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The 2015 Highlights of Dutch Arts & Culture in the United States

2015 was a jam-packed year with well over 1500 Dutch arts and cultural activities in the United States. It would be too much to highlight them all, but below we will give a glimpse of some of the highlights.

Wed, Dec 23 - Wed, Dec 23  2015

2015 was a jam-packed year with well over 1,500 Dutch arts and cultural activities in the United States. Perhaps even more, but that is what the Cultural Department at the Netherlands Consulate in New York was able to track! It would be impossible to highlight them all, but below you can find a selection of what took place, as part of large-scale events, and separately per discipline. We are proud of all the Dutch talent that crossed the ocean, and thankful for all the American organizations that believed in this talent and provided a podium and support. We look forward to seeing more projects come to fruition in 2016 and beyond!

Note: It would be impossible to mention all 1500+ events in this list, and we apologize if a project is not mentioned below. A more complete overview can be found on our Dutch Culture USA social media platforms.  


SXSW, the renowned music, film, and interactive showcase in Austin, TX had a significant amount of Dutch musicians, innovators, designers, and entrepreneurs on its roster. There were popular Dutch Impact showcases with live music by DotanSevdalizaJacco Gardner and Taymir, who were all touring the US extensively in 2015, and Dutch EDM was well-represented by Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) stages. This year also saw a vast group of Dutch innovators and designers in Interactive panels and Digital Domain sessions, who presented ideas and projects in the field of new media and technology as well as transmedia storytelling, such as IDFA doclab and Vertical Cinema. 


The Consulate was proud to partner with NYCxDESIGN in 2015! During several weeks of May, a wide variety of Dutch design projects and events took place in all corners of New York City. Circus Family created a lively interactive multi-media installation for the official opening event of NYCxDESIGN at WantedDesign Brooklyn, where FormNation created the interactive “Tangible Tweets” installation that engaged a wide audience of young and old! 

Os & Oos created a beautiful lighting installation at the Collective Design Fair, where Ornamentum Gallery showcased new work by Ted NotenGijs Bakker was featured at Atelier Courbet, and Piet Hein Eek took over The Future Perfect, where he curated a wonderful show with a number of Dutch colleagues. 

Various Dutch designers were included in the “How Posters Work” exhibition at Cooper-Hewitt, and Hella Jongerius was prominently featured in the groundbreaking “Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft and Design” exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design. And last but not least, Moooi opened its first showroom in Midtown Manhattan! We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the New York design community in 2016!  


For the 2nd year in a row the Dutch partnered with Northside Festival, creating a large cross-disciplinary presence, showcasing the country’s global creative alliances through art, technology, design and music. The documentary film Wolflady saw its US-premiere and as part of the international music night on the McCarren Park main stage, live music from Sevdaliza and Jacco Gardner attracted a large audience. DJ duo The Morello Twins had their US debut, and Williamsburg Walks was the ultimate environment for live street art by graffiti artists Niels “Shoe” Meulman and Paul du Bois Reymond.  

Dutch speakers during Northside Innovation included Neelie Kroes, the Netherlands’ Special Startup Envoy, and design-savvy entrepreneurs ByBorreKarmaIJsfontijnLAVA Lab and RotterZwam. In addition, visitors were able to interact with the speakers and innovators at the Northside Dutch Innovation Showcase alongside successful New York-based Dutch startups. 

A highlight of the 2015 Northside edition was the endorsement by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Vice-Mayor of Amsterdam Kajsa Ollongren of the signing of an MoU between the founders of Northside Festival in Brooklyn and the initiators of Northside Festival Amsterdam. This ceremony marked the kick off for an annual exchange of the avant-garde in the fields of music, food and innovation between New York and Amsterdam.  


After a successful presentation in Miami during Miami Art Week 2014, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) kicked off a North-America tour of the exhibition Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen, with photography by Lena Herzog. Preview events drew record crowds in the Salem/Boston region, and received a large amount of press attention. Still on view at PEM until January 3, after which it will travel to the Chicago Cultural Center and San Francisco Exploratorium in 2016, among other venues.


Quite a few Dutch architects and firms have recently been planning and working in the U.S., including Archi-TectonicsPiet BoonConcreteMecanooOMAOne ArchitectureWest 8, and others. 

In 2015 a signature commission was given to Mecanoo to completely overhaul the New York Public Library’s Mid-Manhattan branch, and update the library’s flagship location on Fifth Avenue. !Melk had an extraordinary year, with continued work on the Las Vegas Strip, and new commissions for a park masterplan in Phoenix, AZ, a new plaza in Sacramento, CA, and a Downtown plaza in Syracuse, NY. 

West 8 continues its work on Governors Island, and received a number of commissions for parks in Miami, and with Bjarke Ingels Group is working on a masterplan for the Lower Hill District in Pittsburgh, PA. 

