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welcome to the retrospective 2024!

welcome to the retrospective 2024!

The Holland Festival experienced its 77th edition this year, with connection at its heart.

The standing ovation Georgina Verbaan received after The Second Woman went on for minutes. In the piece by Australian makers Anna Breckon and Nat Randall, she played the same break-up scene a hundred times over the course of 24 hours. The phenomenal acting performance tested the limits of Verbaan and her mostly non-professional counterparts, and marked the end of the 77th edition of the Holland Festival on 29 June.

The festival began three weeks earlier, on 6 June, with Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky, Caroline Shaw, Evangelia Kranioti, Christiane Jatahy, Karina Canellakis, Frank Ticheli and the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, and Cappella Amsterdam. From the kick-off to the final tour de force, visitors could dive into a wealth of performances, concerts, installations, interviews and conversations, context programmes and nighttime dance parties. The festival’s activities were hosted at 22 locations throughout the city, from Amsterdam’s North to South East and East to New West districts. The Holland Festival seeped into the fibres of the city and added colour to Amsterdam’s nighttime culture with several parties and a club evening.

The artists onstage connected with audiences in different ways. Not just through proven artistically imaginative means, but through active interaction as well. Visitors were not just spectators, but also conversation partners, a sounding board, co-creators and subject. Tying everything together was the search for common ground, at the very least a domain where we can ‘agree to disagree’, but better yet an open dialogue, which could give a sense of togetherness, a mental and emotional ‘home’.

All this clearly bore the stamp of associate artist Christiane Jatahy, the Brazilian theatre and film maker who turns her critical gaze to power balances in society, gender relations and the present-day effects of historical slavery. These subjects were addressed in her theatre pieces Hamlet – In the Folds of Time and Depois do silêncio. Especially for, and in collaboration with, the Holland Festival, she made Crossings, which saw her visit public spaces to interview people who were either born in or relocated to Amsterdam about the meaning of home and feeling at home.

Many Brazilian artists were invited to the festival in Jatahy’s wake. For dance company Grupo Cena 11, it was even the first performance ever in the Netherlands. The legendary Arthur Verocai thrilled both younger and older audiences with his performance at the Concertgebouw, while trio Metá Metá collaborated with two members of Dutch punk band The Ex.

 

This year’s Holland Festival was also well-attended by Amsterdam’s Brazilian community. The festival managed to reach new target groups across the board. Each year sees audiences becoming younger and more diverse. First-time visitors and seasoned HF goers all made good use of the introductions, discussions, gatherings, the book club, online mini lectures and podcasts that provided a gateway to and more in-depth information about the programme. A better understanding of what is presented makes everyone feel more at home at the festival, in the city and amongst each other.

 

The Holland Festival is very grateful to all partners who helped realise this 77th edition. The wonderful support of all funders, many partners, private friends and funds, as well as all the locations and content partners are essential for realising and making the festival a success each year. Our thanks also go out to all the visitors, and of course the many artists and companies who gave this festival their own direction, form and flavour. And last but not least, I wish to thank the wonderful Holland Festival team, whose sustained efforts and energy, empathy and joy made this edition of the festival a tremendous success.

 

Emily Ansenk, director

Connection at the heart

‘Hell is other people.’ Jean-Paul Sartre wrote this in 1943, as part of his one-act play No Exit. It typifies the existentialist who saw life as a struggle of the lone individual against the beliefs of his environment. At the height of WWII, when a happy ending was by no means certain, he laid the foundation for a hyper-individualist future.

The 2024 edition of the Holland Festival, which takes place against the backdrop of war in Europe once again, had a different message from Sartre’s eighty years ago. In contrast with his dislike for the other, the festival embraces the other instead. Rather, it’s via and through the other that we gain a better understanding of who we are - as global citizens, a community and individuals. The programme was all about connecting through encounters, conversations, discussions and interaction. At a time when the number of refugees throughout the world is greater than ever, when artificial intelligence threatens to sideline whole swaths of the population and ever more young people are questioning their identity, the festival offered tools in the search for what makes us human at heart: being at home in the world with others.

Made especially for the Holland Festival

This theme was especially important in Crossings, the performance piece by Christiane Jatahy. In Noorderpark and Nelson Mandelapark in Amsterdam South East, she had live conversations with artists, activists and residents of Amsterdam. She asked these Amsterdam natives and newcomers where they were from, what was the first thing they remembered about the place they grew up, how they ended up in Amsterdam and how they define home. The interviews gave a glimpse into the lives of a cross-section of the city that, according to figures of the municipality’s Research & Statistics department, ranks as the most diverse worldwide, with 177 different nationalities.

 

The live interviews were filmed and directly projected on a screen within view, where passers-by could sit down and watch. This doubling and magnification added a cinematographic layer to the stories that lifted them from the sphere of private experience. Moreover, the subject of the interviews touched on the current situation that everyone in the city knows and feels: the housing crisis making it all but impossible for artists - like teachers, healthcare workers and police officers - to find a place. The housing shortage puts a strain on the feeling of home and the associated social contract.

Associate artist: magnetic focus

Crossings is one of the two works that Jatahy made especially for the festival as Holland Festival’s associate artist. It’s the sixth time that the festival invited someone to be an associate artist. She’s a sparring partner for the Holland Festival programme team, with whom she was in active dialogue for over a year. The programme team ensures there’s a balance between larger and smaller performances, and between different disciplines. The associate artist serves as a filter for topical issues. The ongoing exchange with Jatahy allowed the Holland Festival to catch themes that are in the air and integrate these into the programme.

The associate artist is the magnetic focus of the Holland Festival. Her own work was at the heart of the programme, surrounded by thematically related performances put forward by herself.  The rest of the programme was also designed in such a way as to highlight interconnections between pieces, making the festival more than just a series of isolated performances. It’s a barometer of the age, as it manifests itself on a local, national and international level.

 

The associate artist allows the Holland Festival team to access other worlds and networks, which will impact the festival for a long time after this edition. The empathy that is at the heart of performing arts, the desire to put yourself in another’s shoes, has also become an explicit part of the programme development.

