From celebrating Christmas (!) to art as an antidote: 11 great things to do in February

Photo: Jan Zweerts

It’s still not a happy time for the culture sector with theatres and cinemas having to close at 10pm and restrict visitor numbers while events and night spots linger in lockdown limbo. At the time of writing it is not clear yet if theatres will get creative, as some have, and start earlier or reprogramme, or just say sod it, it’s not worth it. So (mostly) museums it is, but remember, February may be the dullest month it is also the shortest. And don’t forget to book your time slot.

Celebrate a belated Christmas at Boom Chicago

Boom Chicago’s Miracle Bar. Photo: Geert Broertjes

Who said Christmas comes but once a year? At Boom Chicago in Amsterdam the festive season lasts well into February to compensate for last year’s coronavirus washout. The Miracle pop-up cocktail bar is open, complete with weird drinks and weirder Christmas jumpers. Comedy show Sitcom is going ahead on February 3 and 4, as well as Sunday shows Sunday Night Live and the three-weekly Improv Spectaculars. Website

Learn (another) lesson about Dutch colonialism

The new Rijksmuseum exhibition has already proved controversial and it hasn’t even opened yet. Revolusi! chronicles the Indonesian fight for independence from the Netherlands in the years following World War II. Photos, pamphlets, and artifacts, many exhibited for the first time, illustrate the personal stories of 20 people caught up in the struggle. From February 11. Website

See the ballet step up

The Dutch National Opera & Ballet has brought forward Made in Amsterdam, albeit a slightly shorter version than originally intended. It features Rudi van Dantzig’s classic pas-de-deux Voorbij gegaan (1979), and The Anatomy of Light and Do all dogs go to heaven?, two world premieres by Wubkje Kuindersma and Sedrig Verwoerd. On February 26 the performances will be livestreamed. From February 20. Website

Check out Avenue Q

Many English language theatre companies have postponed their dates until next month but among the exceptions is Amsterdam based musical theatre group Happily Ever After which has scheduled Avenue Q, described by some as ‘Sesame Street for grownups’. Make sure to check the times as some theatres are getting creative to avoid the 10pm cut off point. February 18, 19, 20, 25 and 26. Website

Be inspired by Perry

Photo: Jan Zweerts

Grayson Perry, ‘the transvestite potter’ as he dubs himself, and absolute life saver say others for encouraging lots of people to get creative during lockdown, is having an exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Den Haag. Perry is not afraid of anything and that includes materials. His work includes ceramics, tapestries, paintings and dresses, one of which, his coming out dress, is on show. Until April 3. Website

Sing along with Shakespeare

Mike’s Badhuis in Amsterdam is also back in business, with interactive (and presumably socially distanced) comedy show Shakespeare Karaokie with Will Sutton.) No, we have no idea either but it sounds good.  February 25 (check time) Website

Have a laugh at the Voorlinden

Get your booster shot of joy at the Voorlinden museum because ‘Art is the antidote’, particularly as its very nice restaurant is now open as well. But first you have to sample the goods on show which amuse, take the piss and otherwise make you feel a whole lot better. Artists include Ai Weiwei and Bob Brill, whose work provides the title for the exhibition, and many more. Then you can take a walk in the garden and the surrounding dunes. It doesn’t really get much better than that. Until November 26  Website

Guess what it reminds you of

Rob Scholte, the 1980s enfant terrible of art is having a retrospective moment at De Fundatie in Zwolle. Scholte, who famously got blown up and lost both legs – the artist claims to know who stuck the handgrenade to the bottom of his car – is ‘the king of copyright’. This does not mean he owns the images in his work but ‘shamelessy’ uses existing images, without ‘it seems’, the museum carefully explains, paying any heed to originality and property rights. It’s good fun to spot the Scholte’s pictorial hints. Reproductie Verplicht is on until April 3. Website

See if you recognise anyone

Fotomuseum Den Haag is joining in the search for a lot of unknown Hagenaren who had their picture taken between 1959 and 1960 at Foto Americain, a photo studio in the Wagenstraat number 10.

The negatives of the photos were found in a squat in The Hague in 1980. Apart from a missing person search, the exhibition is also a great look at how the sitters presented themselves – invariably dressed in their Sunday best to commemorate a special moment.

To emphasise the newly introduced colour techniques the studio often used the most garish flower arrangements it could put together. Finder and photographer Ernst Lalleman has identified 50 people so far, three of whom he went on to photograph himself.  Foto Americain is on until April 24. Website

Tell the difference

Fake or real? asks the Museum de Lakenhal in Leiden as it takes a closer look at some of the artifacts from nine Leiden collections from the world of science and art – which have proven to be not quite what the buyers had hoped for. Is an object which is indistinguishable from the real thing a work of art in itself? The objects can be seen in situ but also online. You will never be taken in by a fake Egyptian relief again. Misleiden is on until March 13. Website

Waai uit


Never one to ignore a Dutch custom, even a recently invented one, we conclude the list with an uitwaaien event, formerly known as going for a walk. It’s still one of the safer options now the infection rate is soaring but you can leave all that behind as the blues are blown away. Staatsbosbeheer has a couple of great guided winter walks on offer throughout the month, and as usual they are a great opportunity to get to know the Dutch countryside and possibly spot the odd deer. Website

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