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WIPES FOR THE BLOOD? - Municipal choice stress; the case of Leeuwarden (IN PERSPECTIVE #21)

In the series In Perspective, Erik Akkermans looks back and ahead at developments in cultural policy and practice. Today: how can the municipality deal with culture in a businesslike way? The alderman was delayed. It gave me a brief opportunity to visit the toilet. But in the beautiful historic building where Leeuwarden still housed the mayors and aldermen at the time, the guest toilet was cramped.... 

cover Friesland My Love by Oeds Westerhof.

One region, one love: Oeds Westerhof's political declaration of love

In Zutphen, I attended Jeroen den Herder's congenial small-scale cello festival. There, two young Portuguese students gave a lecture/recital on their research project on the music of the fado singer and composer José Zeca Afonso, an important voice in the 1974 Portuguese Revolution. At home, I looked up that music. It turned out to be the perfect background when reading "Friesland, my... 

Theatre of Concordia, at home on the tube 

With the lockdown in full swing and the curfew shackling us to our homes, the theatre performances at Concordia Film | Theatre | Visual Arts in Enschede continue as usual. With no less than three diverse, musical performances in the coming week that can be followed via a livestream, so you can still get your much-needed dose of culture.

On the other side of the North Sea, it works: the national 'City of Culture'. Time to take it seriously in the Netherlands too.

Hull. Who knows that city? I only from hearsay. A boat sails there, and by train you can get there in just under nine hours. For those of us with flying shame. And it's in Yorkshire, which we know from Monty Python. But beyond that? I've been wiser since Wednesday 27 March, thanks in part to a promotional party it... 

M carbunaru [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

All balls to Cuijk. Why it really is a good idea for the Netherlands to have a Capital of Culture every year.

How nice it would be if Zutphen were to be Cultural Capital of the Netherlands next year, proudly representing itself and thanks to a strong impulse from its surrounding area: the province of Gelderland. They could immediately tackle the hopeless situation of the local theatre, the kids from the suburbs could also go to hip-hop in a real hall and everyone in the Netherlands would know... 

AFFR: A true Rotterdam film festival with a mission

'Architecture has always been seen as an afterthought. I see it as a necessary thing, not an extra. You now see, for instance, that technocrats have taken over power. They come up with a technical solution for everything. They can make buildings that are well insulated, that use geothermal heat: that is now the job of the builders. But all these technocrats forget that it's... 

René Ten Bos tells on SPOT-Live why we play stage: 'On four legs we don't look it.'

'I recently spent a day working with municipal administrators. It was about bureaucracy. Well, if anything is about bureaucracy, it is the work of Samuel Beckett. So I also invited theatre people to illustrate what I was talking about with Becketian texts.' Philosopher René ten Bosch, currently Denker des Vaderlands, is one of the three curators of the... 

Marijke Muoi alone is a reason to come to Leeuwarden. Why the Netherlands should have a new Capital of Culture every year.

Bouke Oldenhof. Where was he all this time? Writing, but mostly in Frisian (which also meant he had no time to work on his website). And so you can't get through to the rest of the Netherlands. The man who won countless hearts with the unique gem 'Rolbrug'. Mine too, and... 

Number of overnight stays and good luck city branding as highlights for the Capital of Culture. Goodbye AARHUS2017, hello LEEUWARDEN2018. And: VALLETTA2018, may I have my potato back?

An ancient melody floats, crackles and drones through the town hall of Aarhus, Denmark. The city is close to being European Capital of Culture. That is why we hear the same song at the handover ceremony as when it was launched on 21 January. Then Aarhus celebrated the start of Aarhus, European Capital of Culture and 'Jeg drømte mig en drøm i nat' thundered through the Aarhus streets.... 

New leaders in arts and culture: fourth generation of LinC graduates.

A new generation of leaders in culture rose in the Utrecht Academy Building on Thursday 9 November. The 39 leaders come from the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam to Schunck in Heerlen and from the VPRO in Hilversum to the Utrecht festival Le Guess Who. In a year and a half, they discovered new working methods and formulated new vistas for the arts. That could ... 

Hooligans, but good hooligans. Viking drama on the edge of comic and laughable

Roaring warriors, pomp and circumstance, a tough drama set against the historical background of the Viking era. That goes down like cake (or beer) with the Danes who see themselves as direct heirs of the Vikings, the organisers must have thought. And that is why the play Røde Orm is being presented as one of the highlights in... 