Shakespeare and slavery

With Crossings, two theatre performances, a film and various conversations, the Holland Festival showed a cross-section of the multifaceted oeuvre Jatahy created as a theatre director, film maker and author, both in Brazil and Europe. The mix of documentary and fiction in Depois do silêncio showed how historical slavery and colonialism continue to affect modern-day Brazil, where Bolsonaro’s loyalists still hold considerable influence. In Hamlet - In the Folds of Time Jatahy presented the main character of Shakespeare’s classic as a woman in order to highlight struggles with the patriarchy.

 

At the Movies with Christiane Jatahy at Eye Filmmuseum was a prelude to what would follow for two days before the official opening of the festival. Works shown by the associate artist included Twenty Years Later by Eduardo Coutinho, the activist who was murdered, on which Jatahy’s Depois do silêncio was based as well. The opening evening also showcased the film she made for Music in Common Time, a work for orchestra and choir by Caroline Shaw. Made with archival material she shot all across the world, the film showed the world through the still-uncorrupted eyes of children, the generation who will inherit this world.

 

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Programma 2024

Education

The Holland Festival is also a learning environment, with a wide range of activities for high school and university students, and young people in general. The activities for young people ranged from visiting performances to workshops and meeting the different makers. 

 

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Introductory podcasts

Introductory podcasts

Introductory podcasts

For the Holland Festival, magazine De Groene Amsterdammer is making a podcast series highlighting performances and interviewing makers.

 

Presenters Thomas Heerma van Voss, Gawie Keyser, Basje Boer, Joost de Vries and Christiaan Weijts talk to experts, critics and makers themselves about the performances and performances from the festival programme.

listen to th podcasts (Dutch only)

Facts & figures

  • 40 productions

    40 productions with over 110 performances

  • 3 own productions

    Crossings

    HF x Lofi

    Levaguiã Terê

  • 9 world premieres

    Crossings
    Fidelio
    Hardkoor
    Limite
    Mutability
    Rite of Spring
    The Bird of a Thousand Voices

    Everything must go

    Dutch Composers Day: Anne-Maartje Lemereis

  • 6 coproductions

    HARDKOOR
    Hamlet - In the Folds of Time
    Mutability
    Signal to Noise
    The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions
    The Romeo

  • >700 artists

    Over 700 artists and crew

  • 50 cooperation partners

    Asko|Schönberg, Athens & Epidaurus Festival, Bar Bario, Berliner Festspiele, Bimhuis, Bregenzer Festspiele, Centre Pompidou, Comédie de Genève, De Balie, DE SINGEL, December Dance - Concertgebouw & Cultuurcentrum Brugge, EYE, Factory International, Felix Meritis, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Festival d’Avignon, Festival d’Automne à Paris, Forced Entertainment, Frascati, Hartwig Art Foundation, HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Innovation:LAB, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, La Bâtie-Festival de Genève, La Comédie de Clermont-Ferrand scène nationale, La Villette, Le Quartz - Scène nationale de Brest, Les Nuits de Fourvière - Festival international de la Métropole de Lyon, Lofi, Manchester International Festival, Mezrab, Nationale Opera & Ballet, Nederlands Kamerkoor, New Music Now, Nieuw Dakota, NTR, NYU Skirball, Pact Zollverein, Radio Filharmonisch Orkest, Ruimtetijd, Rush Hour, Singapore International Festival of Arts, Southbank Centre, Stedelijk Museum, Studio Dries Verhoeven, TANDEM - Scène nationale, Theater Utrecht, Théatre Garonne, Truth.io, Wiener Festwochen

  • 22 locations

    Amsterdam Centraal Station
    BIMHUIS
    Carré
    De Balie
    Eye

    Felix Meritis
    Frascati
    Gashouder

    Het Concertgebouw
    Het Sieraad
    ITA
    Lofi
    Mezrab
    Muziekgebouw
    Nationale Opera & Ballet
    Nelson Mandelapark
    Noorderpark
    Nieuw Dakota
    Park Frankendael

    Stedelijk Museum
    Transformatorhuis
    Tuschinski

  • 1.614 hotel stays

    1.614 hotel stays by artists and crew

  • 43 online activities

    1 stream

    3 registraties
    23 podcasts
    2 video's met festivalmakers
    8 video's met festivalambassadeurs
    7 collegevideo's

  • 23 podcasts

    21 podcasts De Groene Amsterdammer 
    2 podcasts Cultuurpers 

  • 173.790 website visitors

    173.790 website users in the last year

  • 67.621 followers social media

    Facebook 41.799
    Instagram 14.835
    LinkedIn 2.845
    YouTube 2.284
    HF Young Facebook 4.129
    HF Young Instagram 1.440
    TikTok 289

Communications

Audiences came to the theatres and concert halls in great numbers to see the 110 performances. The festival presented 40 productions over the course of 24 days, including 9 world premieres and 23 Dutch premieres. Venues were filled to 80% capacity, and the free events were well-attended too. Many visitors watched and listened to the podcasts of De Groene Amsterdammer, the free stream Levaguiã Terê, the stream of The Bird of a Thousand Voices, the streams in De Balie of Meet the Associate Artist and Through Poisoned Times, the HF Weekly episodes with influencers and the HF Lectures. 

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public reactions

  • The Second Woman

    'Great respect for the 24 hours that flew by. The ever-changing audience, the 100 that passed and then the utter release in the applause. Wowee!!!! Kudos, kudos, kudos. A lot of the images will stay with me.'

     

    'It was one long, wild, emotional, frenzied and above all fantastic trip! Thank you so much! ♥️'

     

    'It was amazing to witness this. Been there for almost the whole 24 hours and was so moved by the thunderous applause. Very deep bow and I will look back on this beautifully. Hats off!!!'


