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 27www.operaballet.nl

Take 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, Jan De Cock, Wim Delvoye and Caroline Coolen.

art The Hague

Lange Voorhout, The Hague until August 30. Museum Beelden aan Zee, Scheveningen until October 25. www.beeldenaanzee.nl

Cycle to a concert
Among the international line-up of musicians for this year’s International Chamber Music Festival fronted by violinist Janine Jansen are cellist Nicolas Altstaedt and clarinet player Andreas Ottensamer. There is a Hungarian night with music by composers such as Orbán, Bartók and Kodály. There are also walking and cycling tours of Utrecht which take in concerts in various venues around the city.

TivoliVredenburg and other venues, Utrecht, June 24 to 28www.kamermuziekfestival.nl

Watch the flowers grow
Alan Rickman’s latest directorial effort is The King’s Gardens in which he plays the role of the French King Louis XIV. For a film about 17th century landscape gardening it’s a fascinating and charming film, replete with heaving bosoms, flouncing dandies, court intrigues and wonderful hats.


The film is set in 1682 when renowned landscape architect, André Le Nôtre (Matthias Schoenaerts), is responsible for the huge gardens at the palace of Versailles. Against his better judgement, he appoints the widowed Madame Sabine De Barra (Kate Winslet) to create the Rockwork Garden, which is to be an outdoor ballroom with a water feature.

The pace of the film, as befits the subject matter, is stately, providing enough time to enjoy the performances of an excellent cast, which also includes Helen McCrory, Stanley Tucci, Steven Waddington and Jennifer Ehle.

Buy a book
One of the Netherlands’ oldest and largest book shops has moved into splendid new premises at number 9 Rokin. The original Scheltema was opened in June 1853 by Jacobus Hendrik Scheltema and moved to its previous location on the Koningsplein in 1985. It got into financial troubles in 2006 when its then owner went bankrupt, but has now found a new investor. The interior of Scheltema’s new home is inspired by that of the famous London book shop, Foyle’s, and features lots of blond wood. There is a good selection of foreign-language books, including English.

Get sand in your eyes
The Netherlands plays host to the World Cup Beach Volleyball, which takes place in the four cities of Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Apeldoorn. In Amsterdam, the Dam Square will be transformed into a beach court. In The Hague, matches will take place on a pontoon in the Hofvijver outside the parliament building. The world’s best 48 men’s teams and 48 women’s team are competing, including nine representing the Netherlands.

Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, Apeldoorn, June 26 to July 5www.volleybal.nl

Invest in a Banksy


An Amsterdam gallery is showing around ten original works and all the limited prints by Banksy, the pseudonymous English graffiti artist and political activist whose works of political and social commentary have been featured on the streets, walls and bridges of cities around the world. His artworks have become highly collectible and walls have been demolished in order for it to be sold. The highlight of this show is a painting with a price tag of upwards of €1m.

LionelGallery, Nieuwspiegelstraat, Amsterdam, June 20 to July 20. www.lionelgallery.com

Witness how old rockers never die
The American singer-songwriter Neil Diamond may be 74-years-old but he still maintains an extensive tour agenda and his concerts still pack a punch. He will no doubt sing some of his old favourites such as Red, Red Wine and Sweet Caroline, but also more recent numbers such as those on his 2014 album, Melody Road. Tickets are still available.

Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam, June 25 and 27www.ziggodome.nl

Thrill to giant spiders
The Gemeentemuseum has acquired two large sculptures by Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010) which are on long-term loan from the Louise Bourgeois Studio and on permanent display.


Spider Couple (2003) is one of a series of sculptures of spiders on which Louise Bourgeois worked from the 1990s to her death in 2010. The sculptures are a tribute to her mother, a carpet weaver and ‘spinner of yarns’. Spider Couple shows a mother spider protecting and restricting her child. An apt illustration of the ambiguity that typified Bourgeois’ relationship with her mother.

Clouds and Caverns (1982-1989) has never before been displayed in a museum. The sculpture resembles a heavenly landscape. Louise Bourgeois suffered from a severe form of insomnia. She therefore used the night-time hours to produce journal-like sketches: drawings of shapes that recall spirals, labyrinths and landscapes. Clouds and Caverns seems to be a three-dimensional version of these night-time drawings.

Gemeentemuseum, The Hague. www.gemeentemuseum.nl

Smell the greasepaint
Canada’s Cirque Éloize performs the show ID, a fizzing spectacle which mixes circus and urban dance to electric effect. A Chinese pole act has shades of West Side Story, contortion gets an extra edge when it meets break-dancing and a trampowall sequence is exhilarating. There’s even inline skating and trial bike tricks.

Theater Carré, Amsterdam, June 24 to July 19www.carre.nl

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