2015 also marked the inauguration of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, which included presentations by Iwan Baan, Bas Princen, RAAAF, and SO-IL, and also a commission for NLE / Kunle Adeyemi to build a kiosk for the Chicago lakefront with students from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  


February proved to be a Dutch dance month in the U.S. with a tour by NDT2 that included multiple performances and a dance talk and workshops with Juilliard students at the Joyce Theatre in New York followed by Portland, Santa Barbara and Scottsdale. The NDT2 ensemble is the launching pad for young dancers at Nederlands Dans Theater. They also performed at the prestigious summer dance festival Jacob’s Pillow. 

ICK Amsterdam conducted workshops for the Creative Thinking curriculum at Montclair State University, surrounding their performances of ROCCO, presented by PEAK Performances featuring ‘ROCCO’, choreography by Emio Greco and Pieter C. Scholten, which was also performed at Fringe Arts in Philadelphia.

Following the success of his 2014 residency and US premiere of “The Dog Days Are Over” at Arbons Art Center, two works by emerging choreographer Jan Martens were performed in the mid-west: “Sweat Baby Sweat” and “The Dog Days Are Over.”  


As mentioned above, 2015 was a special year with a significant Dutch design presence in New York during NYCxDESIGN. Other notable projects included the “Hands Off: New Dutch Design at the Confluence of Technology & Craft” exhibition at the Museum of Crafts and Design in San Francisco. Curated by Zahid Sardar, it featured no less than 20 Dutch designers and firms and their innovative work. 

Still on view at the High Museum of Art is the groundbreaking work by Iris van Herpen, one of today’s most original fashion designers. This exhibition will travel to various North-American venues in 2016-2017, so stay tuned!  

And lastly, New York welcomed the arrival of a spectacular showroom by Carpenters Workshop Gallery. Many Dutch designers are represented by the gallery, and their work is on view in the penthouse floors of the former Takashimaya store on Fifth Avenue, including Atelier van LieshoutMaarten BaasFrederik MolenschotStudio Drift, and Studio Job. Expect more to come in the upcoming years!  


US premieres, special screenings and digital releases of Dutch films in the U.S. took place all year long. The VICE-presented movie “Prince” by award-winning director Sam de Jong received good reviews and was shown to audiences across the U.S. as well as VOD. Lots of attention was paid to the soundtrack by LA-based Dutch DJ PALBOMEN. Heddy Honigmann’s documentary “Around The World in 50 Concerts” premiered at the Museum of Modern Art during Documentary Fortnight 2015. 

Director and documentary maker Daan Veldhuizen was in attendance for Q&A’s at sold-out screenings of his popular documentary “Banana Pancakes and the Children of Sticky Rice” at the Chicago Film Festival and  Margaret Mead Film Festival at the Museum of Natural History in New York. 

The Woodstock Film Festival put the spotlight on Dutch films with three feature films, inviting all filmmakers to participate in professional panels and Q&A’s. The movies by Colette Bothof, Marjolein Beumer and Eddy Terstall, participated in the festival’s World Cinema Competition. Terstall’s “Meet Me in Venice” won the World Cinema Competition award. Accepting the award was the much-applauded lead actress, Roberta Petzoldt. Filmmakers Sibs Shongwe–La Mer and Morgan Knibbe were both invited to the prestigious AFI Fest in Hollywood, to represent their films “Necktie Youth” and “Those Who Feel the Fire Burning,” together with other filmmakers from across the globe. The international program contained several Dutch productions and co-productions.


In 2015 several educational programs were developed in collaboration with institutions such as the Museum of the City of New York and the Brooklyn Historical Society. These programs focus on the Dutch legacy and its influence on the development of the New York State region, and with that enables students to trace colonial history from the Dutch colony of New Netherlands to the English colony of New York, making note of lasting Dutch contributions. 

The international peer education project, “Face to Face,” also took place in 2015. During this project, students from the Amadeus Lyceum in Utrecht and New Utrecht High School in Brooklyn created stories and accompanying artwork showing the connection between the two countries in the 17th century and present day. 


There were book launches and presentations of English translations of their work by authors Maarten Asscher and Otto de Kat. Asscher, a renowned writer, lawyer and director of the Athenaeum Bookstore in Amsterdam, presented his new book “Apples and Oranges, In Praise of Comparisons.” In late summer, Otto de Kat’s book “News From Berlin” was published in the U.S. by Quercus and accompanied with a book tour. Otto de Kat is the pen name of Dutch publisher, poet, novelist and critic Jan Geurt Gaarlandt. 


The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra performed their program conducted by music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin in several cities throughout the USA, including Chicago, and New York, where they took the stage in the Lincoln Center. 

The fall of 2015 was a good season for Early Music from the Netherlands: Latin-American ensemble Musica Temprana (US debut) and vocal ensemble Cappella Pratensis both performed for a full house and their performances, presented by the Early Music Festival and Music Before 1800, were very well received.