    'I watched the first 9 and the last 6 hours, together a little more than half. It was addictive, exciting, sometimes painful, often moving, always beautiful. Almost every 2 hours we sat in a different place in the auditorium, which, because of the clever set -theatre on the left, livestream on the right- ensured that you experienced the scenes differently each time. The line between theatre and film blurred and the endless repetition made it a kind of groundhog-daydream. 'Theatre moment of the year.'

  • Sisyphe

    'This afternoon I was there, at the wordless ritual this artist makes of a simple and possibly pointless act. Each one of his scoops is different, exciting and, yes, also moving at times.'

     

    'I spent almost the entire six hours with Viktor on Sunday, went back yesterday and will also be there for the last few hours on Friday because I have never experienced anything so special.'


    'So touched by the invitation of Victor Pilon to move a few grains of sand, and participate in the performance marathon. Thank you so much Victor! 🙏❤'


    'Thank you for bringing me to a point where I allowed myself to be calm, to be grieving, to feel rage and finally, to connect – soul to soul – with you. This was a human connection that I will never forget and will always carry in my heart. The strength and the beauty of pain is in all of us.'

  • Crossings

    'Very beautiful it was! Moving and made me think: where do I feel at home? I am inspired to create again as a maker thanks to Crossings itself.'

  • Eu não sou so eu em mim

    'Incríveis fantásticos sensacionais!! Um prazer enorme de poder assistir a Cia de novo, e ficar tão embasbacada quanto da primeira vez 🙏🙏🙏'


    'What an awesome, powerful, fantastic performance it was this afternoon - thank you! 🌟💥🌟❤️🌟'


    'Lindos ! Vocês são demais ! ❤️ uma energia unica dentro e fora de palco 👏parabéns pela força'

  • Signal to Noise

    'Seen on 18/6. Wow, surreal ecstasy!'


    'It was just mesmerizing! ❤️❤️❤️'

  • The Bird of a Thousand Voices

    'I would love for it to be released on YouTube. It was one of the most beautiful shows ever.'


    'Was an incredible show! 👏👏👏👏 I had the honor to be there '
     


    'This is just stunning wow'
     


    'Breathtaking ♥️'

  • Rite of Spring

    'What an evening, amazing! Enjoyed it immensely! Thanks for inviting me to be part of this.'

  • PEARLS

    'Was a wonderful performance. Very moving.'

  • ALFA

    'It was a lot of fun, I don't even have a driving licence 😂 but definitely laughed and had all sorts of associations ❤️'

  • The Romeo

    'It was quite its own original style! We're going to try it too. I read something about Satie and Pink Floyd, but also thought I recognised Gounod and Sakamoto. And of course Maria Callas with the rose, which Kazuo Ohno also danced to in the same Stadsschouwburg!'


    'A universal dance... a touching experience.'

    'Left the auditorium feeling intensely fulfilled and relaxed. Delightful performance.'

  • Arthur Verocai & Metropole Orkest

    'The world LOVES the music of Arthur Verocai. Once heard never forgotten and remains in the heart and mind.'


    'Next to the Rolling Stones, the most fun concert I've ever been to.'


    'It was like a dream I will never forget.'


    'What a boss. Very much enjoyed this concert! 🔥🙌🏽'


    'Que maravilha, Verocai!!! Merecidíssimo!! Emocionado aqui!!! Abração!!!!!'


    '🙌👏 Parabéns , estavamos presentes de coração! Sempre na boa vibe. Um abraçao e Parabéns pelo talento seu e de todos os músicos maravilhosos'


    'It was amazing!!! I took some extra guests for the performance and they all loved the music and atmosphere. More Brazilian music in the Holland festival!!!'

Reviews

  • 11.000 Saiten

    Even before a single note of Georg Friedrich Haas' 11,000 Saiten has been played, the mere sight of this arrangement is already spectacular. Something like this is only possible in the monumental Gashouder, where the Holland Festival has more often had outrageous compositions performed in an exciting way.
    - Peter van der Lint, Trouw ★★★★★

    Between the 50 conservatory students at the pianos, 25 musicians from Klangforum Wien were also lined up. They played powerful drones or mixed new tones through the timbre, which, as always with Haas, was the very subject of the composition. No matter how spectacular, after 15 minutes the listener knew what 50 tuned pianos sounded like - but at that very moment the Klangforum members provided a surprise with gigantic crescendos of drum and cymbal rolls. Thus, Haas effortlessly held the attention with clever dramaturgy for over an hour.
    - Joep Stapel, NRC ★★★★

  • ALFA

    The performance gets wings especially when Austrian Jamie Petutschnig enters the stage. With a penetrating gaze, a confident pose and a brilliant voice, the soprano sings of the beauty of the Giulia, the Spider and the Berlina: 'a family car that wins races'.
    - Fritz de Jong, Parool

    Especially in the Italian monologues, you sense that this show is about more than a car. They are texts steeped in poetic superlatives and nostalgia. Moreover, they are delivered so persuasively on stage that you can't help but catch some enthusiasm. Even if you have never quite consciously taken a look at an Alfa Romeo. The subtle and not so subtle references to Romeo and Juliet contribute to this. They question the object of this group of people's desires. Isn't the car slowly becoming an impossible love?
    - Jane Stuhlamcher, Theaterkrant

  • Alles moet weg

    Theatre maker Dries Verhoeven is interested in what Lockrobin has called "behaviour when you don't feel watched" in much of his work. He uses it as a magnifying glass with which to view our moral actions. The further he zooms in on it, the harder it is to distinguish classical pairs of concepts such as punishment and reward, shame and guilt, viewer and watched.
    - Dana Linssen, NRC ★★★★

    The incisive texts with which the performer confronts us are at the heart of this well-thought-out performance. The programme notes state that the texts are drawn from interviews with experts by experience (shoplifters), alongside publications by anti-capitalist authors such as Marx, Zizek, Genet, and others. Vivid observations, amusing comparisons, rock-hard analyses of (digitised) capitalism: as the show progresses, the audience becomes increasingly captivated by this figure's argument.
    - Javier López Piñón, Theaterkrant

