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Audiences came to the theatres and concert halls in great numbers. Over the course of 31 days, 40 different companies did 200 performances. The venues were filled to 80% capacity, while the festival drew over 80,000 visitors. Together, the free events accounted for 9,800 of the aforementioned visitors. An additional … visitors watched and listened to HF Digital, which hosted De Groene Amsterdammer podcasts, the free stream De Oorlogskoffer, ANOHNI’s podcast, influencers’ videos and of course the 150 newly unlocked gems. 

New audiences
The Holland Festival’s audience profile is changing, which was apparent in the venues and at the different locations this year. Since 2022, the festival has focussed on target groups between the ages of 20 and 39 for reaching new audiences. Diverse, all-ages audiences sat side by side in the venues, danced together during Respublika and listened to personal stories shared at The Disintegration Loops (for Euterpestraat). The festival also worked together with a range of different partners in order to reach target groups other than the regular theatre and concert audiences, like:  Vriendenloterij, Omek, One World, Glamcult, Radio Mart, Winq, Stadspas, TittyMag, the UvA Humanities Faculty and RadioRadio. The efforts to draw new audiences to the festival resulted in over 50% of the audience consisting of first-time visitors to the festival.

CJP pass and students
The festival is drawing an increasing number of young people, with the amount of tickets sold to university students, high schoolers and CJP pass holders rising from 2,000 to 5,000, as was apparent in the venues.  

Social media
The social media strategy was further refined, with a special focus on Instagram, while Facebook was only used in the slipstream. This sharing of inspiring information about the performances and the use of high-quality videos clearly paid off. There were six influencers from different backgrounds acting as ambassadors: Tim den Besten, Colin Benders, Naaz, Doortje Smithuijsen, Frederique Spigt and Gershwin Bonevacia spoke about the performances they were looking forward to. These six Instagram videos generated over 81,000 views together. During the festival, Cathelijne Blok presented five editions of HF Weekly, in which she looked ahead at the festival week together with guest presenter and artist Firoza, performer Pink Oculus and chef Jason John Affo. The HF Weeklies generated over 35,000 views on Instagram, while the videos with ANOHNI were particularly well-received on social media, generating a total of 87,000 views. The Instagram community increased from 9,000 to 11,500 followers, while the Facebook community, against the trend, remained stable. 

Free publicity & media partners
The festival drew a great deal of attention in both the printed and online press. Dailies like Het Parool, De Volkskrant, NRC and Trouw published a number of in-depth stories about the makers and their work prior to the festival, while De Groene Amsterdammer, VPRO Gids, Cultureel Persbureau, Theaterkrant and Winq came with free Holland Festival specials. The festival received international attention as well. A great number of journalists came to Amsterdam from abroad, including no less than two New York Times reviewers. The topicality and urgency of the festival’s themes also resulted in a lot of discussions about articles and reviews. The interviews with ANOHNI and her reactions made for great conversations with the arts editors of daily newspapers about respectful and inclusive reporting and language use in the current age. 

The festival also did well on radio and television with items on Nooit meer slapen and De Ochtend van 4, and of course the two primetime broadcasts from media partner VPRO on Sunday evening. Media partner NTR will broadcast the recording of the programme The Disintegration Loops from William Basinski in the coming two years on NPO2extra. Media partner De Groene Amsterdammer made introductory podcasts about the makers and their themes for nearly all performances at the festival, which drew lots of listeners as well. 

Design studio Thonik set out to find a powerful way of translating the festival’s themes for the campaign, transforming images and text in such a way as to give a different perspective on what was presented. The campaign visuals featured in five major cities, while Amsterdam was festively dressed up once again with flags, advertising columns, decorated venues and the striking Holland Festival tram. 

At the request of many of its regular visitors, the festival once again made a printed programme in the form of a large booklet printed in a climate-neutral way in both Dutch and English, which was very well-received. The booklet provided a clear overview with tags for classifying the various performances. 

The Holland Festival’s new website was expanded to include in-depth texts about the programmes as well as a series of articles and interviews with makers that give a good sense of the festival and its themes. The HF Digital page features podcasts, videos and streams that will stay up until long after the festival has concluded. 

Because of environmental considerations, the evening programmes could be read solely online like the year before. These were included in the service emails and can be found on the website’s programme pages. The lack of printed booklets took some getting used to for some audience members, but the evening programmes with background information were widely read, as shown by the download statistics. 

Apart from using digital advertising and sustainable printing, we will continue to make the festival greener in the coming years, both in front of and behind the scenes. The festival, for example, consulted with the various companies and decided to no longer hand out fresh flowers during the applause out of considerations over sustainability. The basket of artificial flowers proved to be a good alternative that can be re-used every time. 

Besides this, all companies were provided with water bottles that they could refill as an alternative to cans and plastic bottles. Artists who wanted to keep the water bottles could do so, though many left them behind after use. These will be cleaned and used again next year.