection committee issued an opinion to the Provincial Executive of the province of North Brabant in response to eight submitted objections. Then -only a month later- on 26-1-2021, a communication dated 26-1-2021 from the Board of GS to Provincial Councils and a press release to the cultural institutions that submitted an application 2021-2024 appeared.... 

The stuffiness from Maeve Brennan's stories is easy to spot at the moment

It is no coincidence that I am rereading The Twelve Year Wedding just now. Because the tightness in the story resembles the tightness of our own time. Like Delia and Martin Bagot, we are trapped in a suffocating existence. Shun contact with fellow human beings. Miss the fresh air of visits to cafés, museums, film houses and theatres. Dublin 1917 is the Netherlands 2021.


'It's really starting to become something with me now anyway,' poems Vrouwkje Tuinman with healthy self-irony in the collection Lijfrente. In her case, you could say that - Lijfrente won the Great Poetry Prize last year. It's a beautiful line, well suited to mumble to yourself on occasion. Too inappropriate is the most fun: you... 

Small Membership
175 / 12 Maanden
Especially for organisations with a turnover or grant of less than 250,000 per year.
No annoying banners
A premium newsletter
5 trial newsletter subscriptions
All our podcasts
Have your say on our policies
Insight into finances
Exclusive archives
Posting press releases yourself
Own mastodon account on our instance
Cultural Membership
360 / Jaar
For cultural organisations
No annoying banners
A premium newsletter
10 trial newsletter subscriptions
All our podcasts
Insight into finances
Exclusive archives
Posting press releases yourself
Own mastodon account on our instance
Private Membership
50 / Jaar
For natural persons and self-employed persons.
No annoying banners
A premium newsletter
All our podcasts
Have your say on our policies
Insight into finances
Exclusive archives
Own mastodon account on our instance
en_GBEnglish (UK)