  • Arthur Verocai & Metropole Orkest

    Verocai therefore has the aura of a rock star, especially for the young visitors. But no fuss for the now 79-year-old Verocai: just one second he is on the beat, and a frail flick of the wrist later the music pops into the hall and heads go up and down eagerly. Singer Paula Santoro and vocalist Rogê do not excel in virtuosity, but they do excel in getting the audience along. There is wholehearted cheering. When, towards the end, the fragile maestro himself takes the microphone to sing, of course the Grote Zaal couldn't be more thrilled.
    - Freek Dijkstra, Trouw ★★★★

    This is what charisma looks like. Arthur Verocai, now 79, tall and lean, stylish jacket around bony shoulders, need only glance into the hall once to overwhelm the audience. He barely had to move, barely had to raise his hands to make the large-staffed orchestra sound like the finest big band in the world.
    - Wijbrand Schaap, Cultureel Persbureau

  • Carmen

    A 'Carmen' like no other delivers a multi-layered performance. Why does Carmen always have to die at the end of the story? It is one of the tantalising questions in Carmen, the production created by Wu Tsang. Here, the persona of Carmen is split into three: a male dancer, an actor in drag and mezzo-soprano Katia Ledoux. The latter is the radiant centrepiece of the evening. Despite the deconstruction, she gets to sing all her major scenes from Bizet's opera, and Ledoux does so with a fantastically full and deeply coloured sound. With her body, charisma, facial expressions and that voice, she draws all the attention to herself.
    - Peter van der Lint, Trouw ★★★★

    Carmen joins the transformation. Not only has she become a figure from different Spanish periods, she is also split like a goddess into three characters of different gender. Carmen is the dangerous holy trinity of self-destruction, manipulation and attraction.
    - Patrick van den Hanenberg, Theaterkrant

  • Dans la mesure de l'impossible

    Dans la mesure de l'impossible is the name of the performance. 'As far as impossible' is the translation. This refers to the often impossible task of relief workers. 'We are an umbrella in the face of a tsunami,' it sounds. But 'the impossible' in the show is also the term for all those disaster areas where they work. The possible is the safe home. And, they warn us, the impossible is always changing places. It could also come here. The impossible also refers to the unbridgeable gap between aid workers and those back home. But Rodrigues gets impressively far with this minimal, poetic performance.

    - Sandra Kooke, Trouw ★★★★

    'The stories of aid workers are poignant, but sometimes surprisingly positive. Two men and two women form a mouthpiece of aid workers working in war zones. (...) Now and then they are interrupted by a disruptive drummer (...) who gives their stories a poetic layer.'
    – Ela Çolak, De Volkskrant ★★★★

  • Depois do silêncio

    In Depois do silencio, Christiane Jatahy mixes book adaptation, lecture performance and music to delve into the exploitation and oppression of indigenous and Afro-Brazilian people. That Jatahy and her cast manage to make a performance about that history *not* just about pain may be a minor miracle. Jatahy achieves this by making the interconnectedness and love of her actors/characters central. At every moment, they support each other in telling their shared history.

    - Marijn Lems, Theaterkrant

     

    Jatahy likes to blur the lines between fiction and reality. In this play, too, a special mix of realistic and dreamy emerges: as a spectator, you are not entirely clear what is real and what is not. Documentary-style images of life in Agua Negra are shown on big screens and the actors walk among the real residents of the area, as if they were actually part of the community.

    - Myrel Morskate, Trouw ★★★

  • Eu não sou só eu em mim

    Brazilian dance collective Grupo Cena 11 fires a bombardment of stimuli at the audience. The exhaustive repetition of 'Eu não sou só eu em mim' ('I am not only me in myself') serves a clear purpose: to block binary thinking.
    – Annette Embrechts, De Volkskrant ★★★★

     

    With lyrics such as 'I am not a riddle to be solved', the performance not only pokes fun at traditional, binary conceptions of identity, but also nicely shapes what could be called a certain form of unbiddenness. All in all, the performance is thus a wonderful proposition about the mutability of identity. (...) The combination of self-affirmation and undermining makes this work by Gruppo Cena 11 a highlight of the Holland Festival. Because this kind of hopeful, anarchic or punk-like suppleness is sorely missed on the big stages in the Netherlands and beyond.
    - Fransien van der Putt, Theaterkrant

  • Hamlet - In the Folds of Time

    The play is now not set in a castle, but in a rich bungalow, with inventive use of many transparent screens on which to project. The past (in projection) and the present (in reality) are cleverly interplayed.

    - Max Arian, De Groene Amsterdammer

    But it is Jatahy's Hamlet that comes to question whether change can only happen through violence. To be or not to be is a question, but how to shape it is even more important, and Hesme plays that self-questioning ruthlessly.

     

    With projections or live streams on canvas, back wall and screens, situations and locations in the past and present, reality and beyond, appear and blend effortlessly with the concrete reality on stage. It is a minutely composed visual language that also demands a few things from the actors. But nowhere in the performance does this feel forced.

    - Lucia van Heteren, Theaterkrant

  • HARDKOOR

    With composer Frank Wienk, drummer Jens Bouttery and eight singers from the Nederlands Kamerkoor, [Velissarou] transforms an emotional and mental low into a chilling, rousing and finally deeply stirring theatrical club concert. (...) Bouttery provides the text with furious beats and percussion, making the whole thing lean towards a ritual exorcism.

    - de Volkskrant ★★★★

     

    What affects most deeply in Hardkoor is the brief moment when Velissarious's son's voice emerges from one of the speakers. "Go to sleep mummy," he says, his voice slightly distorted (and protected) by the autotune. "Then you'll get better soon." This caring child, and everything that phrase implies, tears your heart apart.

    - Shira Keller, NRC ★★★★

  • Limite

    During this Holland Festival, Brazilian Metá Metá, together with Terrie and Andy from The Ex, will take on the challenge of improvising a more contemporary score to 'Limite'. Metá Metá is a highly regarded jazz trio in their home country, but hardly known in Europe. The five give each other, but - particularly in the beginning - primarily the film, its space. For a long time, they play remarkably subdued, with both Ex-guitarists clearly feeling on their own turf both literally and figuratively and the three Brazilians, all excellent musicians, following suit.

