The king’s underpants to cricket: 12 great things to do in May

Photo: Nummer 12 via Wikimedia Commons

It’s May, and the Dutch are remembering their WW II dead. But there is more to May, as you can see from this month’s recommendations.

Explore the past
On Remembrance Day STET in The Hague presents Me and Mr. Jansen, written by Raphael Rodan and Titus Tiel Groenestege. The storyteller comes across a photo of a razzia taking place in 1943 at the house he now lives in. Turning to Mr Jansen, an old barber who used to live on the ground floor, he tries find out what happened on that day, unearthing long-buried secrets on the way. May 4. Website

Celebrate freedom on May 5
There is bound to be one near you: a Bevrijdingsfestival to celebrate the end of WW II in the Netherlands. There are 14 in all, with over 200 acts, with Wende, Claude, Flemming and Son Mieux putting in an appearance as flying ambassadors. Check out who else is coming on the individual festival websites. May 4. Website

Don’t cancel on Shriver
Author Lionel Shriver will be talking about her book Mania at the John Adam Institute this month, in which she describes a society in which intelligence and creativity have been sacrificed to the cult of dumb. It’s set in the United States but it’s not a dystopia far far away, as cancel culture is tightening its insidious grip just about everywhere. Shriver puts the knife in as only she knows how. May 8. Website

A still from The Lost City

Watch the lost city
In De Verdwenen Stad (the lost city), Willy Lindwer documents how the persecution of the Jews ripped the heart out of Amsterdam and how the Germans were helped in their endeavours by the city tram service GVB, which, two years after transporting Anne Frank to the station to start her journey to the death camp, chased the German authorities for money left unpaid. The documentary can now be seen for free on the Eye Film Player. Until May 11.

See the best of Breitner
The Singer Museum in Laren is celebrating late 19th century artist George Hendrik Breitner (1857 – 1923), famous for the slice-of-life immediacy of his paintings, particularly those of Amsterdam streetlife. The museum brought together 70 of his paintings and drawings, including some that have not been seen in this country for decades. From May 15. Website

Travel to cloud nine at the Voorlinden
The Voorlinden Museum in Wassenaar is inviting visitors to walk around with their heads in the clouds and a welcome diversion it is too. Performance artist Abraham Poincheval, hanging from a hot air balloon, walks on air on his way to everywhere in Walk on Clouds, while the Infinity Mirror Room: Gleaming Lights of the Soul by Yayoi Kusama creates a hallucinating sense of space which is immediately crushed on exiting.

This installation can only seen by two people at the time, so reservations are in order. Cloudwalker also includes work by Ann Veronica Janssens, Edith Dekyndt, Ian Fisher, Jan van Munster and Billy Apple. Until January 19. Website

Listen to the stories
At the new Nationaal Holocaust Museum in Amsterdam Beroofd (Looted) shows the shameful way Jewish citizens were robbed not just of their rights but their property, not only by the Nazis but by the Dutch authorities and the battle for restitution which followed for those who made it back from the camps. Among the many stories is the Goudstikker family’s struggle to retrieve their art collection. From May 31. Website

Catch some cricket
The Netherlands will host Scotland and Ireland for a cricket T20I triangular series from May 18 to 24 ahead of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in June. The series, which will be played entirely at the VRA Ground in Amstelveen, will see the three teams play each other twice in a round-robin format. Website

Say it with a sari
The sari takes centre stage at the Wereldmuseum in Amsterdam, showing the many ways in which designers and wearers all over the globe have used this traditionally Indian garment to make a statement or just be very very elegant. Sari/Statement is on until November 3. Website

Photo: Olivia Witmond

Look sharp in Utrecht
Op Scherp (In Focus) is the name chosen by the Centraal Museum in Utrecht for the razor-sharp renderings of urban life by the American Photorealistic movement of the 1960s. In their work, the next generation of photorealist painters take on the predominantly white and male protagonists of the movement by making them part of its social criticism. Until June 9. Website

Take it all in at the Teylers
The Teylers Museum in Haarlem is doing it again: juxtaposing old techniquers with new ones. This time it’s panoramas, the comprehensive view of a landscape beloved by artists from the 19th century and before, and which, the museum says, is now at the button of mobile phone. The museum has put on show 50 of its panaromas including a spectacular one and a half metre long view of Sorrento, from 1782 by Jacob Philipp Hackart. Until August 18. Website

See the king’s underpants
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is lifting up its skirts to show its collection of underwear, from purely functional to frilly nothings. On show are corsets, hoops, petticoats, crinolines, suspenders, chemises and, the highlight of the exhibition, the linen underpants belonging to 17th-century Dutch ruler Hendrik Casimir I. Under/Wear is on until June 16. Website

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