From Keti Koti to Nijntje: 11 great things to do in summer

Keti Koti commemorations. Photo: Wikipedia

Summer is here and there are plenty of things to do which combine sunseeking and excercising your brain so it’ll be shipshape when September comes around, as you know it will. Here are some suggestions that should get you throught until then.

Break the chains

This year’s Keti Koti Festival takes place on Museumplein, with music, dance, and a lot of food (for thought). The official remembrance ceremony marking the abolition of slavery at Oosterpark, which kicks off a year of activities related to the Dutch colonial past, will be live-streamed for festivalgoers to see. July 1. Website

Become a Rijkmuseum egghead

The Rijksmuseum and science museum NEMO put their heads together and came up with Mission Masterpiece. The Rijksmuseum’s restorers and scientists have jetted off on their hols and have invited young visitors (from 8) to get to work in six research labs where they will use UV and X-ray machines, microscopes, fibre analysis, tree-ring data, watermarks and dates to find out as much as they can about six objects. Real or false? Old or not old at all? And does it matter? Mmmmm. From July 1.  Website

Laugh at Chat GPT

The Utrecht International Comedy Festival will be entertaining staycationers and visitors alike with a special summer programme featuring six mostly English-language shows, including a comedic head-to-head with Chat GPT which will show if the chatter boxes can beat the chatbox in the joke department. Keep an eye out for the season’s finale Cosmic Comedy Berlin on 19th August. Apart from comedian Dharmander Singh, it comes with free pizza and shots. July 15 to August 19. Website

Photo: STET

Spot the talent

The English theatre STET is not sitting still this summer and has chosen the charming garden setting of the Hof van Wouw in The Hague to showcase new talent, including spoken word artist Jowi Len, theatre performer Susan Malaika Bailey, sign language project Kitchen’s Light and singers/songwriters Allie & Deets. You saw them there first. July 2. Website

Find the message in the bottles

The museum Beelden aan Zee in Scheveningen, always a good compromise for sunseekers and art lovers, presents Bottle River, a stream of 1,500 ceramic bottles made by the British couple Stephen and Andrea Wilks. The bottles form a long queue leading out to sea, suggesting a human exodus, or a comment on the endless stream of plastic waste everywhere, including Scheveningen beach, as you will see. Until July 23. Website

Meet Herzog at the Eye

The Eye film museum in Amsterdam is putting the work of German filmmaker Werner Herzog centre stage, showing key scenes from his extensive work: Herzog made over 20 films and 34 documentaries, which often took him all over the globe. Artefacts from his films are also on show, such as the bloody speer used by Dr Helsing to stab Count Dracula in Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht, although thankfully nothing related to the grisly end of Grizzly Man (and his extremely unfortunate girlfriend). The Ecstatic Truth is on until October 1.  Website

Catch a film under the stars

Bring the mozzie spray and enjoy a film in the open air at lots of venues, among them Sunsets at the Eye , Movies at the Hermitage (or should we say H’ART) , the Cinetree Film Festival at the Amsterdamse Bos, and Pluk de Nacht in Amsterdam and Utrecht . Visit the websites for the programme, dates (all in August) and prices.

Look beyond the object

The so-called cabinets of curiosities, private collections popular in the 17th and 18th centuries which not seldom contained objects (stolen) from the colonies, is the inspiration for (H)erkennen, herbouwen – wonderkamers van het Rotterdams koloniaal verleden at the Kunsthal Rotterdam. Upcoming artists Bouba Dola, Tommy van der Loo, Devika Chotoe, Ada M. Patterson and anthropolgist and writer Gloria Wekker created work linking the objects to their true history of  exploitation. Until October 29. Website

Go to Marseille

Some thirty years ago a curious Belgian rummaging around the photo archive of newspaper Vooruit discovered a collection of vintage prints published by the Belgian avant-garde magazine Variétés. The magazine, founded in 1928 went bust after only two years, but not before it had published photos by such famous names as Man Ray, Germaine Krull, Berenice Abbott, László Moholy-Nagy, Florence Henri and Eli Lotar.

Photography museum Huis Marseille in Amsterdam has made a selection of the prints, and, along with film fragments and magazine spreads paints a fascinating picture of avant-garde film and photography between the two world wars. Variété, Fotografie en avant-garde is on until October 22. Website

A mosaic Nijntje (Miffy) statue in Amsterdam. Depositphotos Photo: depositphotos

Come see the new Nijntje

The museum dedicated to Dick Bruna’s inscrutable rabbit Nijntje, or Miffy, and het pals in Utrecht has been renovated and is now twice as big. A great holiday option, it is chock-a-block with new educational activities for children aimed, as Bruna wanted, at “discovering the world through play”. Bilingual readings, workshops and face painting sessions (which we feel would not take very long) are also on offer. Website

Take an art walk

Another good way of enjoying the summer weather while doing something not completely mindless is Artzuid, the Amsterdam sculpture biënnale taking place along the shady Apollolaan and Minervalaan. Lots of (inter)nationally renowned artists are taking part this year, including Jean Dubuffet, Julian Schnabel, David Hockney and Klaas Gubbels. Until September 24. Website

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