    After about 45 minutes, the musicians find each other in a 'groove' that everyone feels comfortable with. From then on, the connection between music and film seems to diminish somewhat. Or to be more precise: while in the first three quarters of an hour the musicians are still strongly guided by the film images, later it is more the development of the improvisation that steers the interpretation of the film by the audience.

    The abstract nature of the film encourages this development.

    - Peter Bruyn, Gonzo Circus

  • MACACOS

    Nascimento is a particularly powerful, unpredictable performer. A lived-in adaptation of a grief-stricken mother, is followed by a semi-light-hearted quiz on Brazil's colonial past. Thus he intertwines personal stories and historical gaps with deep-seated mechanisms of injustice, oppression and racism, in a theatrical sledgehammer blow that moves, activates and infuriates. It [is] impossible to leave the theatre unmoved.

    - Sander Janssens, de Volkskrant ★★★★★

    The Holland Festival and artistic associate Jatahy thus show that there is a continuum in political performance, where virtuoso acting is employed to tell necessary stories and, above all, to incite action. Theatre can be a weapon in the fight against racism. The camaraderie between the mother of the boy shot dead and the performer concludes this Macacos. (...) Macacos has impact beyond aesthetics and it is moving to witness how the mother of the boy killed clutches the most peaceful weapon that might exist: theatre.

    - Javier López Piñón, Theaterkrant

  • Melencolia

    'The feeling of being completely lost' is characteristic of melancholy, according to composer Brigitta Muntendorf, and she was able to aptly convey that feeling to her audience at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam on Wednesday night. Her Melencolia, which takes its title from Albrecht Dürer's 1514 copper engraving, turned out to be a jam-packed, hyper-eclectic and high-tech musical total theatre that you could hardly get a grip on. But in a captivating, even blistering way - as if you were immersed in a jubilantly magnified biopic of life itself.

    - Joep Stapel, NRC ★★★★★

    The performance is flawless, with Ensemble Modern emerging as a club of people who not only master their instruments perfectly, but are also accomplished actors. A special compliment is due to viola player Megumi Kasakawa, who, in the penultimate movement, 'Winter Scene', dedicates her instrument to the stage as an offering and sings with abandon a Japanese folk song that sounds like a wistful French chanson.

    - Thea Derks, Theaterkrant

  • Mutability

    'Walking around the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam feels like a trip into a strange universe. From every perspective, the network of 12 musicians sounds different. (...) The result is, in a word, stunning.'

    - Dennis Weijers, de Volkskrant ★★★★★

    Personally, I ultimately experienced it as more satisfying to just let the music be what it is. Without worrying about whether I was listening to a musician or an algorithm, but simply by listening to the playing class of the dozen and enjoying the harmonic beauty. Then 'Mutability' just turns out to be a beautiful piece of music where every note falls into place. Right down to the Ligeti-like finale - in terms of sound and atmosphere - which approaches perfection.
    - Peter Bruyn, Gonzo Circus

    Outside on the piers along the IJ, this immersive concert installation leads to lively conversations among visitors about what they heard, and especially about how they listened. And that was precisely what Kyriakides wanted to achieve.

    - NRC

  • PEARLS

    The performers also introduce themselves to the audience and joke among themselves as well as to the crowd. The gathering that began as a ritual turns into an informal one. The total is reminiscent of an online presentation that often shows the same mixture of carelessness and precision. Especially towards the end when the giant baroque pearl orgastically fills the triangle on the floor with a slimy substance. The three performers playfully bathe in the white slime; eventually, their actions come to a halt and a video of a (the real?) world is shown on the screen, where different laws and processes are at work than in the world the trio conjured up for us before: an idyllic paradise.

    - Javier López Piñón, Theaterkrant

  • Rite of Spring

    Not music composed to a film, but vice versa: the Holland Festival opened with two films made to existing compositions. In a sold-out Gashouder in Amsterdam's Westerpark, the choir Cappella Amsterdam and the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra are seated under a white cloth. Award-winning Brazilian filmmaker Christiane Jatahy, also an 'associate artist' of the Holland Festival 2024, opens with a stirring, socially critical film she made to Caroline Shaw's intense Music in Common Time.
    - Dennis Weijers, Volkskrant ★★★

    The formidable control of the orchestra's Chief Conductor, Karina Canellakis, meant that no detail was lost to the spacious dome of the Gashouder in an exhilarating opening night rendition of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, again accompanied by film, this time by Evangelia Kranioti. Although some film projections can distract from a live performance, Kranioti’s, which explores the contrasts of contemporary Brazil from cabana to motorway, from indigenous rite to carnival, beauty to violence, reawakens the extraordinary extremity of Stravinsky’s original score.

    - Eleanor Knight, Bachtrack

  • Signal To Noise

    It is an alienating and fascinating spectacle, which at times has something simultaneously apathetic and restless. But inherent to the concept, it is also a tough and monotonous sit, with many variations of the same thing. Etchells deliberately sorts out annoyance and boredom in the (partly straying or even dropping out) audience. Most beautiful are the moments when, despite this, you suddenly find yourself watching the scene fascinated. It is a wonderful sensation how beauty and boredom can sometimes go hand in hand.
    - Sander Janssens, de Volkskrant ★★★

     

    Nowhere do they break with form and that gets on your nerves. You want to escape from this. But like the actors, we can't, and we are stuck in that never-coagulating performance of identity. (...) Man, on the other hand, stumbles over his mistakes. Gets frustrated and exhausted. It is that point that Signal to Noise very deliberately seeks. Both on stage and with the audience. The resistance the performance evokes is crucial. The persistence it requires, and above all the poignancy that eventually sprouts unexpectedly from that exhaustion; for that, you really have to be human.

