Never Grow Up!: Film, Literature and Performing Arts for Young Audiences

Never Grow Up!

Dutch film, literature and performing arts for young audiences


_T_hroughout 2019, Never Grow Up! presents an abundance of Dutch film, literature and performing arts for young audiences in the United States. A wide range of work from the Netherlands will be presented and shared at festivals, conferences and other platforms, all representing a respect for young people and dedication to youth culture as an autonomous art form.

Never Grow Up! is a joint effort of Dutch Performing Arts, the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in New York, Eye International, Netherlands Film Fund, Cinekid, Dutch Foundation for Literature, and DutchCulture. The program aims to stimulate the dissemination and visibility of Dutch youth arts as well as cultural exchange and partnerships with renowned US-based presenters and organizations.

What’s on?
Throughout 2019, Dutch film, literature, (music) theater and dance that caters to young audiences and families is presented at events and venues such as IPAY Showcase, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Kennedy Center, New York International Children’s Film Festival and Brooklyn Book Festival. Presenters and agencies are invited to attend screenings, readings and performances, meet directors, writers and performers, and engage with representatives of Dutch expert organizations to discuss opportunities for collaboration and exchange.

“Robot XS” by NTjong © Bowie Verschuren – Dutch IPAY Showcase

Uniquely Dutch
Research conducted by the World Health Organization and Unicef shows that Dutch children are among the happiest in the world. What sets Dutch kids apart, is that they have a supportive environment at home, with friends and also at school. Dutch parents give a lot of support and have mild control. There is an egalitarian climate at school, teachers are not authoritarian but accept the feelings of pupils, and pupils trust teachers. This respect for young people and their views on the world is also reflected in the themes, genres and wealth of ideas found in Dutch arts for young audiences.

Dutch youth arts are known for their artistry and high production value while often tackling challenging subjects, ranging from the commercial to the chaotic, the playful to provocative and poetic, the silly to the serious, and everything in between. In the Netherlands, filmmakers, writers and performers take children and their personal experiences seriously. Unafraid to take artistic risks, publicly-funded makers in particular like to go off the beaten path of typical children’s stories and address topical issues head-on. At the same time, Dutch youth arts are characterized by their sense of humor, playfulness and light take on things, and are equally enjoyed by grown-ups.


January 15 – 19, 2019
IPAY Showcase 2019, Philadelphia
The year-long celebration of Dutch artistry kicks off with the presence of eight Dutch theatre and dance companies at international conference IPAY Showcase, that takes place from January 16-19, 2019 in Philadelphia. The eight companies will present their productions for young audiences to 500 US-based theatre professionals, including full-length performances, pitches, and excerpts from Theatergroep Kwatta, Theater Terra, Meneer Monster/NORPA, Het Nationale Theater/NTjong, Simone de Jong Company, Maas Theater & Dance, plan d-/Andreas Denk, and De Dansers. Presenting energetic dance performances with live music to moving visual performances for ages 2-6+.
More info

February 11 – 14, 2019
Kidscreen Summit Miami
During Kidscreen Summit in Miami, Cinekid is the host of a networking moment together with NTR and Ketnet. Cinekid’s general director Floor van Spaendonck will be present to talk with American and international producers, buyers, programmers and agencies about possible partnerships and collaborations. Contact Cinekid here to set up a meeting!

February 22 – March 17, 2019
New York International Children’s Film Festival (NYCIFF)
NYICFF presents its third edition of Friends & Neighbors, a program spotlighting the distinctive artistry of a country of focus and partner festival. Following Canada’s TIFF Kids and Mexico’s Morelia International Film Festival, NYICFF is collaborating with the Netherlands Consulate General in New York, the Netherlands’ premiere children’s film festival Cinekid and EYE International to present a series of shorts by the Netherlands’ most accomplished live action, animation, and documentary filmmakers for young audiences, as well as highlight new Dutch feature filmmaking for youth.
More info

[Schedule continues below]


March 8 – April 4, 2019
Chicago European Union Film Festival
Screening of You Are My Friend, directed by Petra Lataster-Czisch & Peter Lataster
Details to be announced.

March 30, 2019
Bam Kids – Miffy the Movie (Dutch: Nijntje)
Details to be announced.

May 3 – 19, 2019
Panorama Europe Film Festival at the Museum of the Moving Image (New York)
Participants to be announced.

May 4 – 5, 2019
San Francisco Bay Book Festival
Participants to be announced.

May 4 – 12, 2019
Oorkaan’s Glimpse at BAM Fisher, New York
Dutch music theatre company Oorkaan will perform their award-winning toddler production Glimpse, in a series of 12 concerts for families and schools at BAM, the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

4-5 May and 11-12 May at 10:30am and 3:30pm (for families)
More info

7-11 May at 11:00am (for schools)
More info

Second Week of September 2019
Brooklyn Book Festival
Participants to be announced.

14-27 October 2019
Three Dutch theater groups at Kennedy Center Washington, DC
Details to be announced.


This calendar and the blog will be updated frequently.



Never Grow Up! is a joint effort with: