Monday 18 November 2019

Mata Hari and giant marionettes in Leeuwarden-Fryslân EU city of culture

Photo: LF2018

Major exhibitions on Mata Hari and Escher, a theatre performance involving 100 live horses, a tall ships race and a new fountain in each of the 11 cities of Friesland are among the programme highlights when Leeuwarden becomes European city of culture next year.

The full programme is set to be unveiled early on Tuesday evening, but the festival website already contains a sneak preview of some of the events in store.

‘Potatoes go Wild’, the giant marionettes of French street theatre group Royal de Lux, and landscape art in the mud and sands of the Wadden Sea coast are also on the menu.

The aim of the Leeuwarden-Fryslân organisation is to show ‘how we Frisians celebrate live and in so doing leave behind a healthy planet for generations to come’, the website states.

‘Culture is not the aim, but the means. Our landscape is the stage and everyone is welcome.’

Four million visitors

According to the NRC, the organisers hope to attract four million visitors to the year-long festival, of whom 1.4 million will stay overnight in the region. The focus is on attracting foreign visitors from northern Germany, Belgium and Scandinavia.

The Dutch tourist board Holland Marketing is using the occasion to position not only Leeuwarden as the cultural capital of Europe but Friesland as the ‘Lake District’, NBTC director Conrad van Tiggelen told the paper earlier this year.

The total budget for the event is put at €70m, funded by regional and national government, the EU and various corporate sponsors.

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