From butterflies to body art: 12 great things to do in August

Photo: By Rlevse via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: By Rlevse via Wikimedia Commons

Hello? Anyone there? If you’re not sunning yourself on a beach in Crete, here’s what you can do in the Netherlands this month.

On your bike
Get to know Amsterdam by taking a guided bike tour around Amsterdam Oost, the Bijlmer and other bits of Amsterdam that you thought would not be that interesting but are. Pay Attention Please is the somewhat admonishing title of the tours. Throughout August. Website

Listen to the human voice
What better way to forget the 30% ruling and Brexit for a while than to listen to an opera about other people’s troubles in the sedate surroundings of the garden of the Museum van Loon in Amsterdam.

The museum gardens. Photo: By Jean-Christophe Benoist via Wikimedia Commons

La Voix Humaine, based on a play by Jean Cocteau, is about love and heartbreak. And it’s only a shorty with drinks afterwards! Dutch language only. August 9 – 14. Website

Grab a gracht
It will be difficult NOT to catch a tune during this year’s Grachtenfestival as it will be taking place in 94 locations around Amsterdam. Some even take place underneath a bridge where the pidgeons have the best seats. It’s music classical and modern from August 10 to 19. Website

Find a fake
We love a good story about fakes. In 1965 amateur archaeologist Tjerk Vermaning dug up some flint tools in Drenthe made by Neanderthals some 50,000 years ago.


He was hoisted onto the nation’s shoulders and carried around the streets in triumph until doubts began to emerge. Could Vermaning himself have been the creative Neanderthal? The Vermaning Affair is on at the Drents Museum until January 13. Website

Get a crest
There are lots of activities for kids in August and one of the classiest is a creative afternoon at the venerable Huis Verwolde in Laren. In the hour and half, when parents can neck a gin and tonic or two on a sunny Laren terrace, the children will be learning about the family crest of ye olde family Van der Borch van Verwolde and get to design a family crest of their own! August 15. Website

Come on down to Lowlands
Gorillaz, Kendrick Lamar, Spinvis and Patti Smith are just some of the names that make up the line up of Lowlands this year. August 17-19. For information about tickets, camping and how to get to Biddinghuizen go to the Lowlands website

Check out what’s new
The Uitmarkt proudly presents the next cultural season at the Oosterdokskade and Maritime complex in Amsterdam. Here is your chance to wander around and sample bits of some 300 theatre, dance, music and stand up performances which will be on offer soon. August 24 – 26. Website

Get classical on the water
The Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest is trying out its sea legs in another edition of the Veerhavenconcert, a floating classical music fest in the port of Rotterdam. Anyone who owns a boat, yacht or lilo is invited to amicably bump into each other. Or you could not get wet and attend from the quayside. The programme includes works by Verdi, Ponchielli, Britten, Dvorak, Puccini, Offenbach and Sarasate. August 25. Website

Be scarified, very scarified
From make-up to implants and from scarification to tattooed eye balls, what drives people to desecrate/beautify the temple? asks the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam. It also gives you the answer: it’s an expression of identity. So think before you get that tramp stamp. Body Art is on until August 26. Website

Find out what matters
The Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam is also presenting Things that Matter, an exhibition featuring objects from all over the world centred around a number of themes, such as climate, culture, religion and migration. It includes such personal items as the keys to a bombed-out flat brought and treasured by a Syrian refugee. The exhibition is expected to be on until 2050. Website

Behold the blue butterflies
Enter the botanical gardens of Utrecht University and you will find yourself in a riot of colour and movement. The Tropical Butterfly Festival will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about exotic butterflies, including the gorgeous blue Morpho. Until September 16. Website

That’s the way to do it!
The beautiful Schatkamer at the Stadsarchief in Amsterdam chronicles 125 years of Jan Klaassen en Katrijn (Punch and Judy) puppet booth shows on Dam square with some great photographs of Amsterdam in times gone by. Until September 9.  Website

Early warning: The New Classics in Amsterdam

The New Classics is the opening programme of the new ballet season of the Dutch Nation Ballet and a tribute to Jerome Robbins & Leonard Bernstein. 2018 is the centenary of the birth of two grand masters of American 20th-century art: choreographer Jerome Robbins and composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein.

The New Classics is a triple bill featuring the European premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s Serenade after Plato’s Symposium, set to Bernstein’s violin concerto of the same name. The programme also includes the Dutch premiere of Jerome Robbins’ masterpiece Dances at a Gathering.

It is rounded off with a revival of Chroma, choreographed by Wayne McGregor. From Tuesday September 11 to Tuesday September 25. Website

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