It’s boring old February when nothing much happens and thoughts are turning to spring. And to make things worse, 2024 is a leap year and that means February gets an extra boring day, unless, ladies, you make it more interesting by proposing to your boyfriend. Or you could visit the following attractions.
Come to the fair
The Rotterdam Art Fair kicks off on the first of the month and unless you have the stamina of a camel you will not be able to take in all it has to offer in four short days. Meet the new talent in Prospects, gape at the outside installations and wonder at the use of materials in Artistic Matter. One artist, Tomáš Libertíny, even makes the bees do the creating for him. February 1-4. Website
Take a gander at the dodo
The Mauritshuis in The Hague presents an exhibition of the colourful works of Roelant Savery (1576 – 1639), a Flemish painter who worked for over a decade at the Prague court. Savery was a much-lauded painter of plants and animals, as well as landscapes.
The court boasted a big collection of animals, live and stuffed, among them a dodo, which became a favourite subject. Savery not only helped build a faithful record of newly discovered species, he also recorded the lives of people in different communities, such as Bohemian farmers dancing and Jewish gatherings in synagogues. From February 8. Website
Have a laugh with Hals
February is also the month when Frans Hals madness will hit the museum souvenir shops and lots of people will be grumbling about not being able to get tickets. The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has selected 50 key paintings by Hals, including the Laughing Cavalier, from the Wallace Collection in London, and Malle Babbe, who travelled to Amsterdam from the Gemälde Galerie in Berlin.
The focus of the exhibition is on Hals’s loose, impressionistic style which puts him, as the title of the exhibition suggests, “far ahead of his time”. Until June 9. Website
Come face to face with the mummies
There is still time to visit the mummy portraits at the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam. The museum has brought together 38 of the 1100 portraits still in existence from collections across the world.
Because of the colourful and seemingly not idealised depictions of the dead, the makers of the 2000-year-old portriats are considered the earliest realist portrait painters. Oog in oog (face to face) is on until February 25. Website
Say Alaaf at the Carnaval
February is your chance to dress up, see the parades and drink yourself silly along with half the populations of the provinces “below the rivers”.
Limburg and Brabant are the go-to provinces for traditional Carnaval celebrations while up north the festivities are usually a bit of a damp squib, very often quite literally as the weather may not cooperate. A bit of rain doesn’t bother die-hard Carnaval fans, however. February 11, 12, 13 and best take Wednesday off as well. Website
See and (don’t) believe at the Teylers
The Teylersmuseum in Haarlem steps into the world of virtual reality and the confusion that goes with it. Its root, the museum shows, date back to the 19th century. From smoke and mirrors to high-tech flummery, The Big Illusion – 200 years of virtual reality shows the fascination of people with illusion has not changed, and neither has their capacity for being taken in by it. From February 17. Website
Go off grid
ETU ( English Theatre Utrecht) presents Off Grid, a play by Alexandra Elroy, who also directs. Tech pioneer and solar power entrepreneur Jones finds out his earlier business partner and current leader of a small island community, Hildegard, has died, and left the island leaderless. Now what will happen to the people who live there? February 17, 18 (Utrecht) and 24 (Amsterdam). Website
Get with the action at Gethsamene
Ivo van Hove’s magic touch has given new life to 55-year-old musical Jesus Christ Superstar. The mob is wearing hoodies instead of flares, but the songs have lost none of their freshness.
The musical has opened to rave reviews, particularly for Jeangu Macrooy, who plays Jesus. A “super seat” will put you close to the action, so beware of those Roman soldiers’ spears. Until September 15. Website
Find out what’s in Ashley’s sack
The John Adams Institute presents historian and author Tiya Miles, who tells the story of a black enslaved family and how their story made its way from one generation to another via a little cotton sack made by a mother for her daughter, and which has come to symbolise the history and memories of a nation.
Ashley’s sack, named for the daughter, is now at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and inspired Miles’s book All that she carried. February 15. Website
Follow the trail of the boat refugees in Texel
The Juttersmuseum in Texel, home to whatever beach combers pick up on the sands, has mounted a small and poignant exhibition of objects lost at see by boat refugees on their way across the North sea to Britain.
The personal belongings, including a photo, a baby scan and a pink pencil case, are exhibited in the rubber dinghy in which they were found and which was washed ashore on the beach at Egmond aan Zee in October last year. The objects come from as far afield as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Albania, Greece, Germany and France. Research has revealed the story behind some of these objects. The museum is closed until February 9, so check the website.
Go with the breeze
Frisse wind is the breezy title of the Laren Singer Museum’s exhibition on how Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands developed their own kind of Impressionism. As the title suggests, it is decidedly chillier than the French version, with clouds and grey skies instead of scorched landscapes.
There is work by Max Liebermann, Fritz Mackensen, Lovis Corinth and Max Slevogt from Germany, Anna en Michael Ancher, Peder Severin Krøyer and Viggo Johansen from Denmark and Dutch painters Johan Barthold Jongkind, Jo Koster, Anton Mauve, George Hendrik Breitner, Isaac Israëls and Jan Toorop. Until May 5. Website
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation