Celebrate freedom, Dick Bruna and beer: 10 great things to do in May

Photo: Nummer 12 via Wikimedia Commons

From celebrating freedom to celebrating beer – here’s our round-up of some of the best things to do in the Netherlands this May.

Celebrate freedom and harmony
Liberation Day – May 5 – sees Bevrijdingsfestivals taking place across the country. National and international bands will be performing on stages from Amsterdam to Zwolle, under the banner ‘Geef vrijheid door’ (‘Pass freedom on’). The festivals are free and there’s a dedicated website where you can find out what’s happening near you.

Check out the other side of Dick Bruna
Dick Bruna, who died in February this year, was much more than the creator of Nijntje (aka Miffy). The famous rabbit has deliberately been left out of 2000x Dick Bruna, an exhibition of his other works, including his book covers for Dutch thriller series Havank. Until May 11, at the Atrium in The Hague. Website

Give Scorsese the Eye
The first major Martin Scorsese retrospective, which has been touring New York, Berlin, Melbourne and Paris comes to the Eye film museum in Amsterdam on May 25 (until September 3). Alongside screenings of his films, some 400 objects will be on show including never before seen documents, film fragments, personal possessions, storyboards and set designs. ‘Some of the objects you’re going to see were literally taken off walls and shelves in my home and my office, and editing room. A lot of these things are very, very personal,’ Scorsese commented. Website

Bring a torch
It’s Museum Night in Leiden on May 19. All the city’s participating museums will be open until 1am and have special programmes in place. Former politician Jan Terlouw and his daughter Sanne will be lecturing on ‘Time’ in the Museum Volkenkunde and Naturalis has organised a meet & greet with Charles Darwin who will be happy to hear your views and may even be persuaded to come to the after party. Website

Take a boat to the theatre
From May 22 to 24 the STET English Theatre in the Hague presents ‘The Greatest Thing’, a musical fairy tale for all ages by singer-songwriter Miss Walker and mime artist Silent Rocco from Berlin.  A boat ride to the Zuiderpark theatre will put you in the proper magical mood. Website

Say cheers
It’s Dutch Beer Week from May 11 to May 21. Yes, it’s actually a week spread out over ten days but who’s counting after a couple of pints. There are two main events: the beer tasting festival in the Grote Kerk in The Hague on May 11, 12 and 13 where some 43 breweries will be presenting 150 beers. Factoring in recovery time the breweries open their doors to visitors on May 9, 20 and 21. Website

Get crazy
If you’re crazy about Surrealism you will probably already have seen Crazy about Surrealism in Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam. For those who have missed out so far, it’s on until May 28.  Dalí, Ernst, Miró, the gang’s all here with little-seen works from four private collections. Website

Celebrate spring
Ten days of dance, theatre and more with Spring in Utrecht, from May 18 to May 27. Political issues and human relationships set to new choreographies and expressed in plays and art to give us hope – or at least cheer us up- in troubled times. Website

Look at Bob Dylan
De Fundatie in Zwolle presents Face Value, twelve portraits drawn in pastel by Bob Dylan. ‘The portraits are as direct and unpolished as his music’, the museum writes. The portraits have been on tour since 2013 and will be on show in Zwolle from May 24. Website

Make the most of your last chances
There’s still time to catch the fascinating exhibition in the Rijksmuseum about the Dutch relationship with South Africa. Good Hope is on until May 21. Website