    - Elise van Dam, Parool

  • Sisyphe

    Watching a man shovel sand aimlessly for six hours is unexpectedly fascinating. To get ahead of the boredom, Pilon deploys theatrical means. He sometimes slows his stride, looks suspiciously at the surrounding audience, swings his shovel around as if juggling a spear. Sometimes he scratches the ground with his iron blade until sparks shoot off. Sometimes he drags the shovel behind him, or runs incantatory circles around the mountains of sand. He is in no hurry. The industrial soundtrack fits in well, with buzzing humming tones, bright metal strikes, and very occasionally a sung song. Biggest surprise is that he asks audience members to briefly take over his physical labour. Without breaking his silence, he hands them the handle of his shovel. It gives him time to sit for a moment and dab the sweat from his forehead.

    - Ron Rijghard, NRC ★★★★

     

    'Pilon turns it into a real spectacle. In the very first hour, he grates his shovel across the concrete floor to the point that it hurts your ears and swings it through the air dangerously, like a samurai with his katana.'

    - Jan Pieter Ekker, Het Parool

  • Stabat Mater

    Performer Janaina Leite reckons with her past in an explicit, mercilessly honest performance. For her show Stabat Mater, Leite wanted to make a film with a real porn actor and have it directed by her mother. You just have to dare. But that clip came: it was shown at the Holland Festival last weekend, as a rather explicit part of her performance. Leite herself having sex with a tough guy and her mother giving directions. It seems embarrassing, but it is not, it's at most uncomfortable, but most of all brutally honest.

    - Hein Janssen, de Volkskrant ★★★★

     

    Both actors are white-masked, which looks alienating. With interventions like these, Leite brings alienation and bizarrely creates distance despite all the extreme intimacy. Meanwhile - you won't believe your ears - the Stabat Mater is heard in a sacred version from centuries ago. With these charged, shocking contradictions, Janaina Leite ruthlessly works out the theme of women as virgins and what that idea leads to in the Western world. That she gives her own mother a crucial role in this is a choice with impact.

    - Kester Freriks, Theaterkrant

  • Stravinsky Sprookjes

    With his two-part 'Stravinksy Fairy Tales', choreographer Alexei Ratmansky brings classical ballet to the present. The two ballet pieces, performed by the Dutch National Ballet, breathe the atmosphere of a fantasy story, but are also a successful ode to the art of classical dance.
    - Hein Janssen, Volkskrant ★★★★

     

    The National Ballet puts an etagere of delectable ballet pralines on stage.(...) Ratmansky is not to be caught out by any eye-catching dramaturgical innovations - the structure of the ballet could be called calibrated. But those who look more closely see how everything - from swirling group dances to masterful duets - supports the dramatic development of the characters.

    - Alexander Hiskenmuller, Trouw ★★★★

  • The Bird of a Thousand Voices

    Phenomenal musicians, beautiful storytelling and elegant stage design: after a fragmented beginning, all the elements melt together. In a sold-out venue, singer Areni Agbabian walks towards the stage with a candle in her hand. Don't let the intimate start fool you. Once Areg is introduced, a sequence of roughly the following formula follows: a narration, accompanied or not by piano, followed by hard-hitting jazz rock popping into the hall. It's not for everyone, but many visitors sit subtly nodding along to the music. The Holland Festival version of headbanging.

    – Britt van Klaveren, het Parool

     

    This overwhelming musical performance, based on the idea of Armenian jazz pianist Tigran Hamasyan and directed by Ruben van Leer, is powerful in its subtlety mixed with explosiveness. Each time after a small narration, a soft sound or a sophisticated lighting intervention, there is a burst of imposing tones or dazzling light.
    - Mina Etemad, Theaterkrant

  • The Divine Cypher

    She beautifully flutters backwards into the theatre auditorium. With splash goggles over her face and a water bottle on her head, Ana Pi dances so lightly on her water shoes that the Afro-Brazilian dancer and visual artist looks like an apparition in her white ruffled dress. Even though, during her Holland Festival solo The Divine Cypher, she uses earthly tools such as her mobile's lamp to create lanterns and a remote-controlled trolley as a moonrover. In this white dream world, Pi mixes sacred, ancestral dance forms with 'Afro-diasporic' dance styles such as vogue, krump and hip-hop.

    - Annette Embrechts, de Volkskrant ★★

  • The Faggots and their Friends Between Revolutions

    From the first sensitive vocal solo, the packed hall at the Muziekgebouw is sold. Between the songs, chairs, harpsichords, pianos and all sorts of other instruments are dragged around. All that shuffling and running makes the scene changes look intentionally improvisational. Out of the played messiness, something beautiful always emerges: a countertenor mockingly singing a baroque-style spot-on aria, an autumnal cello solo, a hummed choir. In Venables' eclectic score, all the songs flow seamlessly into one another and the cast performs them with endless devotion.

    -Jenny Camilleri, de Volkskrant ★★★★

     

    Ted Huffman and Philip Venables give new life to [Larry Mitchell's] cult classic with The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions. It delivers an anarchic evening of queer joy. Traditional hierarchies between singers and musicians, as well as spectators and performers, give way to a group where everyone is constantly playing and making music together.

    - Jeroen van Wijhe, Theaterkrant

  • The House With the Ocean View

    Jia-Yu Chang Corti, who was carefully selected by Abramović, meanwhile quietly and intently explores the three rooms and stares for a long time at the room that is packed with people. Then she goes to the bathroom and a little later she takes off her clothes and takes a shower. There are whispers and soft chuckles here and there in the hall. House with the Ocean View is probably Abramović's best-known performance, having been imitated in the popular comedy Sex and the City. In the series, it can be visited day and night, but that is made up. The Stedelijk Museum will be open three nights longer, but at night Jia-Yu Chang Corti will be alone. There are guards in the building, though, and there is an emergency button she can press at any time.

