june has arrived, my last month in this amazing city – and with it the last cultural highlight. the good thing: the event in question, the holland festival, pretty much lasts the entire month.


the holland festival – indeed the most stupid title anybody could have come up with for the brilliant, multi-disciplinary, boundary-crossing, often enough groundbreaking program the organizers come up with year after year.

as said program is accompanied not just by a booklet, but a 300+ page (and elegantly layouted) book that can be picked up pretty much everywhere throughout june, there is really no point in striving for complete coverage. but here is a list of highlights which i picked for myself…


  • june 2: “nocturne”, an installation of two “dead” pianos by japanese artist tomoko mukaiyama. running all month at the muziekgebouw aan ‘t ij, no entrance fee. the opening features a live interpretation of chopin’s heartwrenching “nocturnes” spiced up with video footage
  • june 3: “playing cards: spades”, a las vegas-themed multimedia theater production on display in the unusual setting of de gashouder.
  • june 10: “delusion of the fury”. i better just quote the program in this case: “with a bizarre array of self-built instruments, harry partch, the most eccentric of all american composers, created a series of soundscapes which blend a japanese ghost story of a murderer who confronts ghost of his victim with an african comedy involving a goatherd and a deaf tramp.” erm, yes – this music theatre production (at muziekgebouw aan ‘t ij) sounds just too strange to miss
  • june 12: “20 pianos”, a virtual concerto by matthew herbert using, yes, 20 pianos from all over the world – including the one on whch john lennon composed “imagine”. at bimhuis
  • june 15: “napoleon”, a screening of the massive 1927 silent movie for which a full orchestra delivers a live score. happens at the ziggo dome of all places
  • june 16: “’tis pity she’s a whore”, a theater play “full of sex, violence and extreme passions” shown at the bellevue
  • june 18: “you as we all”, an opera production (also at the bellevue) featuring the music of my brightest diamond’s shara worden who also appears as an actress on stage. to be honest, i also fell for this because of the beautiful picture
  • june 22: “the wasp factory”, genius ben frost’s take on iain banks’ cult novel, to be seen at the muziekgebouw aan ‘t ij. Announced as “combining a bleak stage design with a mix of extreme sonic structures, classical, minimalist and raw pop music”, this sounds exactly like my cup of spirits-infused tea.
  • june 25: “the crimson house” (also at the stadsschouwburg), a dance production by samoan director lemi ponifasio about the phenomenon of omnipresent surveillance. The program promises this to be “unnerving, ceremonial, hypnotic” (for this triptych alone it is worth perusing the entire book!) – and i was hooked immediately.

of course i will include short reviews of these in this blog as well.

seriously: will anybody really watch the world cup with alternatives like these!?

oh, and as for the break between june 3 and june 10: i will be in berlin for some concerts. let’s see whether the agenda allows any blogging from there.