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Ann Eysermans at Dropa House, photo by Dropa House

Why Antwerp is ahead of Dutch culture: Dropa House

The recording studio and residency venue of Antwerp's Sound In Motion/SIM under construction is why the Belgian cultural sector is miles ahead of that of the Netherlands in one important respect. Magic word is: residency. Do It Yourself From Antwerp, the couple Christel and Koen, both marinated in the DIY ideology of punk, have long been bombarding city and world with concerts... 

'We will be surrounded by fiction.' Jeroen Olyslaegers on his new novella, the illusion of possession and modern escapism

They are quite the characters, the main characters in the books of Jeroen Olyslaegers (55). Laughingly, he talks about Wilfried Wils, the protagonist of his 2016 bestseller Wil, who never stopped talking to his creator. 'He kept commenting. I hadn't experienced a book staying alive like that before. When the book was awarded... 


KMSKA: Antwerp's 'new' museum: 'a muscle-white spaceship descended through the roof, after which the old building closed again like an oyster.'

Two museums for the price of one. With a Mona Lisa in the making. 20 km from the Dutch border. Which is more beautiful? The building or the collection? Last weekend, Antwerp's Royal Museum of Fine Arts reopened after no less than 11 years. And that resonates far beyond the port city. I walk inside with a Danish art historian,... 

There is a deep crisis in Flemish theatre. Toneelhuis is in dire straits.

In Flanders, or rather in its cultural capital, Antwerp, the theatre sector is faltering. The Toneelhuis, founded in the late 1990s as a merger between the legendary Blauwe Maandag Compagnie and city company KNS, is in crisis after the departure of Guy Cassiers. It is now losing more than half of its grant after a scathing opinion. The Flemish government is stopping... 

PODCAST - Naomi Velissariou's permanent quest: 'I wonder if I should do interpretation or connection as an artist.'

Naomi Velissariou (1984) was actually supposed to be at the Bossche Festival Boulevard 2021 with more performances. This year, her entire trilogy 'Permanent Destruction' would be performed in a setting like club rave. Fierce musical theatre, based on playwrights Sarah Kane and Heiner Müller, and concluded with the more subdued work 'Pain against Fear'. All parts have received rave reviews from audiences and press, but... 

To blaat or not to blaat. FC Bergman puts the sheep on a nice pedestal in The Sheep Song #HF21

Those blessed with the surname 'sheep' not only know that they come from a rich and honourable lineage, but also know by heart all the proverbs, sayings and name jokes, offensive or otherwise. Up to and including comradely blathering chiefs of art. Then the fact that Flemish theatre company FC Bergman is producing a show titled 'The Sheep... 

After a year and a half at home, Boogaerdt/VanderSchoot's Fremdkörper with testing access is pretty tough

There are reasons not to live in Belgium, but yesterday I was intensely longing for an evening with my southern neighbours. After all, they have 'testing for admission' in the cultural sector just a little better regulated than here. When I attended a 'testing for access' performance in Antwerp, there was a tent in front of the theatre entrance where I walked in, with a time appointment, a... 

Ruth Mackenzie's latest Holland Festival promises to be just one of the most exciting

Here it is. The one and only interactive Culture Press Holland Festival Special. A special that has already been deployed over the past few months, and will be added to in the coming month. During the festival, we have regular reviews and reports, and podcasts. A new edition of this Special will appear every week. On Mondays. And then you can also subscribe via... 

Success as a choice is one of the most dangerous fallacies of our time. The social implications of this fallacy are immense.

Late last year, the organisers of an alumni evening for research master's students asked me to defend a thesis from my current position as a cultural leader. It had to be about my position as a literary scholar by telling them about my professional path since graduation. I could frame this article hopefully and hopeful and elaborate on the competences that the... 

Jens van Daele: 'The power of women is greater than that of men'

'I admire the strength of women. I experience it as greater than that of men. Women's strength lies in the dedication with which they can deal with things. The courage to push boundaries.' Jens van Daele, in his latest theatre show 'Nighthexen 1: Jeanne', pays tribute to the strength of women and highlights their heroism from... 

Carmien Michels, European Poetry Slam champion: 'I hope I can give many people that extra push to go on their own journey of discovery'

The best performers are a few heads taller on stage than in real life. This also applies to Carmien Michels. I knew the writer, performer, slam poet and jack-of-all-trades in cultural life mostly from her legendary performances at the 2016 NK Poetry Slam and the Night of Poetry in September 2017. Radiance and presence, which... 

In Bruges, everything that could go wrong went wrong. Painter Pieter Pourbus escaped by marrying conveniently. (And being stone-faced.)

The (in Flanders) famous portrait painter Pieter Pourbus is from Gouda. You have never heard of him. Soon you will. Museum Gouda is bringing the first Pieter Pourbus exhibition to the Netherlands from 17 February 2018 to 17 June 2018. In preparation for this, you should first visit the Groeninge Museum in Bruges. In the unabashedly burgundy World Heritage city, the exhibition Pieter Pourbus and... 

