10 great things to do this week: June 29 – July 5

10 great things to do this week: June 29 – July 5

From a shiny new station entrance and a church roof terrace to English folk rock and the booming notes of an organ, here's our pick of the week's best things to do.Marvel at a comic Al Pacino Danny Collins is a tale of an aging pop star attempting to recover his self-respect could well apply to its star, Al Pacino, whose output over the past few decades has been woeful. Fortunately, director and writer Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love and Last Vegas) has managed to row back Pacino's recent tendency to overact and the result is a charming comedy with perhaps a touch too much sentimentality.The rest of the cast, which includes Annette Bening, Jennifer Garner and Bobby Cannavale, turn in solid performances, the stand-out being Christopher Plummer as Danny's manager and best friend. The scenes between the two aging actors alone are worth the price of a ticket.Spot the fashion crowd This year's summer fashion event is 10 Days Downtown: 10 events during 10 days at 10 locations. There will be fashion shows and exhibitions on various themes at various sites around Amsterdam. Among them are street fashion by young designers at the industrial area Roest, Liselore Frowijn's collection inspired by the cut-outs of Matisse at the Stedelijk Museum and the documentary Dior and I about Raf Simons' first collection for the famous fashion house at Eye.Various locations, Amsterdam, July 3 to 13. www.fashionweek.nlDiscover a shiny new entrance at Central Station Amsterdam's central station is currently undergoing a complete transformation to cater for the increasing number of travellers and to give access to the new north-south metro line due to open in 2017. The first part of this enormous project is now open: the rear entrance on the river side of the station. The result is a light and spacious hall with mirrored ceilings, marble benches and rows of hanging plants. Well worth a visit even if you're not travelling.Take a walk on a church roofThe celebrated Japanese artist Taturo Atzu has erected a steel staircase up to and a terrace around the top of the tower of the Old Church (Oudekerk) in Amsterdam. He calls his installation The Garden Which Is The Nearest To God. It provides an opportunity to scrutinise the church roof and to enjoy the spectacular view of the city.Oudekerk, Amsterdam until September 6. www.oudekerk.nlRock the night away Mumford & Sons are performing numbers from their award-winning albums at the Goffertpark stadium at the weekend. Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall and Ted Dwane formed the English folk rock band in 2007. Since then they have clocked up 14 Emmy nominations, winning Album of the Year in 2013.Goffertpark, Nijmegen, July 4. www.livenation.nlWatch one dance for 24 hours The international contemporary dance festival Julidans (July Dance) celebrates its 25th anniversary with Jan Fabre's monumental 24-hour performance Mount Olympus with its 30 performers. It comes to Julidans directly after its premiere at the prestigious Berliner Festspiele. This is immersive theatre on an unprecedented scale. For 24 hours, the main auditorium of Amsterdam's Stadsschouwburg becomes the mythical Mount Olympus. You will be allowed to to enter and leave the auditorium, walk around, eat and drink during the performance.Stadsschouwburg and other locations around the Leidseplein, Amsterdam, July 1 to 12. www.julidans.nlCheer the cyclists on their way The 2015 edition of the Tour de France cycling race begins in Utrecht when the riders arrive in the city on July 2 and are presented in the Lepelburg park. On July 4 there are individual time trials. July 5 sees the seconded stage of the race from Utrecht to Neeltje Jans in Zeeland via Rotterdam. Full details of the route are on the website.Jaarbeurs, Utrecht, July 1 to 5. www.routetourdefrance.nlThrill to the sound of the organ Leo van Doeselaar plays Bach, Liszt, Bovet, Mussorgsky and Chopin on the Concertgebouw's world famous Maarschalkerweerd organ.Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, July 4 (matinee). www.concertgebouw.nlSee Mondriaan's inspiration Visit a major retrospective on the work of Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), one of the 20th century's most significant and influential reformers. Steiner served as a source of inspiration for some artistic giants, including Piet Mondriaan, Wassily Kandinsky and Josef Beuys, and for contemporary artists and designers such as Olafur Eliasson and Konstantin Grcic. The exhibition presents an extensive collection of furniture, models and blackboard drawings.Kunsthal, Rotterdam until January 11 2015. www.kunsthal.nlEnjoy outdoor theatre The Over Het IJ summer theatre festival in Amsterdam also takes in music and art. Its centre is the NDSM shipyard and it spreads from there along the banks of the IJ river and in to Amsterdam-Noord. This year the young theatre-makers and more famous names taking part concentrate on the city of the future. Head to the NDSM shipyard where guides will advise on which performances are suitable for non-Dutch speakers.NDSM shipyard, Amsterdam, July 2 to 12. www.overhetij.nl  More >

