From truth to daring: 11 great things to do in April

The queen and Donald Trump meet. Photo: Alison Jackson

As the Dutch say “Aprilletje zoet, geeft nog wel eens een witte hoed” (Sweet April can sometimes wears a white hat). So showers or snow, here’s a list of things to do in any weather.

Help bury the truth
Former and possibly next president of the United States Donald Trump being pally with queen Elizabeth on the sofa: real or fake. And does it matter? Because truth is dead, British photographer Alison Jackson says in her eponymous exhibition at the Maastricht Fotomuseum.

In times of doctored photos and deep fakes, nothing is as it seems. Jackson used actors and doubles of celebrities for some 60 paparazzi shots of salacious indiscretions while at the same time revealing the viewers’ unbridled voyeuristic lust for the private lives of the rich and famous. “Truth is Dead” is on until September 15. Website

Ven al cine
The Amsterdam Spanish Film festival has made landfall again, with a full programme of films from Spain and Spanish speaking Latin American countries. Don’t worry if your Spanish (or Galego) is not up to scratch, all have English subtitles. Make sure you’re at Pathé Tushinski on the opening night: there will be manzanilla and jamón ibérico. April 12-21. Website

The Tushinski main auditorium during the festival Photo: ASFF

Be on the defensive
Bunkers from World War II, the Stelling van Amsterdam’s defensive line of 42 forts and numerous other forts across the country make for a fascinating insight into the Netherlands’ efforts to keep the country safe. Many are home to museums, while others just let you wander at will and use your imagination. Choose a fort, any fort because lots are open to the public during a special heritage defense works weekend. April 20-21. Website

Move with the times with STET
Based on the personal experience of performer and maker Sadiq Ali and interviews with members of the LGBTQ+ community who identify as (ex) Muslim, STET presents “The Chosen Haram”, a play about two gay men who meet via a dating app. The story of their relationship is told by means of movement, illustrating the obstacles they have to overcome. April 23 and 25. Website

Get the lowdown on unsocial media
How social media and AI have turned into the destroyers of decency in the hands of unscrupulous people is a tale very appropriately told by former Facebook staffer Yaël Eisenstat. In 2018, she survived exactly six months before she quit in disgust at the voter manipulation allowed on the platform.

With the American elections looming, this former CIA intelligence officer and current Senior Fellow at Cybersecurity for Democracy has the goods on how social media are being used to make enemies and indoctrinate people. Social media and the rise of information warfare is on at the John Adams Institute. April 23. Website

Make a spectacle of yourself
Photos, videos, sculptures and live performances have cemented the seemingly ephemeral work of Marina Abramovic for posterity. In addition to a retrospective of 50 years of her work, the Stedelijk Museum presents presentations of four performances never before seen in the Netherlands, two of which are open for participation from the public. Until July 14. Website 

Marina Abramović, Four Crosses: The Evil (positive), 2019

See the sparks fly at the Catharijneconvent
Never afraid to rattle a few cages, the Catharijneconvent in Utrecht is exploring how science and religion have collided through the ages as both searched for the ultimate truth.

Objects like the fossil remains of a giant salamander, which were taken by its finder to be a person who had experienced the deluge, and a first edition of Copernicus’  De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, in which he said the earth revolves around the sun, illustrate the ongoing battle beween faith and science and how some scientists sought to reconcile the two. “The Creation of Science” is on until June 2. Website

See some Šipek in Leerdam
The Nationaal Glasmuseum in Leerdam is exhibiting work by  Czech architect and designer Bořek Šipek (1949-2016) who based himself in Amsterdam in 1983. This exhibition centres around the glass factory Šipek opened in Czechia with glass blower Petr Novotny and technician Libor Fafala and the often quirky designs they brought to life there. Until September 1. Website

Discover Africa
The exhibition of contemporary African photography “A World in Common” has moved from the Tate Modern to the Wereldmuseum Rotterdam. It’s a journey of discovery of aspects of African society and their interpratation by 22 photographers from across the vast continent that are only just beginning to penetrate a conditioned western consciousness.

Photo: Aad Hoogendoorn

The familiar “colonial camera” has become a tool to challenge old images and create new ones. Until August 25.  Website

See the wood for the trees
The Kröller-Müller museum in the Hoge Veluwe natural park is well-placed to agonise over climate change and to show us what we are about to lose, it presents “The wood for the trees”, comprised of works by artists Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Julian Charrière, Andy Holden and Hans op de Beeck, each highlighting different aspects of nature, from its capacity to comfort to its ability to deceive or threaten. Until September 15. Website

Visit the bulbs and bull at the Keukenhof
The Keukenhof celebrates its 75th birthday this year with its usual stunning eight-week display of zillions of blooming bulbs. With the help of Kröller-Müller Museum and 25 artists, it’s added art to the mix, including an impressive red bull pawing the ground. Until May 12. Website

Thank you for donating to

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