    - Harmen van Dijk, Trouw

  • The Romeo

    They dance "the romeo," a fictional dance that choreographer Trajal Harrell claims has evolved across history, cultures, gender and contexts, as a kind of imprint of humanity - past, present and future. Thus, American Trajal Harrell, the darling of stages worldwide and a unique talent, uses echoes of classical dance influences, Japanese butoh and postmodern dance for his "romeo" dance, in addition to his vogueing-based vocabulary with which he has become famous: sexy, self-aware, empowering.
    - Alexander Hiskemuller, Trouw ★★★★ 

    Harrell soars far beyond definitions of art with his dancers. The joyful flow of the performance, involving a dozen dancers of all sizes and plumage, is addictive and infectious. These people of flesh, blood and past always dress up, proudly show off their outfits, dance in a circle but with their faces to the audience: they tell huge stories but need no words to do so.
    - Wijbrand Schaap, Cultureel Persbureau

  • The Second Woman

    The performance is addictive. Precisely because you quickly figure out how the scene is put together, every little deviation brings tension. I notice how the energy of each Martin affects the scene. Some Martins come in very lovingly and are treated the same way by Virginia. Others try to make a joke out of it. Those then take Verbaan in just the same way. And every time, the end is the most exciting. The whole room seems to hold its breath when Martin again decides whether he loves Virginia or not. Especially on Saturday afternoon at four o'clock. Then it's the turn of the very last antagonist. When he says he loves her, a minute-long standing ovation follows. Martin is not the only one - by now the entire audience loves Georgina Verbaan.
    - Justus Boesschen Hospers, Parool

    Just one more one, I thought at a quarter to two at night, with stinging eyes and a pounding forehead after about eight hours of watching. The element of surprise is addictive. "I never loved you," says an old rocker with a scarf and leather vest, who seemed so endearing a moment ago. "Asshole", I think.
    - Myrel Morskate, Trouw

  • The Unborn

    The Unborn is a piece between ritual and performance, trying to cross, or even dissolve, the boundary between the living and the non-living. The theater is already a ritual setting in itself, Pinheiro says, with people entering an agreed-upon place at an appointed time and adhering to agreed-upon codes there.

    - Marjolijn de Cocq, Parool

    After the performance, I speak with Holland Festival programmer Katinka Enkhuizen. She explains that the premise of The Unborn was that Pinheiro's mother had several miscarriages before she was born. Through this story, I feel a connection to the "why" of the creator and this performance. I find it a fascinating thing to work with: the spirits of the unborn who were never allowed to have earthly life. But you did. It makes the aspect of "absent presence" or "present absence" more interesting.

    - Zahira Mous, Theaterkrant

  • The Very Last Northern White Rhino

    Oulouy's physical journey (from prayerful posture past a fishy Bach, through apathetic standing in the corner and through jerky crisis-motion) ends after three quarters of an hour on the stairs next to the bleachers. He takes a few sips from a bottle and looks at the audience and the now empty dance floor. A smile breaks through on his face. Apparently refreshed, he bursts into an exalted whirlwind final dance, once again exploring every corner of the stage. Particularly striking here is his lightning-fast footwork rooted in African dance styles.

    - Fritz de Jong, Theaterkrant

Thanks to Friends and Partners

The Holland Festival is not complete without the support from Friends and Partners. Their financial support helps the festival preserve its unique character and distinctive course.

In the run-up to the festival, we organise extraordinary meet-ups for our Friends and Partners throughout the year, allowing them to get to know other festival admirers and be the first to know about our plans. The annual high point is in June: this is when we meet at the festival around performances and during special programmes.

We all ran into each other on the dance floor after the opening performance and discussed all we had seen at the Friends performance at the end of the festival. We met Victor Pilon during the setup of Sisyphe and heard the piano tuner at work during the preparations for 11.000 Saiten in the Gashouder. We got to know associate artist Christiane Jatahy’s world a little better, delved into stories of aid workers during Dans la mesure de l’impossible, wandered through the music during the world premiere of Mutability, stuck around to talk about experimental performances like Signal to Noise and were unable to sit still during Vitor Araújo’s Brazilian sounds in the BIMHUIS and Arthur Verocai, Paula Santoro, Rogê and Ricardo Verocai in the Concertgebouw. Many ended their visit to the festival with the 24-hour performance The Second Woman.

 

Thanks to all the partners: Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Municipality of Amsterdam, production partner Ammodo, main patron Fonds 21, presentation partner Hartwig Art Foundation, Performing Arts Fund NL, Hotel Casa Amsterdam, ELJA Foundation, VandenEnde Foundation, Cultuurfonds, Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, Automobielbedrijf Van Vloten, The Brook Foundation, Zabawas Foundation, AFK (Amsterdam Fund for the Arts), Stichting Betrokkenen Stedelijke Vernieuwing, ZOZ Fund, Amsterdam District Noord, M.A.O.C. Gravin van Bylandt Foundation, the Brazilian Embassy in The Hague, General delegation of Québec in Brussels, the Austrian embassy in The Hague, Beam Systems, Data Science Lab, De Nederlandsche Bank, ETC Design Center Europe, G&S&, Loyens & Loeff, Mylogin, Oedipus Brewing, Reset, WestCord Art Hotel, YouAnd, and others who supported anonymously. 

Our friends

Special thanks go out to our Governors, Friends of the Heart, Guardians, (Young) Benefactors, Admirers and the HF Young Circle of the Holland Festival and all visitors who made a donation when purchasing their tickets.

 

Governors
Ronald Bax and Frank Lunenburg, Rob Defares, Arent Fock, J. Kat en B. Johnson, Françoise van Rappard-Wanninkhof, M. Sanders, Tom de Swaan, Elise Wessels-van Houdt - in memory -

Governors who want to stay anonymous.

 

Friends of the Heart
B. Amesz and E. Boswijk, G.J. van den Bergh and C. van den Bergh-Raat, Mavis Carrilho, Kommer and Josien Damen, Bernard and Ineke Dijkhuizen, Nienke van den Hoek and Alexander Ribbink, Isaäc en Francien Kalisvaart, Kristine Kohlstrand, Roland Kupers, Cees Lafeber and Seth Josephs, Emma Moloney, Robert Jan and Mélanie van Ogtrop-Quintus, H.J. ten Have and G.C. de Rooij, Anthony and Melanie Ruys, Coen Teulings and Salomé Bentinck, Patty Voorsmit, Sabine Vroom, Wolbert and Barbara Vroom-Cramer

Friends of the Heart who want to stay anonymous.