A Dutch start to a French institution

A Dutch flavour for a French institution – the Tour de France starts in Utrecht The Tour de France has a huge following in the Netherlands and this year Utrecht will be turning French as it hosts Le Grand Départ - the grand start of the round France cycle race - on July 4.The 2015 Tour de France is made up of 21 stages and will cover a total distance of more than 3,300 kilometres. This year the first two stages take place in the Netherlands - one in Utrecht itself and the second from Utrecht to Zeeland.The city is pumping €15m into the event and expects between 500,000 and 800,000 visitors between July 1 and July 5, when the massive tour entourage moves on to Belgium for the third stage from Antwerp to Huy.Dutch start2015 marks the sixth time the Netherlands has hosted the start of the world's most famous cycling event.'One of the reasons the Tour has come to the Netherlands is the way in which we deal with cycling,' the project director Martin van Hulsteijn told news agency ANP earlier this year.'Utrecht invests heavily in provisions...  More >

'The Dutch eat lots but aren't fat'

‘The Dutch seem to eat an awful lot of bread and potatoes without getting fat’ South African Anesca Smith has lived here for 2.5 years and doesn't think the Netherlands is as flat as people say. About to marry a Dutchman, she says she intends to live here happily ever after.How did you end up in the Netherlands? I worked as foreign correspondent for a South African news group in London and after returning to South Africa I found myself inexplicably restless. To cure my wanderlust I decided to study International Business Administration in the Netherlands for a year. Only, I met and fell in love with a Dutchman about a minute after I arrived here and that was that.How do you describe yourself - an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international, etc - and why? My heart is divided. I am immensely proud to be African, to be from the land of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. South Africa will always be the country of my heart, but I am loving life in Holland and this is where I see my future.How long do you plan to stay? I am marrying a Dutchman in September...  More >

10 great things on this week: June 22-28

10 great things to do in the Netherlands this week: June 22-28 From giant spiders and horticulture on film to Hungarian music and trick cyclists, here’s our pick of the week’s best things to do.Admire British cool The National Ballet performs a programme entitled Cool Britannia which features works by the three foremost contemporary British choreographers: David Dawson, Wayne McGregor and Christopher Wheeldon. Dawson and Wheeldon are presenting new work. McGregor's contribution is his fast and furious Chroma, for which he won the prestigious Olivier Award. The ballet orchestra is conducted by Matthew Rowe.Muziektheater, Amsterdam, June 19, 21 (matinee), 24, 26 and 27. www.operaballet.nlTake a walk under the trees This year's outdoor exhibition of sculpture in The Hague features contemporary Belgian artists whose work is on display under the trees of one of the city's central squares. Other artists' work - 35 Belgian artists are taking part - is indoors at the sculpture museum in Scheveningen. Among the participants are Jan Fabre,...  More >

Six weird Dutch sports to spot this summer

Sitting on poles and bongelwuppen: here’s six strange Dutch sports If you are out and about in the Netherlands this summer, you may come across some of these very Dutch activities. Yes, the Dutch may be fabulous at football, hockey and speedskating, but they’ve got some pretty odd sports of their own. Here’s a list compiled by Netherlands by Numbers.1 Paalzitten It’s what it says – pole sitting. A lot of people, each sitting on his or her individual pole. The person who stays on the longest wins. The poles are erected in water so the person falling off doesn’t get hurt. It is presumed that pole sitting originated in Friesland where the Frisians tried to stave off the boredom of long winters by inventing sports to do with poles, like fierljeppen and pole sitting. The sport became nearly extinct, presumably because sitting on top of a pole did not stave off boredom. It has now made a come-back as a tourist attraction but is not a spectator sport.2 Korfbal Two teams of eight trying to get a ball into the opponent’s korf or basket....  More >

'Goodbye is part of being international'

‘Part of having an international life is saying goodbye’ Linguist Ute Limacher-Riebold has lived in the Netherlands for 10 years and describes herself as an expat, a multinational, a European and a Third Culture Kid. She's partial to stroopwaffels, walking in the dunes and using her diary in the Dutch way.How did you end up in the Netherlands? After some years in Italy (Florence) where I had a research grant, my husband and I applied for several jobs all around Europe. When my husband received a positive reply from an international company in The Hague we took that chance and moved here.How do you describe yourself - an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international, etc - and why? I'm a European expat-since-birth (also the name of my blog) because I've never lived in my parents' passport country, Germany. I use the term expat in its strictest sense, ie 'ex' out + "patriam" father country. I'm also an adult European Third Culture Kid for the same reason. European, because I have 'only' lived in different countries in Europe and when you tell...  More >