Goeyvaerts and Ustvolskaya: man and woman with hammer

In February 2017, The Collective combined the radical music of Galina Ustvolskaya with the heavenly chants of Hildegard von Bingen. Less strange than it seems, as both were deeply religious and composed from inner necessity. On Thursday 26 October, Spectra Ensemble places Ustvolskaya alongside Karel Goeyvaerts at Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ. Ustvolskaya is well enough known here in the country by now, but who was... 

Rule of Three, Jan Martens/Grip. Photo: Phile Deprez.

Very different or not at all? Jan Martens on his new show Rule of Three

Rule of Three is a piece for three dancers: Steven Michel, Julien Josse and Courtney May Robertson. NAH makes the music live, the lighting is by Jan Fedinger and there are some lyrics by Lydia Davis. Rule of Three was released last month at De Singel in Antwerp, and its Dutch premiere is today at the Stadsschouwburg in Amsterdam.... 

Jan Fabre's Exciting Friends vs the Curators (part 2): At breakneck gallop through Ostend

Jan Fabre is a bit like the Jan Cremer of Flanders but younger, five times more talented, multidisciplinary and eight times more social. 'It is quite an honour to succeed Jan Hoet,' says Jan Fabre. Together with art historian Joanna De Vos, he is the curator of HET VLOT. Art is (not) lonely. The exhibition is intended to highlight the Mu.ZEE and Belgian... 

Cornelis de Vos, portrait of Abraham Grapheus (detail, author's photo)

Southern neighbours at the Mauritshuis: you'll never look at portraits the same again

You know that? That sometimes you look at the caption longer than at the painting? And then especially at who the artist is, because we don't usually know the person portrayed anyway? The Flemish portraits in the exhibition Zuiderburen at the Mauritshuis intelligently turn that around. But first, more on the Mauritshuis' extensive collaboration 

Why in Watou everything takes on a different meaning (and it's not even because of the beer)

An Arts Festival has taken place in an insignificant corner of West Flanders every summer since 1980. It smells like hops and a growing number of visitors come from the Netherlands. What is Watou's secret? How on earth does a hole of 2,000 inhabitants, which barely appears on your car navigation, end up with an Kunstenfestival that rules the village for two whole summer months every year?.... 

Inclusive Dance Event Fontys Tilburg

Dancers don't want a second career! In search of the dance artist's 'transferable skills'.

Many dance students have a one-sided view of what a successful dance career entails. Namely: dancing with the dance company of your dreams, in a theatre, on a stage. This is what Ulrika Kinn Svensson, artistic advisor at the Fontys Dance Academy in Tilburg, tells Inclusive Dance Event. But because of the weak labour and income position, partly due to disappearing subsidies, that dream does not always come true. There is... 

7 ways to make art out of US democracy. #HF17

The play La Democrazia in America (to be seen at the Holland Festival on 4, 5 and 6 June) is of course about democracy in America, but actually more about The Democracy in America. And the two should not be confused. For The Democracy in America is a 1,200-page book by French jurist De Tocqueville. This... 

Netherlands' largest war memorial aims to become symbol for refugee reception

The Belgenmonument in Amersfoort is the largest war memorial in the Netherlands. Construction started a hundred years ago. It was recently restored, but no longer has a function. New meaning is being sought. Architecture centre FASadE organised a design competition for this purpose. The aim: to give the Belgenmonument renewed meaning as a memorial but also as a symbol for the reception of contemporary displaced persons. The jury led by... 

Administrative aversion to the idea of 'world music' is international

From 19 to 23 October, more than two thousand music professionals gathered in Santiago de Compostella for the 22nd World Music Expo (WOMEX). I was there and came back with mixed feelings. My first music fair experience was the WOMEX in Rotterdam. In 2001, the Maas city was the cultural capital of Europe and thus had extra resources at its disposal. The Berlin organiser of... 

Kristien Hemmerechts: 'I'm good at putting my feelings in the closet'

A year ago, Belgian writer Kristien Hemmerechts was diagnosed with breast cancer. While embarking on a course of surgery, radiotherapy and hormone therapy, she contained the chaos in words. Her new book Er gebeurde dit, er gebeurde dat is the beautiful result of that. A vivid account of the confusion, emotions and thoughts during those first few months, framed by older... 

Bazart on Night of Poetry

Female poets dominate unprecedentedly captivating Night of Poetry #night16

'Have you really been listening to poems for three hours?' Asaf Avidan had not yet experienced anything like that. The musical headliner of the 34th Night of Poetry has yet another story to take with him on his tour. In the Netherlands, you can quiet a full hall by reading a poem. This year, that even succeeded ... 

New wing Museum De Pont Tilburg from the garden.

Museum De Pont, where an extra 1,000 flowers are now blooming

One of the most beautiful museums in the Netherlands can be found in Tilburg, a city still seen by some as the frayed edge of the Netherlands. This central part of Brabantstad also receives relatively little funding from the government. So how can one of the best museums in the world be located here? Museum De Pont, like Huis... 

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