 

Guradians
R.F. van den Bergh, Duco de Boer, S. Brada, Frans and Dorry Cladder-van Haersolte, Gerard Dekker, J. Docter and E. van Luijk, L. Dommering-van Rongen, Sylvia Dornseiffer, Guy Driebeek, Philip J.J. Drost and Youri Zomerdijk, Jolanda Drukker Murray, Marianne Eisma, E.L. Eshuis, Carolien Gehrels and Fina Hilverts, Emmerique Granpré Moliere, M. Grotenhuis, S. Haringa, Meike Hartelust and Just In ‘t Velt, Mabel and Jeroen van Hessen-Ansenk, Luuk H. Karsten*, Paul and Saskia Laseur, Ton and Jannie Liefaard-van Dijk, A. van der Linden-Taverne, Jan Willem Meeuwis, E. Merkx, H. Nagtegaal, Sijbolt Noorda and Mieke van der Weij, Ben Noteboom, Henriette van Notten, G. van Oenen, Pim and Antoinette Polak, Joanne Schouten en Kay Bing Oen*, Lisette Schuitemaker en Jos van Merendonk, Ingeborg Snelleman en Arie Vreugdenhil*, Mai Spijkers, Eelco van der Stok en Sophie Koole, P. Wakkie, Martine Willekens, O.L.O. and Tineke de Witt Wijnen-Jansen Schoonhoven

Guradians who want to stay anonymous.

 

Benefactors
Julius Ansenk, Harold Ansink*, Nigel Bagley and Lorraine Dean, Lodewijk Baljon and Ineke Hellingman, Ilonka van den Bercken, Ellen Birnie, Co Bleeker*, Sara Bletz en Stephan Vorst, Femke Blokhuis, Jasper Bode, Mariëtte Bode, K. Bodon, Onno Bosma, E. Bracht, Bart Breederveld, D. de Bruijn, G. van Capelleveen, Marie Hélène Cornips and Dick Havenaar, Prof. Cees Dam, Henriette Daniels, J. Dekker, M. Doorman, Chr. van Eeghen*, Mark Elstgeest, Ruud Emous, Monica Galer, Caroline van Gelderen, E. de Graaff- Van Meeteren, F. Grimmelikhuizen, D. Grobbe, Bureau Groen - Nicole Groen, Marc van Gulik, Ann van der Haven, V. Halberstadt, Annelies Heidstra and Renze Hasper, Hagar Heijmans, B. Heijse en A.M. Heijse-Verbeek, Servaas Hensen, G. van Heteren, L. van Heteren, Julie Heyning - van Maanen, Fina Hilverts, S. Hodes, J. Hopman, J. Houtman, E. Hummelen, Wendy van Ierschot, Jeroen van Ingen, P. Jochems, Jan de Kater, R. Katwijk, J. Keukens, Sue der Kinderen, E. Kocken, Christine Koenigs, Aron Kovacs, E. de Kreij, Casper van der Kruk, Hilde Laffeber-Nicolaï, M. Le Poole, M. Leenaers, Annet Lekkerkerker, M. Levenbach, A. Ligeon, T. Lodder, R. Mackenzie, D. van der Meer, E. van der Meer-Blok, Christa Meindersma, Sija van Mourik, Marjon Nooter, Kay Bing Oen*, P. Price, F. Racké, J. Rammeloo, Jet de Ranitz, Wessel Reinink, Richard van Remmen, Inge Schmitt, A. Schneider, H. Schnitzler, Sander and Michiel, G. Scholten, Ronald Siemers - in memory -, P. Smit, G. Smits, A. Sonnen - in memory -, W. Sorgdrager and F. Lekkerkerker*, K. Spanjer, Reinout Steenhuizen, C.P.-M.H.-L. Tegelaar, A. Tjoa, M. Tjoe-Nij, Y. Tomberg, David van Traa, Tamara Trotman, Kurt Tschenett en Sasha Brunsmann, Frank Uffen, M. Verhoeff-Neef, Marie-Christine Vink , Truus Visser, A. van Vliet, M.M. de Vos van Steenwijk, Wieneke van de Vrede, A. Wertheim, Willem Wester, E. E. Wolf and M. E. Otte, M. van Wulfften Palthe, M. Yazdanbakhsh, M.J. Zomer, P. van Zwieten and N. Aarnink

Benefactors who want to stay anonymous.

* extra contribution

 

Young Benefactors
Hassina Bahar, Aram Balian, Pietro Bertazzi, Quirijn Bongaerts, Natalia Barbosa Eitel, Jasmin Farag, Brendon Humble, Tim Klifman, Naomi van der Linden, Eva Moerbeek, Pieter Nooitgedagt, Eerke Steller, Bart Truijens, Esther van der Veldt, Sheila Verdegaal, Norman Vladimir, Lonneke van der Waa

Young Benefactors who want to stay anonymous.

 

Admirers
All 614 Admirers.

 

Become a Friend and experience more!

Meanwhile we are already busy preparing the 78th Holland Festival in June 2025. The festival isn’t complete without our Friends and Partners. Their support allows us to present work that broadens your view on the world and makes for unforgettable experiences. Will you help us realise the next festival? 

You can be a Friend from € 55,- per year. Apart from the different Friendships, you can support us in other ways too, like with a one-off donation or a legacy with which you pass on your love for the festival. You can also help realise extraordinary projects by contributing towards educational programmes, supporting context programming, or co-sponsoring unusual and large-scale projects that would not be possible without this support.

 

Would you like to join? Look here and experience more.

Holland Festival team

Holland Festival team

Holland Festival team

Thanks to the entire Holland Festival team, we were able to put this festival together.

See you next June!


→ meet the whole team

 

 

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colofon

text: Edo Dijksterhuis

aftermovie: Gijs van Dooren

photography: Ada Nieuwendijk, David Hup, Fleur Mulder, Luz Soria, Yvonne Zoethout