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Theaterplatz, Weimar. citizens of the city of Weimar read out all the names d=of the victims of Buchenwald, while Günther Uecker's cairns are being built (Photo: author)

Journal Kunstfest Weimar (1): elderly and fragile.

A lone madman? An unsuspecting visitor would think so, and when I arrived at the Theaterplatz in Weimar yesterday afternoon, I was that unsuspecting visitor. During the opening speeches of Kunstfest Weimar, a man shouted insulting texts at Bodo Ramelow, the prime minister of 'Free State of Thuringia'. The man dressed in a yellow vest was taken away by the police. Later, during a very oppressive... 

Lessons from Weimar (2): how in Germany politics and art celebrate an uneasy marriage.

"The government is demanding that we only show artists from our own region. That would be a huge loss for us, as we are an international art space. But we have found a way around it. We now invite top international artists who live here, or we offer them a residency, so they live in the city temporarily. That way, ... 

Germany increases culture budget by 7 per cent. But still lags behind the Netherlands.

It is obviously good news: the German federal culture minister is increasing the budget for culture by 148 million euros to 2.3 billion. At a time when cultural funding, especially in the 'developed West', has been steadily declining (since 2010), such an increase is of course wonderful. For the Dutch, who point out with some regularity how well the arts are doing in Germany: per head of... 

The 'weird life' of all-rounder Jef Last is not over

Better to die standing than to live kneeling. The statement is fresh in memory after the murder in the Lange Leidse Dwarsstraat, as a mantra in praise of Peter R de Vries, his fearlessness, non-conformism, straightforwardness and honesty. This same statement jumps out even from the first paragraphs of the introduction to the biography of poet Jef Last, written by Rudi Wester.1.... 

'Vanished talent and manpower will break up culture sector as it relaunches in September'

The uncertainty of the events sector and cultural institutions, after 17 months of lockdowns and one-and-a-half-month openings, is not only disastrous for the mood of directors, artists and spectators. According to the Creative Sector Taskforce, much more is being lost. In fact, a 'Marshall Plan' is needed to get the cultural and creative sector back on its feet,... 

Boulevard experiences second Corona edition: 'It's organising a festival in the middle of a natural disaster. Nothing is business as usual'

Theatre festival Boulevard is going ahead this summer, just like last year. Everything is adapted to 'corona': safe at one-and-a-half metres, placarded, with registration for catering, but still just about a hundred performances. In this podcast, I speak to Nina Aalders and Tessa Smeulers, responsible for Boulevard's programming. They remained at the helm after the much-loved and... 

Lower Germanic Limes third new Dutch world heritage site

The Netherlands has added three new historical world icons. Placement on the World Heritage List adds them to a selection of areas that are unique in the world. For the Netherlands, the Lower Germanic Limes - the former border of the Roman Empire -, the Colonies of Weldadigheid and the Dutch Waterline have been added to the list. During the meeting of the World Heritage Committee, which... 

Open call Theatre On Tour #5: Call for location theatre makers: Become part of our festival!

For the fifth edition of Theatre on Tour, Concordia and Wilminktheatre and Muziekcentrum Enschede are looking for location theatre makers. In the festival programme, we have reserved two special locations: the Redemptorist Park, on the border between the Netherlands and Germany, and the quay of the Enschede Rowing Association Thyro. On 18 and 19 September, Concordia and Wilminktheatre and Muziekcentrum Enschede will organise for the fifth... 

Rarely have I experienced a historical book that is so accessible and so imaginative

With journalist Bianca Stigter's book Atlas of an occupied city, you walk through today's reality, as it were, with historical virtual reality glasses on. An extra layer appears over the familiar backdrop of Amsterdam's streets: of World War II occupation. What wartime past is hidden in the streets and behind the facades? Atlas... 

Also in my mind, 'Journey through the night' is due for a 35th printing

The 35th(!) edition of Reis door de nacht, the classic novel written by Anne de Vries, was published recently. As a ten-year-old boy, I sympathised intensely with the war adventures of Jan de Boer and his family members. The book is also a metaphor for my own struggle against darkness. It is a lovely spring day. In the ditch, a duck swims with her... 

Godfried Bomans: respectively loved, vilified, misunderstood and forgotten

Godfried Bomans died half a century ago. Almost immediately afterwards, the Netherlands' best-loved writer sank into oblivion. It is time for a reappraisal of Bomans' literary work and even his political views. I delved into the archives, also looking for the few traces of Bomans in Amersfoort. First some round figures. Seventy years ago, he delivered a lecture... 

Netherlands third in world with Coronasteun for arts sector

The United States of America has spent $18 billion (€15 billion) on coronasteun for the arts. That is more than any other country in the world and quite remarkable for a country not famous for arts funding. France is second, with an aid package worth $8.3 billion (€6.9 billion). hefty sums, where the 1.8... 

Between heaven and hell: Frank Westerman on our fascination with the cosmos

At the time Covid-19 flattened normal life, Frank Westerman had fortunately already done his research for his new book. To take care of his parents, he was suddenly living 'at home' again for three months, in his boyhood room on the outskirts of Assen. Writing offered him the chance to escape to heavenly realms: Cosmic Comedy is about the human... 

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.

Renzo Martens on White Cube: 'From now on, the Stedelijk should devote its entire acquisitions budget to art by plantation workers.'

A sleek, snow-white art temple in the middle of the Congolese interior. What does that mean? Renzo Martens talks about his new documentary White Cube, and the art project that allows plantation workers to buy back their land. Premiering at IDFA and in Lusanga, Congo.

Kaija Saariaho central composer at November Music: subtle timbres paint inky black scenario

Pièce de résistance will be the brand new Reconnaissance (Rusty Mirror Madrigal) for choir, percussion and double bass. Saariaho composed it commissioned by November Music and the Donaueschinger Musiktage. The first performance was scheduled at the German festival, which, however, was also cancelled. - A stroke of luck for November Music.

Dutch focus on November Music 2020: Ticket sales start Thursday 10 September

This year, November Music awards 10 commissions to Dutch and two to foreign composers, including a choral work for Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho. Traditionally, November Music opens with the Bosch Requiem on Friday 6 November, which of course takes on an extra charge this year. Korean-Dutch composer Seung-Won Oh draws inspiration from the YeonDo death ritual that links Korean funeral traditions with the Catholic faith. After Kate Moore and Calliope Tsoupaki, she is the third female composer of the Bosch Requiem in a row.

Down with the veil! Three gutsy girls found Iranian Women Composers Union: 'We want to form a global home front'

Things can change. In 1979, Iran changed from a Western-oriented secular state to a spiritual dictatorship, where Islamic leaders call the shots. Women must henceforth go through life veiled and music is banned as extremely sinful. Four decades later, three women founded the Iranian Female Composers Association. In America, though. 'Music is like a drug, those who feel... 

Dutch focus on November Music 2020 

With a focus on the Dutch music scene, November Music aims to highlight the vitality and creativity of composers, creators and musicians during this 28th festival edition. Besides many new home-grown works, there are several concerts with leading roles for renowned foreign names. November Music 2020 takes place from 6 to 15 November at various locations in 's-Hertogenbosch with over 80 different concerts.... 

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