Skip to content


My 2016, and why it scared me to death. (A list)

Five art experiences will always stick to this bizarre year for me. And one thing really scared me. Whether the worst is now behind us? At least the most extraordinary is still on view until 5 February 2017. A chronological overview of what was unbelievable, unthinkable, inconceivable, unbelievable and perhaps untrue. Much of it, by the way, will be in 2017... 

Garry Feingold and Ger Jager, Dance Makers, 2012. Photo: Jean-Pierre Jans.

Extremely rare landslide possible in contemporary dance in the Netherlands.

In contemporary dance, artistic leaders are often in place for decades, at least in the Netherlands. This week, Leo Spreksel announced his departure from Korzo, as of September 2017. After 29 years, the director and programmer of dance at the theatre and production house in The Hague is calling it a day, because "in the Netherlands, commercialisation pushes away the voice of artists: procedures and formats are... 

Bold. @martinbosma_pvv provokes threat unknown Dutch. #ikwilook

Geert Wilders was quick off the mark, after the attack in Berlin, posting a photoshopped picture of Angela Merkel with blood on her hands. The message was all too clear. Even more opportunistic and shocking was the list posted half a day later by Martin Bosma, media and culture spokesman. Bosma's tweet included a list of names. Caption "These... 

Congratulations to Daniel Reuss on royal honour!

On Tuesday 2 November, Cappella Amsterdam presented a new CD at the Orgelpark. This includes Arvo Pärt's large-scale choral work Kanon Pokajanen, which was also performed live. After the concert, chief conductor Daniel Reuss was appointed Knight of the Order of the Dutch Lion. This very high royal decoration is only awarded to people "with extraordinary merits... 

Hall view of Zvizdal. Photo: Frederik Buyckx

Unique theatre documentary 'Zvizdal' to be seen only a few times in the Netherlands

Zvizdal, the documentary theatre portrait of Pétro and Nadia filmed by Berlin between 2011 and 2016, is not only in Paris, Ghent and Athens. This moving story can also be seen in the Netherlands until 11 November 2016. Near the place where an atomic experiment failed in 1986, Berlin and Zvizdal tell a moving story about an old peasant couple. They remained as... 

Herta Müller: 'I like small things'

This week saw the publication of Nobel laureate Herta Müller's autobiography, My homeland, an apple stone. A few years ago, A Quattro Mani had an exclusive interview with the Romanian writer, when her first collection of poetry collages was published, The Skirt-chaser and its sly aunt. We spoke to her at her home in Berlin, she revealed how her poetry collages are created, and the making... 

Don't wait for the masses and determine the start of your cultural season yourself

Retrospectively, I proclaim last Monday night, 15/8, as the opening of my cultural season. Viavia I ended up, in fine company, at the Crazy Goat. A music cafe that might as well have been in New York, Paris or Berlin. This is in The Hague: an ini-mini stage in a building where the money is not spent on chipped-up old school benches,... 

Zvizdal - Chernobyl so far so close, by Berlin/The Zuidelijk Toneel

If you have nothing but love - Zvizdal is stunning highlight of Festival Boulevard #tfboulevard

I experienced by far one of the most impressive theatre experiences of my life on Friday 5 August 2016. I was a guest at 'Zvizdal - Chernobyl so far, so close' by the Flemish company Berlin, in co-production with Het Zuidelijk Toneel. I saw this 'documentary installation' in an empty factory hall in Den Bosch, where the work is a beautiful resting point in... 

Viktorien van Hulst (Boulevard): 'The thresholds are low but the bar is high' #TFBoulevard

Boulevard flags fly everywhere in Den Bosch in the sunshine. The office of the 32-year-old Theatre Festival Boulevard on Sint Josephstraat is a jumble of people walking in and out. The beaming director, Viktorien van Hulst, has bags under her eyes like a festival director should have three days before the opening.

Theatre festival Boulevard

Theatre festival Boulevard: Not the Avignon, but the Berlin of the Netherlands?

There are many reasons not to go on holiday. It costs money, you come back more stressed than you went, the food is no good, it costs tons of CO2 and it doesn't increase mutual understanding between countries either. Reason enough, then, to just stay here and enjoy the free time given to you by the boss, or by yourself if you are self-employed. Without being barked at by airport staff.

Pascal Gallois: formidable champion of the bassoon #HF16

Bassoonist Pascal Gallois gets laughs when he tries in vain to insert the flowers he has just received into the tube of his instrument. Also in the now classic Dialogue de l'ombre double by Pierre Boulez, he manages to make the audience chuckle on Sunday 19 June, when he produces a kind of elephant-like trumpet with much misfiring. His performance is part of the ''Save the bassoon', which will conclude on Sunday 25 June with a concert at the Holland Festival Proms at the Concertgebouw. For this hundreds of (amateur) bassoonists ON. Action successful, in other words.

Olga Neuwirth: Weltkatzenmusik or acoustic preservation? #HF16

Austrian politician Jörg Haider labelled its work Weltkatzenmusik. When his far-right Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs joined the government in 2000, it led to mass protests. At one such rally, Olga Neuwirth (Graz, 1968), under the title 'Ich lass mich nicht wegjodeln', denounced his anti-intellectual and anti-cultural agenda. The rest is history: Haider drove himself to pieces in 2008, Neuwirth... 

Meg Stuart at Holland Festival: 'The sacred theatre is gone, but the expectations remain.'(HF16)

The show Sketches/Notebook (2013), which has its Dutch premiere at the Holland Festival on 6 June, is virtuosic, radical and extremely gentle. Choreographer Meg Stuart loves small scale, even when she occupies the biggest stages with partners like the Volksbühne (Berlin), Théâtre de la Ville (Paris) or the Münchner Kammerspiele. Details win out over big lines and often play a leading role in pieces that scrutinise human behaviour incredulously.

