Dutch culture in the UK this summer - United Kingdom

Dutch culture in the UK this summer

News item | 06-06-2024 | 13:54

Arts from the Netherlands can be found all over the UK this summer: from a stunning solo exhibition at Dundee Contemporary Arts to a spectacular installation at Belfast Photo Festival and from thought-provoking sensory experiences at LIFT Festival London to a wide variety of audiovisual artworks at Sonica in Glasgow. The highest number of Dutch theatre and dance performances will happen in Edinburgh this summer. All supported by the cultural department of the Dutch Embassy in the UK.

The United Kingdom is one of the focus countries in the Netherlands’ International Cultural Policy. With this policy our goal is to strengthen the position of the Dutch cultural sector in the UK, through visibility, exchange and sustainable cooperation. Also, through Dutch cultural activities in the UK we aim to support the bilateral relationship between the Netherlands and the UK. Finally, we aim to apply the strengths of the cultural sector and creative industries as we work towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
We want to thank all British organisations that are bringing Dutch culture to the UK this summer.

Here's what's happening in the summer of 2024:

Let’s start in Scotland…
* Saffron, a dance performance by Hala Salem on Saturday 29 June, is part of the Village Storytelling Festival at CCA Glasgow. Salem is a Palestinian, Netherlands-based choreographer and dancer. Saffron is a coming of age story about finding one’s identity and finding a home.
*Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival is – once again – bringing Drum and Brass band KalentuRa to the UK. This Caribbean ensemble from Amsterdam has performed at nearly every edition of the festival since 2014. This year, on Sunday 14 July, they will parade and perform at Princes Street Gardens.
* A few weeks later, Edinburgh is the unofficial cultural capital of the world once more, with many festivals taking place throughout August. The Dutch Embassy in the UK supports the Edinburgh International Festival’s staging of the UK premiere of ITA’s Penthesilea at The Lyceum from 3 to 6 August. We also support performances at Edinburgh Fringe, such as Tim Honnef’s solo theatre show Honnef’s Lost Words (a daily show from 1 to 15 August) and the dance double-bill Victory Boogie Woogie / the pleasure of stepping off a horse when it's moving at full speed (from 13 to 25 August), by choreographers Charles Pas and Courtney May Robertson.
* Claudia Martínez Garay – who currently has her first UK solo exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary – will have her first solo exhibition in Scotland at Dundee Contemporary Arts from 23 August to 17 November. Martínez Garay was born in Peru, now lives and works in the Netherlands, and is interested in how artefacts, cultural relics and propaganda communicate the history and social-political memory of cultures.
* The audiovisual arts festival Sonica in Glasgow has programmed two acts from the Netherlands this year. Grand River, aka Aimée Portioli from the Netherlands, performs at Tramway on 20 September (just inside the astronomical summer, so it can still go in this newsletter); Netherlands-based artist duo No Plexus perform in the same venue on 28 September (but that is for the autumn newsletter).

ITA performs Penthesilea at Edinburgh International Festival this summer
ITA performs Penthesilea at Edinburgh International Festival this summer

…make a stop in Northern Ireland…
* Belfast Photo Festival is the UK’s largest annual photo festival and (arguably) the biggest attraction this year is a work by Matthias Oostrik from the Netherlands. From 7 to 23 June, Oostrik’s fascinating work "Oops! We Automated Bullshit" SMILE AI. – especially adapted for the magnificent, disused, industrial building Riddel’s Warehouse in which it is exhibited – transforms portraits of its visitors into flawless, super-persuasive replicas, eerily smiling back at the audience.
In a double page spread interview with The Irish News, Oostrik says: “I have a lot of fun creating these weird pieces that shouldn’t be able to exist.” Read the whole interview here.

…pop over to Wales…
* Vincent van Gogh is the poster boy of the Art of the Selfie exhibition at National Museum Wales, which runs until January 2025. Van Gogh painted no fewer than thirty-five self-portraits and so became arguably one of the most recognizable faces in Western art. This exhibition features Van Gogh’s Portrait of the Artist (1887), which is on loan from Musée d’Orsay in Paris. By the way, Rembrandt van Rijn can also be spotted in this fantastic exhibition in Cardiff.

