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Image from JEAN-LOUIS FERNANDEZ

Culture Guide (June 2024)

From acclaimed artist Kandinsky and Amsterdam Art Week to the arrival of Ziwe and the return of Jeff Cowen, June has you covered when it comes to culture in the capital.

Holland Festival

Flags along the river for Holland Festival
Image from Nicola Mamati

For: the culture vulture

One of the highlights of Amsterdam’s theatre and dance agenda is the city-wide Holland Festival, which offers a heady mix of theatre, music, opera, film and visual arts, and international performance pieces in various languages. Since its inception in 1947, the programming has consistently emphasised cross-disciplinary art. This year marks the 77th edition and will kick off with highlights that include:

Holland Festival | 6-29 June | Citywide

Breath in a Physical Resolution

For: the technophiles

An offshoot of Amsterdam Art Week, 'Breath in a Physical Resolution', brings dance and art together, exploring the complex relationship between the human body and emerging technologies as well as the boundaries between our physical selves and the impersonal digital world. A commentary on the rise of artificial intelligence as much as it is our role in shaping it, catch what’s set to be an illuminating showcase on the first Saturday and Sundays of June at Noord’s Nxt Museum. 

Breath in a Physical Resolution | 1-2 June | Nxt Museum
Amsterdam Art Week | 29 May-2 June | Citywide

Amsterdam Art Week

For: the art lovers

Image from Alejandro Galván, Alan Hernández, Chavis Marmol - Las estrellas me iluminan al revés. On show at No Man's Art Gallery

An essential date for art lovers, Amsterdam Art Week is the place to discover what the capital offers in contemporary art. In its 12th edition, this showcase transforms the city into an international meeting place for art enthusiasts, collectors, and emerging and renowned artists. For five days, discover the latest developments and debates at more than 50 participating galleries, project spaces, museums, and residencies dotted around the city. Some highlights include:

Tolhuistuin's 10-year Anniversary

For: the climate creatives

Noord cultural institution and gig paradise Tolhuistuin celebrates ten years since opening with an open house party where for a day, every kind of culture collides. Across its 18,000 m2 site that includes gardens, terraces, studios and a restaurant, a diverse programme of music, games and activities for all ages are on offer. Meet MusicWithoutBorders – musicians who bring stories from war zones – or head out on treasure hunts, try your hand at pizza making and song recording or even get stuck into the earth with Climate Cleanup, who’ve created a living exposition of natural climate solutions for you to learn more about. 

Open House Tolhuistuin | Saturday 1 June, 12:00-18:00 | Tolhuistuin

Fidelio

For: the drama

If you’re after a full-blown spectacle on stage, then Fiedlio at the National Opera has you covered. Described as a liberation, a revolutionary work of art, an ode to love, a utopian drama, Beethoven's only opera is allegedly all of these. It follows the story of Leonore, who, dressed as a man and under a new name, embarks on an adventure to free her beloved Florestan from [antagonist] Pizzaro's dungeons, whose tyrannical violence, abuse of power and inhumane actions make him one of opera’s most wonderfully despicable figures. Whether you’re new to the opera or not, this story of hope in the most unlikely of places is for anyone with a penchant for drama – and for anyone who prefers an alfresco viewing, it's being screened in Park Frankendael on 16 June, so bring your picnic basket too.

Fidelio | 5 June onwards | Nationale Opera & Ballet

Ziwe - The Black Friend Tour

For: the quick-witted

American comedian, writer and satirist Ziwe takes her brand of razor-sharp wit and social commentary to Europe with The Black Friend Tour. Fresh off a much-watched interview with George Santos earlier this year and the second season of her eponymous talk show – Ziwe – The Black Friend Tour looks to distill much of what makes Ziwe so enthralling into one tidy evening. If you love comedy and satire with a thoughtful wink, grab your friends for one night only. 

Ziwe – The Black Friend Tour | 15 June | DeLaMar Theater

Kandinsky

For: the imaginative

Legendary abstract artist Wassily Kandinsky arrives at H’ART Museum in a special collaboration with Paris’ Centre Pompidou. The Russian artist is famed for bringing colour and abstraction to the canvasses of the world and now 60 of his most pioneering works are on display in this special exhibition. A retrospective on his career, this one’s for old fans and new ones. 

Kandinsky | 19 June-10 November | H’ART Museum 

Jeff Cowen

For: the escapists

Acclaimed artist and anaolgue photographer Jeff Cowen returns to the intimate halls of Huis Marseille for his second solo exhibition, with his lens firmly set on the south of France. A retelling of his experience in the region of Provence, his work draws attention to the area’s expansive natural beauty and its melancholic aesthetic that once magnitised artists like Van Gogh and Cezanne to it over a century ago. In fact, this exhibition is a collaboration between Huis Marseille and the Van Gogh Museum, so the latter will include several works by Jeff Cowen, in addition to drawings and paintings that Van Gogh made in Provence in its permanent collection. 

Jeff Cowen | 22 June onwards | Huis Marseille

Free to be Free

For: the critical thinkers

Image from Bowie Verschuuren

Stories of freedom and resistance are brought to life in Free to be Free, a theatre route across various sites. Developed for Memorial Year, which commemorates 150 years of the abolition of slavery in the Netherlands and its (former) colonies. Through poetry, dance, music and theater, Free to be Free is an exploration of what it means to be free in the past, present and future, and asks the question: how free are we really? 

Free to be Free | 25-29 June | De Waalse Kerk

Amsterdam’s Gay Men’s Chorus Summer Show

For: the singalong

The Amsterdam Gay Men’s Chorus kicks off summer in typically extravagant fashion with their annual seasonal serenade at Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ. Dubbed ‘Close Encounters of the Queer Kind’, this performance explores the chorus’ diverse lineup and their equally divergent tastes with the theme of ‘in space’ as the guide. Expect space-themed renditions of hits from Bowie to Radiohead on this night of intergalactic vocals. 

Close Encounters of the Queer Kind | 29 June, afternoon + evening | Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