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Ernest Cole Foam
Image from New York City, USA, 1971 © Ernest Cole / Magnum Photos.

Culture Guide (April 2023)

Explore Amsterdam’s buzzing cultural scene with our guide to this season’s must-see art and photography exhibitions, theatre, opera and dance performances and film festivals.

ART & EXHIBITIONS

Foam 3h: Sem Langendijk Haven

Image from Sem Langendijk / Foam

Sem Langendijk's first solo exhibition, Haven, shows the result of a long-term photographic investigation into the process and effects of gentrification and the social inequality it generates. In his images of Amsterdam, the Docklands of London and Red Hook in New York, at times, it’s hard to distinguish one place from another in the homogenous and anonymous architecture of glass, metal and concrete that replaces the cultural imprint these places once had.

World Press Photo

Image from Amber Bracken

Each year, professional press photographers, photo agencies, newspapers and magazines from all over the world are invited to submit their top news-related pictures from the previous year. The best works are assembled into a travelling exhibition of over 200 images, creating an overview of how press photographers tackle their work around the globe and how the press relates news through images.

World Press Photo | 21 April - 3 July | De Nieuwe Kerk

QOQNOOS - You Can’t Burn Womxn Made of Fire

Melkweg Expo's new exhibition explores the power of art and resistance by the women of Iran. In response to the significant feminist movement currently taking place in Iran, photographer and filmmaker Tina Farifteh has curated this emotional and urgent exhibition about resistance through art. QOQNOOS includes works by women from Iran and the Iranian diaspora. 

Continue This Thread

Continue this thread Amsterdam Museum
Image from Amsterdam Museum, Jamie Gail

This exhibition, guest curated by Amsterdam-based designers Karim Adduchi and Tess van Zalinge, shines a new light on the traditional art of needlework. With a curated collection ranging from show-stopping dresses to intricate tablecloths, the exhibition explores the power of embroidery and handicraft to heal from the past, bring us together, and pass down our stories to future generations.

Titus is Home Again

After months of extensive renovation, the Rembrandt House Museum will reopen on 18 March. In the new set-up, more space will be given over to works by the Netherland's most famous painter along with an exciting new exhibition programme for the upcoming season. In Titus is Home Again: a son, a father, a masterpiece, the iconic painting by Rembrandt's son will return to the exact spot where it was painted. 

Dalí: The Endless Enigma

Image from Lesia Joukova

The interactive gallery where art and light come together is unveiling its new Salvador Dali exhibition starting this Friday. The Endless Enigma will also feature works by Gaudi and Recording Entropia. This promises to be a psychedelic experience where visitors can take in the artworks surrounded by a Pink Floyd soundtrack, delivering a new perspective on the artist’s surrealist and mystical work.

Divas: Inspiration and immersion in Arab music and cinema

Divas is a powerful tribute to the international influence of female pop and movie stars within the Arab world. Centring around stars like Umm Kulthum, Asmahan, Warda, and Fayrouz, this fascinating audiovisual display peppered with stunning photography and dazzling costumes showcases how their music and filmography connects people around the world and has shaped global politics.

Divas | from 8 March | Tropenmuseum

Ernest Cole: House of Bondage

Ernest Cole Foam
Image from New York City, USA, 1971 © Ernest Cole / Magnum Photos.

Born in a township in segregated South Africa, Ernest Cole was given undprecendent access to places where most South Africans were banned. He photographed the grim reality of racial segregation, from documentation of miners to the police controls and demolition of townships.  His powerful work was largely considered lost until 60,000 negatives and contact prints were discovered in a Swedish bank vault in 2017.

Women In Street Art

In a scene mainly consisting of men, it is too common to overlook the many influential female street artists actively working today. Women in Street Art shines a light on female street artists to give attention and visibility to gender equality and opportunities within this scene. Admire an outstanding collection of works by female rolemodels including Japanese Lady Aiko, Faith47, Nina Valkhoff, Lady Pink and Mick La Rock (Mickey).

Saodat Ismailova - 18,000 Worlds

Saodat Ismailova – 18,000 Worlds, 21 January – 4 June 2023, Eye Filmmuseum, Amsterdam
Stains of Oxus, 2016
3 channel HD video installation, 24 min., 4.1 surround
Photo: Studio Hans Wilschut
Image from Hans Wilschut

Interweaving myths, rituals and dreams with everyday experience, Saodat Ismailova explores the invisible foundations of Central Asia. Her nuanced works call attention to social issues surrounding ecology, religion and women’s rights as she investigates multilayered cultural histories. The Uzbekistan-born artist is an important voice within the first generation of artists from the region, and this monumental new exhibition at EYE is her first major retrospective. 

