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Entrance to the Gemeentemuseum. Photo Studio Vollaerszwart

How the citydresser gives everything Mondrian colours, and why the museum is fine with that

On Piet Mondrian's birthday, 7 March, the municipality of The Hague offered its residents a colossal decorated cake. It is part of a very active campaign around 100 years of De Stijl. While the Gemeentemuseum is presenting three substantive Stijl exhibitions this year, The Hague is going all out with Stijl imitations and plastered shop windows. A contradiction? Less than it seems, because this citydressing... 

Para | Diso Revisited

Five days later, PARA | DISO Revisited by ICK is still in your head

The performance PARA | DISO Revisited is hard to get out of your system. The sneering angel, the ecstasy of the female dancers, the noble classical knight. And sublime dance. Man, man, man. La Divina Commedia revisited PARA | DISO Revisited is a reworking of youPARA | DISO from 2010. The work concludes a series of four volumes inspired by Dante Alighieri's... 

Gerrit Rietveld's Red and Blue Chair in original and later condition (source:

The Rietveld chair was brown - 10 things you didn't know about De Stijl #MTDD

Something with straight lines and planes and primary colours. We all get that far with De Stijl. But did you know that there was also Style music and that a mechanical figure danced to that, er, Style? Let's get things straight before the Mondrian to Dutch Design exhibition season begins. 1. Mondrian was not the big man of De Stijl Piet... 

(Un)heard in December: So close the hammers hit your forehead

Each month, in the (Un)heard series, I present extraordinary sound that does not go unnoticed and unsung. In this December edition: Brume, Cinema Perdu, Emanuele de Raymondi, Mark Fell, Zeno van den Broek and James O'Callaghan. Like a vise around the neck Brume - Mother Blast (LP, Grautag) Nicolas Moulin's Grautag label guarantees dystopian soundscapes. Those landscapes the label presents... 

Polyptych, Lada Hrsak, Misericordia, Old Church, 2016.

Old Church in search of contemporary forms of charity and mercy

Amsterdam's oldest and perhaps most beautiful building combines quite a few functions. Although tourists are dominant these days, believers still celebrate the love of God there every week. And even though the former Nicolaaskerk no longer provides space for fishermen to mend their nets, organ concerts are still given there, since the fourteenth century. Handing out bread is not... 

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... 

Photo 1. Betty-Woodman-LIVERPOOL-FOUNTAIN-artwork-in-public-space-2016

Liverpool Biennial: a grab bag that occasionally leads to wonderment

"Things happen, and then they happen again, but not the same way, not quite; such is the logic of the biennial. And then there are things which have never happened before, and which happen now and in a time that seems somehow out of time, or takes our 'now' out with it." [hints]"Things happen, and then they happen again, but not.... 

Atelier Infini. Bosquet

Peerless: 15 stories about refugees, in 49 traits and old set paintings

This is a review of a performance that is already over, and which, moreover, I participated in myself. That's not allowed at all. But it's also a story about refugees in Europe, a theatre floating above the clouds, a church made of marzipan, tunnels in Palestine and 49 draws. So I do it anyway.

Last weekend, during the Kunstenfestivaldesarts, a miracle happened at the Royal Flemish Theatre in Brussels. Scenographer Jozef Wouters and his crew had descended...

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Stagehands, stay away from that theatre!

The longer I walk around in the theatre sector, the more I find out that this so-called crisis in the performing arts is not down to the people who make theatre, nor to the people who come to see it or not. Good will is omnipresent. The only real cause for a breach of trust between actors and audiences that I can point to is the nineteenth-century invention we call 'theatre'. Let me explain.

Theatres were rather intimate soci...

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Impressive Waterline Museum maintains mystery of Fort near Vechten

A few thousand years from now, archaeologists will find a bizarre concrete sculpture in sediment layers at the bottom of the future European Sea. Round, organic shapes, a square box with ready-made chambers, pipes, and a relief in the soil. Totally different from the concrete boxes they found before. Unknowingly, they will rediscover the mystery of the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie. The... 

Architecture Film Festival: Raw concrete on the big screen

From confrontational brutalism to the flowing lines of Frank Gehry and from timeless London to the Paris of Eric Rohmer. Some of the selections from the Architecture film festival that starts on 8 October in Rotterdam. We take a dive into the programme in advance. In its existence, the AFFR has managed to hold its own against other thematic... 

