Amsterdam’s Internationally Acclaimed Holland Festival

What's New — By Scott Roane on May 27, 2011 at 10:22 am


1-26 June, 2011

The Holland Festival has been a trend-setting performing arts festival in the Netherlands since 1947, annually presenting exceptional and sometimes ground-breaking work at an international level. This year its 51 different productions offer a cross-section of all the performing arts and more, such as theatre, musicals, visual arts, dance, literature, opera and music. The line up includes a mix of big names and upcoming talent, and styles ranging from classic to daring experiments.

This year the festival willl use 17 large venues around the city including Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, The Muziektheater, Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam, Westergasfabriek, Concertgebouw, Royal Theater Carré, Theater Bellevue, Bimhuis, Orgelpark, Oosterpark and Spui25.

Ticket prices range from free to over Euro 100 and tickets can be reserved via the website (in English) or bought at the venue (not recommended as many performances sell out). It’s advisable to get to venues in advance as they can become very busy with around 100,000 people attending during the festival. Most of the performances are language neutral or with subtitles in English.

Four of the most highly rated productions for this year are:

Musical FELA! The true story of the legendary Nigerian musician and political activist Fela Kuti, whose soulful Afro beat rhythms ignited a generation. It’s produced by Jay-Z (the most renowned hip-hop artist of the moment) and Will and Jada Pinket Smith. It’s the most critically acclaimed new musical of the season on Broadway and received three 2010 Tony Awards. It is a triumphant tale of courage, passion and love, featuring Fela Kuti’s captivating music and the visionary direction and choreography of Tony-Award winner Bill T. Jones. Inspired by his mother he defied a corrupt and oppressive military government and devoted his life and music to the struggle for freedom and human dignity. You will hear it with your hips, with your rip cage, it’s very energetic and it shows you the real spirit of Kuti!

Mea Culpa is by German Director, Christoph Schlingensief who died of lung cancer last year. Mea Culpa is the last part of a trilogy in which the German director stages a social sculpture of his own disease. This spectacular opera is about life, death and mortality and contains a multitude of layers and perspectives, and music ranging from Wagner to Roy Orbison. The opera covers almost all of his fascinations and will strike a chord with wide sections of the population, incorporating many references to art, film and philosophy. Schlingensief was a German most controversial and provocative media figure and director.

Delusion is a performance of the New York singer, violinist and performer artist Laurie Anderson. In the show she creates her own universe with unearthly music, superb visual design, and her magnetic personality.

The New York theatre company Elevator Repair Service presents The Select. The desperation of the Lost Generation is seen on stage in their adaptation of Ernest Hemmingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises. With a highly inventive staging we see how American correspondent Jake Barnes, impotent from a war wound, has to see how the woman he loves, Lady Brett Ashley, indulges in sexual escapades with other men.

For more information and tickets visit