…and take a journey through England.
* Set in an imagined night market where bat species are extinct and where lab grown bat meat is sold, Bat Night Market intersects performance, speculative design and science. These evenings of discussions, games, tastings and sensory experiences, from 10 to 15 June at the Science Gallery in London, are part of London's LIFT festival. Bat Night Market is a production of Eindhoven-based artist Kuang-Yi Ku and London-based designer Robert Johnson.
* Chisenhale Gallery has started its ‘Creativity from the Netherlands’ season. The current exhibition, pink & green by Netherlands-based British artist Rory Pilgrim, runs until 21 July. For this exhibition, Pilgrim collaborated with individuals with direct experience of the criminal justice system. The artworks make tangible the emotional impact of legal systems on our lives, our environment and the world we inhabit, asking us to reconceive justice as a form of spiritual sanctuary.
The public programme around Pilgrim’s display contains a gallery tour, reading session and musical performance.
Immediately after Pilgrim’s exhibition, Chisenhale Gallery has programmed two more Netherlands-based artists. Simnikiwe Buhlungu (originally from South Africa) has a solo show at Chisenhale Gallery from 6 September to 3 November, and Bruno Zhu (originally from Portugal) will be filling the entire gallery space from 22 November to 2 February.
* Two Dutch artist duos from the Netherlands, First Noble and People of Earth, are working together on a number of Shared History of the World activities that will be part of the Leeds International African Arts Festival . Firstly, an exhibition of digitally created Afro-futuristic visual artworks will be on show at Leeds City Museum from 10 to 12 July. Secondly, throughout those three days, the Dutch artists will give workshops on writing – First Noble published an Afro-futuristic book with the title ‘His Story Of The World’ – as well as “world building” workshops, as they call it. The artists are building a virtual world based on their book, so they will talk about creating characters, animations, music and a storyline, as well as about the techniques that they use to make 3D computer animations and soundscapes. Thirdly, there will be book reading session by First Noble.
* As briefly mentioned above, Nottingham Contemporary is the first UK institution to dedicate a solo exhibition to Peru-born, Netherlands-based artist Claudia Martínez Garay. WAKCHAKUNA / We Who Share Everything and Nothing runs until 8 September.
* ITA was also mentioned earlier in this newsletter (Edinburgh international Festival). But there is a phenomenal collaboration happening in England, too. International Theatre Amsterdam’s Artistic Director Eline Arbo is currently working with a British cast and crew to bring an English-language version of her successful play The Years to the Almeida Theatre in London, from 27 July to 31 August.
* Not only big names like Eline Arbo are making waves in theatre mad England. Young, emerging theatre makers from the Netherlands are also finding their way to London, fortunately. Inge-Vera Lipsius, for example, stages her play Quad Loop at Pushkin House London this July. Quad Loop is about the Olympic Games, a teenage Russian athlete and a doping scandal. It’s inspired by real events. Keep an eye on the Pushkin House website for more information.
* The Southbank Centre in London has again programmed a fabulous Dutch theatre performance. Home, on 13 and 14 July, is perfect for young audiences. This production – about what makes a house a home – is inspired by creator Anastasiia Liubchenko’s personal story. She left Ukraine in 2010 to find a new home in the Netherlands. And her mother, who had moved from Kiev to Crimea just before it was annexed by Russia, fled to Poland in 2014.
* Dutch designer Sanne Visser makes rope from human hair and she uses that rope in all kinds of objects she creates. At Material Matters , from 18 to 21 September at the Oxo Tower Bargehouse in London, part of London Design Festival, Visser will show the entire process of her practice. Visitors can have their hair cut at her stand, see those hairs being spun into ropes, and witness how these ropes gets incorporated into various design products.
* Works by two other Dutch designers who use the planet’s natural resources in a truly sustainable manner can be viewed in other London locations this summer.
Claudy Jongstra has an ongoing collaboration with Bankside Hotel in London. The hotel’s art gallery, in the basement, contains several works by Jongstra. Some of the interior design objects in the lobby and in the suites are by Jongstra, too. On 12 and 13 June, the Dutch designer is back in the UK for a masterclass and symposium in collaboration with Central Saint Martins.
Christien Meindertsma’s exhibition Re-forming Waste can still be visited at the V&A until 19 October.
* The team at the Dutch Centre in London is also putting together an inspiring programme for the summer. The first event, on 15 June, features Dutch comedians from the Leids Cabaret Festival. Keep an eye on the Dutch Centre’s website for more events.
* The end of summer is the start of a major Vincent van Gogh exhibition at the National Gallery in London. Van Gogh: Poets and Lovers opens on 14 September.
* At the Dutch Embassy we are happy to share a discount code for Schërzo by the Dutch ensemble Släpstick at Wilton's Music Hall in London. These hilarious performances – “classical music as you've never experienced it before” – are happening in October, but the discount code is only valid for the month of June! When booking your tickets in June, use discount code SCHERZONL to unlock 20% off tickets.

Have a great summer!
Best regards,
The Culture Team at the Dutch Embassy in London
Cultural Counsellor Astrid de Vries, Policy Officer Koen Guiking and Support Officer Trudy Barnes