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That's how you give your city a real vision. (How Manchester became a leader in international arts in just a few years)

I have often resisted thinking of the Netherlands as a business. After all, a country cannot lay off people, or divest unprofitable sectors to make more profit. So anyone who speaks of the BV Nederland has not understood it. There are no competitors that you can fight out of the market while being entrepreneurial on those few square kilometres of polder land,... 

Anfield's best pasties work against degradation. (Lessons from Manchester, episode 4, the Liverpool edition)

There is something incredibly cosy about it. While outside the storm is howling through deserted, boarded-up shopping streets full of demolished mini houses, baking pasties against the malady. But so it does work. On the side of The Kop, the most famous stand at the Anfield stadium on Liverpool's Oakfield Road, Dutch artist Jeanne van Heeswijk established a neighbourhood cooperative in 2012, when megalomaniacal urban renewal plans... 

'Millions still watch the BBC' (Lessons from Manchester, episode 1)

Travelling makes you a better person. Everyone thinks so, and it is a great favour to be able to travel. A privilege to be able to do it. If you go to England by train, the last few minutes before you disappear under the Channel at Calais, you see more and more fences appearing. And we are not talking about the average... 

European Cultural Foundation seeks new imagination on anniversary.

'Nothing can make up for the past. But the real, enduring power of the past lies in how it affects our present and our future. What we can do is shape a future history in which we consciously and determinedly carry with us only the best of our past.' Not keep rooting, but cognitive behavioural therapy for the whole of Europe, you might... 

'Art tax cuts and a cultural fund will be created as an incentive for homeowners to invest in works of art.' (How we think the throne speech should have read)

Members of the States General, This year about 72 years ago we had the first Holland Festival. After years of enslavement and tyranny, hope for a better future literally came from above, in the form of Maria Callas. Eyewitnesses who saw the lights in the Stadsschouwburg turn red that day would never forget that image. 72 years later, it seems... 

More French-language rap please.

French is made for rap. Forget all that American-English mincing, listen to the rhythmic drone that good French-language rap offers. One of the possible benefits of a self-absorbed US and a post-Brexit Europe is that we might start hearing that beautiful language of our southern southern neighbours a bit more often. 'Speak French to me, darling!' Macron will be delighted. Wednesday... 

Why Italian women struggle with motherhood. Writer Silvia Avallone cuts taboos in new novel

She is young, beautiful and well-spoken. Writer Silvia Avallone, known for her bestseller Staal, does not shy away from sensitive themes in her compelling new novel Levenslichtde either, such as the economic crisis, infertility and unevenly divided parenthood. 'Claiming freedom for yourself is something terrifying for an Italian woman.' Rough edges Poverty, economic malaise, gender inequality...... 

IDFA 2017: digital pioneer Jonathan Harris switches to analogue

With a 500-million-year-old pebble, Jonathan Harris began his lecture. IDFA presents the first international retrospective of this artist. As IDFA's chief guest, Harris gave the 'Master Talk' on Friday, about his life and work. His remarkably analogue vision was also the common thread during Sunday's well-attended DocLab conference. Fundamentally analogue Harris, who once started out in computer science... 

Rufus Norris makes theatre out of Brexit: 'Theatres are the echo chamber of the leftist bubble'

The wind blows harder there than elsewhere. The light is greyer there than further afield. London's south bank, for years 'the other side' of the English capital's posh city centre, has been the subject of several waves of renewal in the last century. It began in 1951 with the construction of concert hall 'Southbank Centre', followed in 1976, after years of wrangling, by the building in the same... 

Concertgebouw Orchestra & Concertgebouw 2017-18: searching for connection

Both the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the also Royal Concertgebouw seem to be focusing on connection next season. Between young and old, between east and west, between left and right, between culture and press. 'Great that you all came,' says Jan Raes after the presentation of the 2017-18 season. 'The press is under pressure, as is culture,' continues 

Geert Viaene: 'Poetry is like a drug, I can't live without it'

He was belatedly gripped by poetry, but how: for Flemish poet and street musician Geert Viaene (1963), poetry has now become a condition of life. 'A chord has been struck that still can't stop vibrating.' From this late bloomer, who published on digital forum Het Gezeefde Gedicht (The Sifted Poem), the debut collection Eistijden was recently published. Viaene understands the art of being outspoken in... 

7 reasons why you should invest in Holland Festival 2017 #hf17

Ruth Mackenzie has achieved an enormous amount in the short time she has been boss of Holland Festival. I've experienced the festival now since the late 1990s and watched it evolve from something very personal and sometimes obscure (under Ivo van Hove), to an ethereal feast of sizzling aesthetics (with Pierre Audi), to what it... 

Down with that leftist art elite

Yesterday, the chamber made €10 million available for the arts. This brings the tally of government cuts to at least €190,000,000 still. This hard-won extra is the last thing that could be asked for. Everyone agrees, the new system has been definitively embraced. The protest has made itself redundant now that the compromise has been made. And what have we got... 

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.... 

Screenshot of Nieuwsuur Geert Wilders,

Oy. @geertwilderspvv sets Richard III as an example to the Netherlands

Finally, it was not quite literal, but he was clearly referring to it: Richard III. Geert Wilders, himself not too culturally savvy, quotes Shakespeare in his umpteenth plea to get the Netherlands out of the EU with pot-covered borders. In the second chamber. I saw it on Nieuwsuur, and you can watch it back. At 39′:49″ minutes into the broadcast he is in debate with his great friend, the VVD's Halbe Zijlstra.

Nicolas Mansfield: Today I feel more European than ever. #Brexit

24th of June, 2016. What a day. I spent it at the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in The Hague. Speaking with civil servants about the achievements, plans, challenges and dreams of the Dutch National Touring Opera. All in the shadow of something I find difficult to process. 

You see, expats like myself are incredibly proud of our Britain. Not too proud not to leave, but proud enough to strive to be impassioned ambassadors for our country. The enormous cultural heritage of the...

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