Video: Dutch nature in timelapse

Video: Dutch Scapes – A timelapse journey through Dutch nature Dutch Scapes – A timelapse journey through Dutch nature - is a one man project to show people the beauty of the Netherlands, by photographer Rick Kloekke.'People are always complaining about the weather and the 'boring' landscapes, but it's nonsense,' says Kloekke. 'Every time I am out shooting, I appreciate the landscape more and more.'  More >

Prisoners should pay for bed & board

‘Prisoners should pay for bed & board while in jail’ If the elderly are made to contribute to their care why should prisoners be exempt from paying towards their own upkeep? Some have plenty of money and prisons don't come cheap, says entrepreneur Annemarie van Gaal.The governing coalition of VVD and Labour have proposed that the inmates of prisons should contribute all of €16 a day for bed and board. It’s a drop in the ocean if you know that the true costs of each inmate’s stay in prison is over €200 a day.Unfortunately the opposition doesn’t like the plan and it’s unlikely to succeed. The Christian Democrats thinks all inmates are the same and that it’s no use trying to squeeze blood from a stone, while the Socialist Party think the poor inmates shouldn’t be made to suffer more. With attitudes like this it’s going to be hard to turn this proposal into law.WherewithalWhy are the Christian Democrats so convinced that prisoners haven’t the wherewithal to pay those €16? Plenty of inmates have partners who...  More >

10 great things to do this week

10 great things to do in the Netherlands this week: June 15-21 From theatre in tents and the voice of Elsa to ocean-going yachts and great jazz drumming, here's our pick of the week's best things to do.Admire some big boats The Volvo Ocean Race, the round the world yacht race which began on October 4 2014, makes a 24-hour pit-stop in The Hague before departing for the final stage to Göteborg for the finish on June 27.For the first time in its history, this 12th edition of the race, which has nine stages, sees all seven competing teams sailing in the same class of boat: the Volvo Ocean 65.Derde Haven, The Hague, June 19 and 20. www.volvooceanrace.com/en/ports/38_The-Hague.html Take a walk around outdoor sculpture ArtZuid is the annual international outdoor sculpture exhibition. The selected works are erected along the wide and leafy avenues of the south of Amsterdam, an area planned by the architect HP Berlage nearly one hundred years ago.This year's selection was made by Rudi Fuchs, former director of Amsterdam's...  More >

The 12 tribes of the Netherlands

From Brabos to Corpsballen: a guide to the 12 tribes of the Netherlands If you are Dutch yourself, or you have been here for some time, you will be well aware that the typical Dutchman does not exist. The Netherlands by Numbers team have put together a list of 12 tribes you may spot, to help newcomers identify who is who.1 Jordanezen Jordanezen are the original inhabitants of the Jordaan, a neighbourhood in the heart of Amsterdam. A poor but tightly knit community, the Jordanezen of yore shared a love of Italian opera – played on a street organ and danced to enthusiastically - and the neighbourhood spawned lots of famous singers, both male and female. The Jordaan has become a coveted place to live over the years and has been taken over by yuppies. Most of the authentic Jordanezen have moved to Almere. They all return 'home' for the annual Jordaan Festival.Habitat: Cafe Nol and the Johnny Jordaanplein.Clothes: Well worn but clean (in the olden days).Accessories: lots of red plush, nostalgia for the olden days and CDs featuring  Johnny...  More >

'I'm more of an immigrant than an expat'

‘I used to call myself an expat but now I guess I am more of an immigrant’ Jodi van Keeken-Hamilton came to the Netherlands for love 15 years ago at the age of 51. She recommends a spring visit to the Hortus Bulborum in Limmen, and is annoyed by the lack of facilities for the deaf in the Netherlands.How did you end up in the Netherlands? I am one of those women who met their Dutchie online, way back in 1999. We did not meet in person until eight months later. I decided to move to be with him, since I was no longer working, my son was married and basically it was time for ME.How do you describe yourself - an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international, etc? I used to call myself an expat/lovepat but now I guess I am more of an immigrant.How long do you plan to stay? Another couple of years. My Dutch husband is planning early retirement and I am planning to apply for my Dutch citizenship after being here for 15 years. We then aim to go to America, and try to spend some time with my two grandchildren.Do you speak Dutch and how did you learn? I do...  More >