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Welcome to Holland Festival 2023

Welcome to Holland Festival 2023

The 2023 Holland Festival, the leading international performing arts festival founded in 1947, will take place in Amsterdam from 1 June through 1 July. Artists from all over the world will show artistic innovation and experimentation in ground-breaking pieces performed nowhere else in the Netherlands: from theatre, dance, music and musical theatre to multidisciplinary forms and cross-overs with visual art, photography and film. 

During its 76th edition, the Holland Festival will present over 200 pieces covering all these disciplines. Meetings, conversations, exhibitions, podcasts, workshops, films, events and rituals with and about artists will complete the programme of a festival that is innovative, surprising, inspiring and often urgent.

Overarching theme
The artists will take us on a journey through the past to the present and future, expressing and developing themes, that preoccupy us today, and making their voices heard. A recurring theme in this festival is empathy: both between individuals as well as between social groups and between makers and audiences. Several pieces are about systemic violence. In order to draw attention to the exploitation of human beings and natural resources, various makers this year will encourage audiences not to be distant but allow themselves to be vulnerable. And to urge them to see the other, including the maker, not as an ‘exotic stranger’ but as part of ourselves as humankind, because this is about all of us.

Associate artist
2023 will be the festival’s fifth year of collaborating with one or more associate artists on part of the programme’s content. Each year, this collaboration adds many new, unexpected themes and perspectives to the festival. This year’s associate artist is the singer, composer and visual artist ANOHNI, who has featured at the Holland Festival three times before. Her constant search for what is really going on in the world makes her an important source of inspiration. ANOHNI has put together a concert and programme for Gerrit van der Veenstraat, where she once lived (The Disintegration Loops), made the exhibition SHE WHO SAW BEAUTIFUL THINGS in Huis Willet-Holthuysen, prepared an extensive programme with the collaborators in the Future Feminism project that started in 2014 and will talk with these and other artists. The interview and podcast with her give a good picture of her contribution as a muse to the festival and insight into her thinking.

Another world
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead from director Simon McBurney − a favourite for many festival goers − will open the 76th edition. Activism combined with poetic language and charismatic main characters are the driving force of a radically reconsidered worldview. ‘Imagining another world’ is also at the heart of the filmic installation Euphoria from Julian Rosenfeldt and the utopian Respublika from Łukasz Twarkowski: a theatre performance, film and rave in one.  

The festival centre
This year’s festival centre is at De Balie, the Holland Festival’s main hub. You will find everything you need here: the festival ticket office, a service and Friends desk and the merchandise shop. You can have a drink and eat at the café-restaurant throughout the day. After performances, it is the meeting place for artists, programme makers and the audience to have a chat. There is a special festival programme at De Balie as well: you can meet artists during a Meet the Artist session, there are talks, a live radio broadcast from Echobox and detox morning sessions. In total the festival is present at 20 different venues in Amsterdam.

Holland Festival Digital
This year’s Holland Festival can also be visited digitally. Several performances can be viewed via a (live) stream and artist talks will be broadcast live. In addition you can watch films via Cinetree. For many performances, De Groene Amsterdammer will make an introductory podcast with makers and experts that can be listened to from your sofa or while cycling to or from the performances.

The programme has been announced. What now?
Navigating the programme is an annually recurring challenge for everyone: there are many relatively unknown makers for Dutch audiences, and there is new work to see that is difficult to describe. This year, we have published a leaflet that shows the entire programme at a glance, in which all performances are described in short sentences and provided with hashtags (#). These refer to the form and the essence of the performance. In addition, the programme managers each provide three personal tips, while you can also choose from several series: My First HF, Go Easy HF and Die Hard HF for which we preselected three performances . There is a lot of free admission this year, allowing you to experience a wonderful, highly varied festival even without a ticket. And of course we will be glad to assist Friends of the Holland Festival personally with making a selection. The Holland Festival team is here to help! 

We look forward to seeing you in June, when the sun is shining and the Holland Festival brightens up the city all month long.

Emily Ansenk
director, Holland Festival