Vision of the Holland Festival


Artistic innovation and experimentation have been the Holland Festival’s key values since its founding in 1947. Every year in June, the festival showcases ground-breaking productions by artists from all across the world and new developments in the performing arts. From theatre, dance, music, musical theatre and opera to multi-disciplinary forms and cross-overs with the visual arts, digital art, photography and film.

Thanks to the reputation Holland Festival built for itself over more than seventy years, it is able to showcase and sometimes also aid in realising productions that could not be put on here otherwise. These oftentimes lead to unique, overwhelming and memorable experiences and (critical) reviews. Recent examples of this are aus LICHT, directed by Pierre Audi (2019, Karlheinz Stockhausen), The Head & The Load by William Kentridge (2019), Rito de Primavera by José Vidal & Compañia (2017) and Le encantadas… by Olga Neuwirth (2016). The Holland Festival wishes to be a catalyst of exceptional productions. It sees this as its role and strength.


The world is changing, at a greater pace than ever. Public debate is sharper as well. Topics like identity, gender, institutional racism or the climate affect everyone. This is why the festival believes it is very important that we learn to see (better) through the eyes of the other. Artists play a crucial role in this. Art offers the audience a moment of reflection, of peace - an increasingly rare commodity in these times. In this moment, someone in the audience can be surprised, touched or invited to reflect on him or herself, society or the other. This is of great value because even when a work is not explicitly politically engaged, it allows the audience to see, feel or experience other perspectives.

The Holland Festival is ‘artist-driven’: the artists, and therefore the themes, the craftsmanship and artistic choices in their work are at the heart of the program. This has been even more emphatically the case since 2019, when the decision was made to have annually rotating associate artists. Connecting one or two artists to a festival edition every time, showcasing their work and having a conversation with them about possibilities for the main and context program creates new possibilities for deepening and maintaining a sustainable connection between artists and the city. Associate artists reflect on quickly changing societal and artistic developments, not just in their own work but also in the interest they take in other artists and the themes that are urgent and relevant to them. This makes the festival even more attuned to the spirt of the times. Thanks to this form of cooperation and the diversity of the artists showcased, the festival programme reflects society’s multitude of voices.