Successful Holland Festival tunes into the zeitgeist with topical programme

The festival presented 45 productions and 105 performances in 23 days.
It sold more than 86,000 tickets, a record breaking 85% of total capacity.

Edges of Europe

Artistic director Ruth Mackenzie's second edition was a wide-ranging programme with a topical theme: Edges of Europe. A number of artists examined topical issues in Europe in a series of performances on the changing continent. The opening performance Die Stunde da wir nichts voneinander wußten reflected the diversity and tensions of modern day Europe, while Milo Rau, Wael Shawky, DakhaBrakha and Joël Pommerat delved into its history. Dutch theatre company Wunderbaum addressed and responded to current issues. Other artists from the edges of Europe included The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians with Damon Albarn and guests re-united after years separated by the Syrian War, giving their first concert in Amsterdam’s Royal Theatre Carré. The Holland Festival audience and more than 400 refugee guests enjoyed a heart warming evening with the clear message that art inspires hope and great music unites.

World Premieres and Dutch Premieres

The festival had twelve world premieres and forty-one Dutch premieres in 2016.

Pierre Audi’s production of Louis Andreissen’s new opera Theatre of the World had its world premiere in co-production with Dutch National Opera and the LA Philharmonic.

Olga Neuwirth provided 3 Dutch premieres as part of the focus on her work, including the epic Le Encantadas played by the Ensemble intercontemporain.

Dutch premieres in theatre and dance included work by Meg Stuart, Akram Khan, Africa Express, Tania El Khoury, Simon McBurney, Joël Pommerat, Neil Bartlett, Christiane Jatahy, Mogwai, Simon Stone and Harrison Birtwistle.

8 of the premieres were played by the Kronos Quartet in residency which included open masterclasses and workshops, just part of an extensive context programme offering learning and participation opportunities for all ages.

Participation and Access

Participation was a feature of the festival, with opportunities for the public to perform in WalkingThe  Forest, Ça Ira (1) Fin de Louis, De komst van Xia, amongst the main festival programme.

10,000 people participated in Rikrit Tiranija’s Tomorrow is the Question.

The world premiere of the Holland Festival’s commission to Merlijn Twaalfhoven included 274 bassoonists from world famous professionals to amateurs and beginners of all ages in the Holland Festival Proms.

The Holland Festival Proms were in the final weekend at the Concertgebouw. There were six concerts in one day for only € 10 per concert.

Audience favourites

The audience favourites in 2016 were Simon McBurney's The Encounter, Compagnie Louis Brouillard's Ça Ira (1) Fin de Louis, Tanztheater Wuppertal's Nelken, Dutch National Opera's Pique dame and Theatre of the World, Akram Khan's Until the Lions, and Wunderbaum's De komst van Xia (The coming of Xia).

Visitor numbers

The Holland Festival drew more than 86,000 visitors. Rirkrit Tiravanija's installation on Museumplein was used by more than 10,000 people. The figures for digital participants will follow.

Funding institutions, sponsors, funders and individuals

The festival is pleased FONDS 21 will continue to be its main partner. The foundation has again committed itself to the Holland Festival with an increased contribution for the anniversary edition in 2017.

The Holland Festival is subsidised by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the municipality of Amsterdam, and was partly made possible by the support from its chief sponsor FONDS 21, Stichting Ammodo and Rabobank Amsterdam. The festival has acquired three new sponsors this year: Bloomberg, Loyens & Loeff and Hotel Casa 400. These contributions and those of other corporate sponsors, foundations and many individuals gave the festival a sound financial basis in 2016.

The 70th edition of the Holland Festival will start on 3 June 2017.