Dutch trash artist on the hunt for litter in spotless #Aarhus2017

You can't help but grin at the sight of a cute little jellyfish consisting of a bottle and an orange net. A spray bottle with a well-placed cap becomes a penguin, or a goose. Even rolled-up hair, harvested from a washing machine, does not escape Adriaansche's universe: a family of flies called Musca capillus. It does something to the way you look. 'Where... 

Beef heart ragout and handshake. Cultural capital reinvents church service

Maybe God is dead, but His church is alive. At least in Denmark. This has to do with what you might call the Danish paradox of faith: a highly secularised society with a Lutheran Folkekirke (=Volkskerk) supported by a large majority of the population [hints]The American sociologist Phil Zuckerman has commented on this aspect of Denmark (and also a little... 

German couple collected unique jewellery in Danish Design #Aarhus2017

Delicate petals, tough links, a denim collar. You can't dream it up or Danish designers have designed them in silver as jewellery. Thousand Jewels offers an overview of Danish design from the twentieth century. Among them are internationally renowned designers and silversmiths, such as Georg Jensen (not only jewellery but also silver tableware), Kaj Bojesen (not only silver but also... 

The Vikings have landed. With ships full of culture

Sustainability, diversity and democracy. These are the core values of the European Capital of Culture, which Aarhus aspires to be this year. Mayor Jacob Bundsgaard says it. Rebecca Matthews, the CEO of Aarhus 2017 says it. If those values are also reflected in the programme, Juliana Engberg, programme director for Aarhus 2017, has done her job well. Other speakers' speeches follow 

Ønskelandet bursts open in Aarhus, European Capital of Culture 2017

Kids are in the front seat this year. Director Rebecca Matthews and programme director Juliana Engberg have said so themselves (see here and here). Children have a creativity and spontaneity that adults could learn from, and that deserves its own place in the year that Aarhus is European Capital of Culture. Or: in Aarhus 2017, as the 'locals' say. Children also deserve a... 

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... 

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.... 

Ed Spanjaard is the ideal new leader of the Orchestra of the East

After it was announced in January this year that Jan Willem de Vriend was leaving at the end of the 2016/2017 season, the Orchestra of the East announced that it was in no hurry to find a successor. One would start working with "renowned guest conductors". Just over six months later, a few months before the departure of interim director Bart van Meijl, a successor was still presented. That this successor, Ed Spanjaard, is given the title of 'permanent conductor' seems mainly a semantic issue.

IDFA viewing tip 24 November: Tablas take over New York

Today's IDFA viewing tip is the kind of film I normally stay away from: a feel-good film that is stylistically neat, but nowhere innovative. And yet I went flat and with me the whole audience. Why? For the same reason that a group of men with tablas and sitar gets the Jazz at Lincoln Center flat. The combination of western... 

The 5 concerts not to miss on @oudemuziek

Utrecht is fast overtaking Amsterdam as cultural capital. Centrally located and easily accessible by train, bus, car, bicycle or on foot, and blessed not only with a host of beautiful churches but also with the imposing TivoliVredenburg, it attracts more and more music lovers to its city centre. For over three decades, it has hosted the Festival of Early Music,... 

The 5 performances you should definitely see at Theatre Festival Boulevard

From today, it is not Leeuwarden, Amsterdam, Utrecht or The Hague that is our country's cultural capital, but Den Bosch. For eleven days during Theatre Festival Boulevard, there will be more to see in that city than all to follow. Lots of new and unique work for Den Bosch, but also some performances that have already played in other places. Herewith our five recommendations. Have... 

Vormidable: two Flemish visions of renewal sculpture

The annual major sculpture expo in The Hague in 2015 is called 'Vormidable'. In its own museum, on Lange Voorhout and at several satellite locations, Museum Beelden aan Zee shows how Flemish art experienced a true revival from the 1990s onwards. Panamarenko, De Bruyckere, Fabre, but also lesser-known names renewed sculpture - in two opposite ways. Guest curator Stef van... 

Kunsten '92: Provinces struggle with cultural policy vision

Of Dutch people, the province can cut back even more on Culture. This week, Ipsos Synnovate presented a survey to that effect, and it was another slap in the face for the sector. Apparently, the image of art as an expensive kind of leftist hobby has not yet been eradicated by three years of optimistic NLPing by culture minister Jet Bussemaker's PR machine.... 

A mirror from the bench: 12 much-needed lessons for cultural marketers

Since the Amsterdam Uitmarkt is no longer run by the Uitburo but by a separate foundation, things have become a tad more commercial. The folder-fair-with-bands that has become the national opening of the cultural season over the past decades has to. The government has found art scary for a while now, usual suspects are pulling out as sponsors, and malaise is hitting... 

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