Comedy to cars and Kwaku: 12 great things to do this summer

Painted tomb wall. Photo: National Archaeological Museum of Paestum

Although many people will exchange the swampy Netherlands for the blistering heat of Spain and Greece, there is something to be said for staying put. Here are some of the reasons why.

Have a laugh with Boom Chicago

Boom Chicago in Amsterdam proudly presents its fourth Comedy Festival featuring 35 shows and 160 performers from 12 countries. Stand up, sit down, lgbtq, drag, hiphop, it’s all thers. Big laughs all around. July 11 – 21. Website

Take a peak at Paestum in Leiden

If you are heading for Paestum in Italy this summer you may be in for a disappointment because the Rijksmuseum voor Oudheden in Leiden has borrowed lots of finds from the its museum for the exhibition Paestum, Greek and Roman City of Goddesses. Over two hundred artefacts illustrate the history of the city, including tomb frescoes, temple ornaments, sculptures of goddesses, pottery, glass, and coins, will be on show. Until August 25. Website

Try a hat on at the Centraal Museum

Thanks to an unrelenting search, collector Hans van Emmerik managed to create the largest private collection in the Netherlands of fashion from the first half of the 20th century. On show at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht are 300 dresses, some have which have no maker’s name and which may have been very skillfully copied, while others are by fashion house Jenny, and the Callot sisters, both of whom were famous around 1900.

Hat with green feathers. Photo: Frank Bakker

The dresses are shown in conjunction with an equally delightful exhibition of hats collected by Tiny Meihuizen-Wijker. You can even try them on, well virtually. Mode * Chapeau is on until September 24. Website

Melt your art of stone at the Rijks

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has welcomed Korean artist to create the 11th edition of the museum’s free garden exhibition.  Ufan calls it the “art of the encounter” which means that short of bumping into them while struggling with your umbrella, the stones are there to touch and fondle. Art of Stone is on until October 27. Website

Lee Ufan Photo: Rijksmuseum/ Albertine Dijkema

Get the theatre bug in the Amsterdamse Bos

The Amsterdamse Bostheater is buzzing this summer, not least because of the mozzies, but mostly because there is a lot going on. The Cinetree Forest Filmfestival, for example, which has scheduled Frida, The Boy and the Heron and Challengers. August 22, 23 and 24. Website

Dump your car there as well

Also at the Amsterdamse Bostheater: The Summer Sacrifice based on Igor Stawinsky’s Rites of Spring performed by De Warme Winkel. It’s the car – one of 35 donated to the cause-  that gets it in the neck in this version, however. It’s literally hauled up and deposited onto the stage to be ritually sacrificed to appease the gods of the environment it has insulted. English subtitles are available on certain dates in July and August. Website

See the wood for the arbos in Tilburg

The beautiful Oude Warande Park in Tilburg is hosting its annual contemporary sculpture exhibition. Organisers Lustwarande have gathered national and international artists who are continuing the ancient tradition of working in wood. Arbos (latin for trees) is on from July 7. Website

Enjoy the music and kick a ball at Kwaku

Clear your diary for the Kwaku Summer Festival in Amsterdam. Earth Wind & Fire will be there, as well as Elvis Crespo and Frenna and the Gang and that’s just the Friday night concerts. There is a huge lineup and of course there’s the Kwaku footie competition. July 13 – August 4 Website

Photo: Merlijn Hoek via Flickr

Get electrified in Spaarnwoude

Electronic dance music extravaganza Dance Valley invites you to take your pick from 77 artists across 8 zones. Taking to the hills of Spaarnwoude this year are  Cocoon, Voltage, Lucas & Steve and friends and many many more. August 10. Website

Lose yourself in a landscape at the Van Gogh

There is still time to visit the Matthew Wong’s exhibition at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. His mesmerising landscapes show the influence of the later, vividly coloured, work of Van Gogh who he admired. Like Van Gogh, Wong was a tormented soul, who painted obsessively until he committed suicide in 2019. Matthew Wong, Painting as a last resort is on until September 1. Website

Come Together at Pride in Amsterdam

The Pride theme this year is Together. Events include the Canal Parade on August 3, the Pride March on July 27 and Pride Park at the Vondelpark on the same date.

The boat parade draws huge crowds. Photo:

The organisers have scheduled some 300 activities, including art & culture, sports, workshops and outdoor parties. July 27 – August 4. Website

Meet the new virtuosi

If you’re into something a bit more restful the Grachtenfestival is for you. It’s 10 days of classical music and jazz by promising young artists in the soothing surroundings of the Tolhuistuin in Amsterdam-Noord. August 23 – September 1. Website

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