Sketches/Notebook stands out

Joost Galema on writing as a marine and opera singer Bastiaan Everink

Joost Galema, journalist and programme maker, was called one day by Bastiaan Everink. The baritone and ex-marine wanted to make a book about his personal struggles and how music changed his life. Not being a writer, he started looking for a ghostwriter. Joost was third on his list. A few days later, Bastiaan was standing in Joost's Hilversum living room telling his story. The singer talked about marines, survival, violence, Iraq, Wagner's music and a quest. Not a one-dimensional chronicle, Joost thought, and he decided to start working with Bastiaan. After three years

Mayke Nas wins composition prize: 'I don't want fear, I want adventure'

Grandfather Louis Toebosch was a famous organist and composer. His daughter - her aunt - Moniek an equally famous artist and performer; mother recorder teacher, father Mozart-crazy: 'When I left home I couldn't hear a recorder or Mozart anymore!' Mayke Nas (Voorschoten, 1972) is no stranger to making music and composing. In doing so, she likes to avoid the beaten track and... 

Filter Translation Award 2016 to translator Günter Grass

Jan Gielkens has won the Filter Translation Prize 2016 for his translation of The Words of Grimm by Günter Grass. The prize of ten thousand euros rewards the most exceptional translation achievement of the past year. Grass's novel, published last year by Meulenhoff, places high demands on the reader and the translator, the jury felt. 'Deftly navigates Gielkens'... 

something raw logo

This was Something Raw 2016: less rebellious, more social

The raw in Something Raw can mean all sorts of things. The first thought might be something rough, as in the effect of sandpaper on skin or the havoc left by an elephant in the china shop. But rough is a derivative meaning. Raw first of all means unprocessed and fresh. There is a certain hope in the combination of rough and raw: artists who like... 

Contemporary trends in theatre and performance at Something Raw Festival 2016

Three mongols playing Mongols. Dschingis Khan, the opening performance of Something Raw, is provocative and consequential. With this performance by German theatre collective Monstertruck, or the also Berlin-based Man Power Mix by Sheena Mcgrandles and Zinzi Buchanan, the festival Something Raw lives up to its name. Something Raw is a festival in which Amsterdam theatres Frascati, De Brakke... 

susan neiman

The Access. Winternachten chief guest Susan Neiman on David Bowie (among others) #wn16

The last bit is always the most exciting. After a nice conversation with festival presenter Francis Broekhuizen, chief guest Susan Neiman suddenly joined us. It was nearing twelve, quite a bit of wine had actually already been poured into presenter and guest, but still. Suddenly you find yourself talking to a great philosopher and writer about David Bowie. This was the last session at Winternachten.... 

Ursula Mamlok: atonal music with heart

With the death of Pierre Boulez on 5 January, modernism seemingly came to an end, but the two-year-old Ursula Mamlok (1923) is still alive and kicking. Although the German-American Mamlok hopes to turn 93 on 1 February, she is steadily composing.# In 2009, she wrote Aphorisms II for two clarinets, in which, as in all her pieces, she manages to couple atonality with a warm-blooded... 

Susan Neiman chief guest at Winternachten 2016: Why the atomic bomb really fell on Hiroshima

Propaganda is not just something that occurs in, say, Russia, but also in the West - more so than we ourselves realise. For example, is it widely believed today that the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to force Japan to capitulate and thus end World War II, nothing could be further from the truth. In that respect, Germany goes... 

Stefan Hertmans: 'Poetry is my way of digesting the world'

The Flemish author Stefan Hertmans (1951) is best known in the Netherlands as a novelist, especially since he won the AKO Literature Prize and the Gouden Boekenuil Publieksprijs with his beautiful autobiographical novel Oorlog en terpentijn (War and turpentine). But besides being a writer of novels, collections of short stories, essays and theatre texts, Hertmans is above all a poet. He wrote the Poetry Gift for the upcoming Poetry Week, which starts at the end of January.... 

Violinist Daniel Rowland: 'One spontaneous action can change the world'

The healing power of music, some firmly believe in it - in 2013, it was even the premise of the City of London Festival. Believing that music can connect people and have a healing effect on conflictual societies, festival director Ian Ritchie asked the Brodsky Quartet to commission a composition around this theme. Thus was born the by... 

New: a Blab with playwright Nassim Soleimanpour.

Next week sees the start of festival Dancing on the Edge. Unlike its name suggests, this festival, with performances in The Hague, Amsterdam, Utrecht and Rotterdam, is not only about dance, but also about film, theatre and politics. The 'Edge' it is about, the festival looks for in its theme: an urgent artistic dialogue with the Middle East. More needed now than... 

Private Membership (month)
5 / Maand
For natural persons and self-employed persons.
No annoying banners
A special newsletter
Own mastodon account
Access to our archives
Small Membership (month)
18 / Maand
For cultural institutions with a turnover/subsidy of less than €250,000 per year
No annoying banners
A premium newsletter
All our podcasts
Your own Mastodon account
Access to archives
Posting press releases yourself
Extra attention in news coverage
Large Membership (month)
36 / Maand
For cultural institutions with a turnover/subsidy of more than €250,000 per year.
No annoying banners
A special newsletter
Your own Mastodon account
Access to archives
Share press releases with our audience
Extra attention in news coverage
Premium Newsletter (substack)
5 trial subscriptions
All our podcasts

Payments are made via iDeal, Paypal, Credit Card, Bancontact or Direct Debit. If you prefer to pay manually, based on an invoice in advance, we charge a 10€ administration fee

*Only for annual membership or after 12 monthly payments

en_GBEnglish (UK)