Emperor Constantine and the great upheaval in Rome

The man with the firm jaws and vacant, upward-looking eyes is not particularly attractive. His face does appear on all the posters around town. However, it is something other than this robust stone head against the black background that triggers you, on the poster of the exhibition at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam. That is the tilted O of the... 

The 5 concerts not to miss at Musica Sacra

From Thursday 17 September onwards, Maastricht will be dominated by four days of arts festival Musica Sacra. Started in 1983 as the European Festival of Religious Music, other art disciplines are now also presented, in atmospheric churches and other historical venues. This year's theme is 'The Way', loosely inspired by the pilgrimage route to pilgrimage site Santiago de Compostela, with the central question of whether... 

Design Rotterdam CS has been seen before. In Monte Carlo.

Citroën lovers always got warm feelings at the sight of Rotterdam's new central station. Because indeed, that shark's mouth, with or without beach balls in front of it, is somewhat reminiscent of the iconic French car brand's logo. Well. As it turns out, the comparison goes further. Back deep in the 1960s, there was a Citroën pavilion in Monte Carlo in southern France. Citrophile... 

NJO Symphony Orchestra shakes former broadcasting station to its foundations

While the young musicians of the NJO Symphony Orchestra emit fearsome war sounds, behind them we see two toddlers frolicking uninhibitedly across the Veluwe moor. Moving and at the same time oh so appropriate, because although Carl Nielsen composed his overwhelming Fourth Symphony during the First World War (1914-16), he remained convinced of the good in man. He christened it Det Uudslukkelige, which means as much... 

passions humaines, guy cassiers, photo Kurt van der Elst

Hidden lusts of Belgians lead to great art on #HF15

2014 was the year of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, award-winning stage adaptation by Ivo van Hove. This year, that performance has been outstripped by 'Passions Humaines', written by Erwin Mortier, magisterially designed by Guy Cassiers. Again at the Holland Festival, confirming its place as a stage for the great debate on art. Two plays in which architecture, artistry and... 

Holland Festival - Back to the future with Metropolis

During the Holland Festival, theatre company La Fura dels Baus lets us experience the city of the future with the interactive performance M.U.R.S. As an overture, HF has programmed the film Metropolis, Fritz Lang's magisterial 1927 dystopian vision, which rightly became known as the mother of all future films. Iconic imagery, biblical influences, Marxist dialectics and actually still surprisingly modern. New York,... 

Work by Mirjam Hagoort on the wall of KUUB

Mirjam Hagoort makes walls tell stories in Utrecht

Not every piece of art can hang on every wall. Utrecht's Galerie Kuub has one such wall, which is a challenge for anyone wishing to hang a work of art in the otherwise generous space. This is because the wall is medieval, and over the centuries has had more layers, stamps and anchors added to it than an average new-build house will be able to handle in its lifetime. With or... 

Carceri, Peter Zuur

Visual artist Peter Zuur: sieges in a bird's eye view

,,I put discomfort in my artworks. I get that feeling when I walk through the city and see all those big buildings. The postmodern architecture with its megalomaniac mentality, and its decay, those depress me." From 29 November to 4 January, visual artist Peter Zuur is one of the exhibitors at the Pulchri Graphic Biennial, The Hague. Notably, his works... 

Sallie Harmsen and Joris Smit in Tasso (photo Kurt van der Elst)

Drama about art: to do or not to do? Ivo van Hove and Sallie Harmsen think so.

The National Theatre will premiere Blueprint for an Even Better Life on 8 November 2014, which addresses, among other things, the position of artists in society. A theme that also featured in their recent Tasso, and in Toneelgroep Amsterdam's successful The Fountainhead. Is the subject of art back on the theatre agenda due to the changed cultural politics of the past... 

Pierre Audi's latest Holland Festival opens with sublime ensemble playing of Rosas and Ictus: Vortex Temporum

It seems like a statement, opening the latest Holland Festival under Pierre Audi's direction with 'Vortex Temporum'. The collaboration between the two top Belgian ensembles Rosas and Ictus does everything that is scarce in the present day.

Suddenly controversial photo project on Sotchi gets alternative opening in Moscow

The photo documentary made by photographer Rob Hornstra on the preparations for the Sotchi Olympics will be shown in Moscow after all. At least we hope so, now that after an earlier sudden cancellation, a venue has been found at Moscow's Sakharov House. Next Friday, Dutch fans can attend the opening from Amsterdam's Stadsschouwburg (bring your own beer). Unless the row with Moscow has gone so high that instead of Willem Alexander, we have a few straa...

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