Saodat Ismailova | until 4 June 2023 | Eye Filmmuseum

We Kiss the Earth: Danish Modern Art (1934-1948)

Artwork Heerup Krig og fred 1945
Image from Henry Heerup - Cobra Museum

Cobra's 75th anniversary year kicks off with a triptych of exhibitions exploring modern art from Denmark. We Kiss the Earth
Danish Modern Art (1934-1948)
celebrates the Danish artists who founded Cobra in 1948 and profoundly influenced preceding generations of artists. Encompassing around 100 masterpieces by more than 25 artists, themes explored include sexual freedom, politics, provocation, experimentation and spontaneity. The other two presentations Je est un autre: Ernest Mancoba & Sonja Ferlov and Becoming Ovartaci take a deep dive into the individuals also connected to the Danish modern art movement who shaped this period.

Rem van den Bosch: Here Comes the Flood

Image from Rem van den Bosch

Rem van den Bosch has photographed iconic places throughout the country that are vulnerable to (or a driver of) climate change and sea level rise. Displayed within the stunning Muiderslot grounds, one of the oldest moated castles in the Netherlands, this unique series uses fashion to visualise environmental realities in an accessible way.

Browse the calendar for all exhibitions

THEATRE & STAGE

Bloedbruiloft

Image from Fabian Calis

Spurned on by their indestructible love, the bride and her lover run off during the party and a savage manhunt is launched. The outcome is fatal. Bloedbruiloft (Blood Wedding) is directed by the internationally renowned Belgian choreographer Wim Vandekeybus, known for his strong physical and theatrical dance language.

Bloedbruiloft | 29 March - 15 April | ITA

Het Zwanenmeer (Swan Lake)

Image from Dutch National Opera & Ballet

Rudi van Dantzig's 1988 adaptation of the famous ballet, Swan Lake, was mainly inspired by Tchaikovsky; through his music but also through his letters and diaries. It is widely regarded as a less superficial, more human interpretation than the original version, and is a production which excels in emotional expressiveness.

Forever Young

Experience next-generation theatre in this addictive mix of theatre, electronic music (Don Diablo), a mash-up dance (Timor Steffens) and 360˚ cinema (Levan Tsikurishvili). Forever Young is a familiar story about pop idols who lost their lives too young with leading roles played by Daan Schuurmans, Denzel Chain and Sherefa Yorks.

Forever Young | 1 - 16 April | Club Escape

Known & to Know

Experience new work by young choreographers danced by the ICK ensemble and presented in combination with a previously completed work by choreographers Emio Greco | Pieter C. Scholten. Gravity appears to be a common denominator, a prominent force determining mutual physical relationships and a player in the space in which bodies appear and disappear.

Known & to Know | 11 - 12 April | Frascati

Der Rosenkavalier

Image from Dutch National Opera & Ballet

In Der Rosenkavalier, Richard Strauss sketches a world that is coming to an end. In alternately comical and deeply moving ways, the characters try to cling to a life in illusion. In vain: the passage of time is relentless, and the future belongs to a new generation.

Happy Days

Irish writer and poet Samuel Beckett's 'Happy Days' is as poetic and witty as it is profound. It's a story about togetherness and loneliness, physical decay and growing mental strength, the longing for eternity and the awareness of transience. All in all, a lighthearted story about a human life coming to an end.

Happy Days | 18 April | Frascati

Browse the calendar for all theatre and stage performances

CINEMA & FILM

Roze Filmdagen (Pink Film Days)

This year's edition of the LGBTQ+ film festival Roze Filmdagen (Pink Film Days) opens with Joyland (2022), directed by Saim Sadiqand winner of the Cannes Queer Palm. The programme encompasses an incredible selection of more than 152 LGBTQ+ films from over 40 countries, all in different genres, screened in Ketelhuis Cinema for 11 days. Many films will be having their world premiere during this event. 

Roze Film Dagen | 22 March - 2 April | Ketelhuis and Westergasfabriek 

Kaboom Animation Festival

At the end of March, Kaboom, the leading animation film festival in the Netherlands, returns to Amsterdam with another bumper programme. The central theme of this year's edition is Beyond Perfection, about society's constant search for perfection. Don't miss Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, an imaginative animation based on short stories by writer Haruki Murakami.

Browse the calendar for all cinema and film screenings