From watching films outdoors and checking out a huge market of hand-crafted items to admiring Matisse cutouts and steaming through the countryside, here’s our pick of the week’s best things to do.
Catch Matisse while you still can
Photo: Stedelijk Collection
Don’t miss the biggest collection ever exhibited in the Netherlands of the work of the French painter Henri Matisse (1869-1954), which has two weeks to run. In his paintings and cut-outs Matisse sought the most perfect possible union between shape and colour. He depicted Eastern nudes, colourful fabrics, carpets, potted plants and idyllic landscapes. Using its permanent collection, the Stedelijk also provides surprising combinations with the work of his contemporaries, teachers and followers, such as Monet, Van Gogh, Kirchner, Mondrian and Cézanne. At the heart of the exhibition is Matisse’s most popular work: The Parakeet and the Mermaid (1952-1953, photo).
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam until August 16. www.stedelijk.nl
Take the bus to interesting theatre locations
Festival Boulevard offers theatre and music performances at interesting locations indoors and outside throughout the picturesque city of Den Bosch. There are buses to take visitors to the locations. This year’s participants include the Belgian theatre company FC Bergman with the dialogue-free The Land Nod. Using slapstick, film and their physical style of theatre, they use the history of the art museum in Antwerp and its large collection of paintings by Rubens to tell their story. Elsewhere, theater-maker Boukje Schweigman creates a theatre experience called Curve using lighting, sound and architectural forms.
Various locations, Den Bosch, August 6 to 16. www.festivalboulevard.nl
Try out some good food
The great marketplace – Grote Markt – in Haarlem plays host to 13 top class restaurants from the city and its surrounding areas for the annual Haarlem Culinair. From their stalls around the marketplace they serve small portions of their signature dishes for a reasonable price accompanied by an appropriate wine. There is also a craft beer market on the Saturday and Sunday of the festival.
Haarlem is the capital city of Noord-Holland province and the buildings on the Grote Markt were built between the 15th and 17th century.
Grote Markt, Haarlem, August 6 to 9. www.haarlemculinair.nl
Change seats when the music stops
The programme Musical Chairs is an opportunity to have a look around the Delft University of Technology while listening to classical music performances. For instance, there is Fauré’s piano quartet nr 1 played by the Fauré Quartet in the botanic garden and Bach’s solo for cello played by Jakob Koranyi at the Architecture Faculty.
TU Delft, August 7. www.delftmusicfestival.nl
Feel jealous of the younger generation
Noah Baumbach’s latest film is a sparkling comedy of inter-generational jealousy and midlife anxiety packed with wit and vigour. Ben Stiller, who was at the centre of Baumbach’s Greenberg, plays Josh. He and his wife Cornelia (Naomi Watts) are a childless couple in New York whose friends are all producing babies. When they befriend Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried), a young, loft-dwelling couple, they abandon their old friends in favour of doing fun stuff with their new best friends: attending ‘street beach’ parties and hip-hop exercise classes, bike riding and buying a hat.
There is one sequence where Baumbach takes things too far when the foursome take hallucinogens under the guidance of a shaman and are encouraged to vomit out their demons. For the rest of the film Baumbach does what he does better than most: observe the manners and morals of the various demographic groups of the white, urban classes.
Get cool with the DJs
The Crazy Sexy Cool outdoor festival offers five stages: the main stage plus one each for eclectic, deep/tech house, Caribbean and UK garage/trap. Among those appearing are Billy the Kit, Vinny Jones, Contrasted, Isaac de Cuba and The Artful Dodger.
Zuiderpark, Rotterdam, August 8. www.crazysexycoolfestival.com
Steam through the countryside
Take the steam tram from Hoorn station through the countryside and villages of Noord-Holland province to Enkhuizen. This local railway line was constructed in 1887 and is 20 km long. The tram has a fireman to shovel the coal into the firebox and wooden seats in its carriages. The engine whistles, the wheels sing and the steam hisses. In Enkhuizen, the journey continues to Medemblik on an old-fashioned steamer with a saloon deck which sails along the coast of the IJsselmeer lake.
Museum Steam Tram, Hoorn until August 31. www.museumstoomtram.nl/en
Watch films outdoors
Out on an old pier in what was once the western port area of Amsterdam is a big screen and rows of deckchairs ready for the evening showing of a film not previously seen in the Netherlands. It’s the festival Pluk de Nacht (seize the night) which offers a different film each evening. Many of them are in foreign languages with Dutch subtitles, but for those with limited Dutch there are two English language films. The Wolfpack about a family of brothers locked away in their apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan who learn about the world from watching and re-enacting films (August 12). Sam Klemke’s Time Machine is Klemke’s 30 years worth of videoed New Year messages cut by director Matthew Bate with an old documentary about the space shuttle Voyager (August 14).
The festival terrain is about five minutes walk from Amsterdam central station and offers an arts programme and food and drink.
Stenen Hoofd, Amsterdam, August 5 to 15. www.plukdenacht.nl
Thrill to the young Mendelssohn
The closing night of the Delft Chamber Music Festival features the piano quartet nr 3 by the young Mendelssohn and the string quintet by the Russian composer Georgy Catoire. The performers are the violinist Liza Ferschtman (photo), viola player Marc Desmons, the cellists Jakob Koranyi and Danjulo Ishizaka and the Fauré Quartet.
Museum Prinsenhof, Delft, August 9. www.delftmusicfestival.nl
Buy some hand-made items
The Swan Market bills itself as a lifestyle event. It is a large market with mainly hand-made items such as jewellery, accessories, art, design, fashion and vintage. There is also a food market with street food trucks offering a wide variety of things to eat and drink, and a stage with live music ranging from folk to funk and soul.
Vredenburg, Utrecht, August 9. www.swanmarket.nl
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