In addition there were successful performances by Dutch opera star Eva-Maria Westbroek and recitals by Tosca Opdam, Ralph van Raat and a composition by Merlijn Twaalfhoven, performed by the highly regarded Kronos Quartet


As was the case over the last years, our calendar of events shows a high frequency of EDM events featuring DJs from the Netherlands, who consistently rank high on global DJ lists. Hardwell, Tiësto, Armin van Buuren, Afrojack, Bakermat, Sunnery James, Martin Garrix, and many others traveled to dance events all over the U.S. while Awakenings had its own stage at Electric Zoo New York featuring Dutch DJ-talent.

In May, a successful collaboration between Dutch electronic music platform Sekoia and the annual Together Boston Festival, produced by DJ-school MMMMaven, took place under the name Together X Sekoia, which featured multiple Dutch techno and deep house DJs and VJs, culminating in a Dutch night with Martyn, Tom Trago, Florinsz, Cursed P and Heleen Blanken. Resident Advisor Exchange sat down for an in depth conversation with DJ Martyn, and the founders of Together Boston received an official proclamation from Mayor Martin J. Walsh recognizing their contribution as well as the Dutch impact on Boston’s culture and electronic music scene. MMMMaven focuses on forward thinking acts to bring something different to the table than mainstream EDM. 


Jungle by Night, a young and energetic band with a unique sound of worldwide Afrobeat-inspired funk, received wide-spread attention for their new album and US-debut tour on the East Coast. OkayAfrica featured their new video El Miraglo.

Saxophonist and composer Marike van Dijk released her new CD “The Stereography Project,” which came with multiple gigs consisting of a twelve-piece jazz group with string quartet led by Van Dijk. All compositions were inspired by images and music experienced by Van Dijk throughout her childhood in the Netherlands as well as her life in New York City.

One of Holland’s oldest contemporary jazz bands, ICP Orchestra, performed at the prestigious Winter Jazz Fest as part of their East Coast tour. Renowned Dutch funk and jazz saxophonist Candy Dulfer was a special guest, together with Jonathan Butler and Bill Medley, in Dave Koz’s annual Christmas Concert tour consisting of 23 gigs in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. 


Over the past months, several Dutch rock and pop bands, all very successful in Europe, took the leap overseas and worked very hard playing gigs on a variety of stages and festivals across the U.S. to gain a new and larger audience and bring their music to the States. 

Chef’Special toured for two months straight, opened for famous hip-hop duo AER, and played their international hit single “In Your Arms,” which also had an EP release and companion video. LA-based Fueled By Ramen/Atlantic Records announced its signing of Chef’Special and the band is working on their new album as we speak. Chef’Special was one of the featured Dutch acts at Culture Collide LA, together with Sevdaliza, DJ PALMBOMEN and radio coverage by Red Light Radio from Amsterdam, who were broadcasting live during the Indie Label Market

Speaking of Indie record labels; Burger Records released its very first Dutch mixtape in March! The compilation cassette of upcoming Dutch bands, curated by Burger Records, features bands such as Mozes and the Firstborn, Jacco Gardner, Afterpartees and the Miseries. 

Benny Sings is the first Dutch musician ever to be offered an exclusive NPR Tiny Desk Concert session. For this recording he collaborated with American singer Jennah Bell. Benny’s new and fifth album “STUDIO,” was released worldwide on November 27 and received wonderful reviews.

Multi-instrumentalist Jett Rebel was the Dutch featured act in Live in Your Living Room NY allowing him to play new and older material for a fresh audience. An initiative of Live in your Living Room from the Netherlands, consisting of 11 gigs over 10 nights in unique venues and living rooms all over New York. Each night Jett Rebel was co-billed with a different NY-based act.   


Dutch Old Masters remain as popular as ever in the United States. 2015 saw a number of special exhibitions that brought some of the best work to American Audiences. Curated by Ronni Baer, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston presented the highly anticipated exhibition “Class Distinctions: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer,” still on view until January 18. Opened by Prinses Beatrix of the Netherlands, the exhibition features major works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Jan Steen, Frans Hals, Pieter de Hooch, Gerard ter Borch, and Gerard Dou, among others.  

Joachim Wteweal is featured in the exhibition “Pleasure and Piety: The Art of Joachim Wtewael,” currently on view at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, after a first stop at the National Gallery of Art. Co-organized with the Centraal Museum in Utrecht, the Netherlands, the exhibition aims to reclaim the artist’s rightful place among the great masters of the Dutch Golden Age. 

Vincent van Gogh was featured in the unique exhibition “Van Gogh: Irises and Roses” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which for the first time, brought together a quartet of flower paintings the artist made on the eve of his departure from the asylum of Saint-Remy. 50 works by Van Gogh were also featured in the exhibition “Van Gogh and Nature,” organized and exclusively shown at The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA. The exhibition was the first to explore the artist’s extraordinary fascination with the natural world. 


Contemporary Dutch photography remains one of the most successful disciplines in the U.S. This year included Jacqueline Hassink’s inaugural solo exhibition at the Benrubi Gallery, a solo exhibition by Jan Banning in Fullerton, CA, and various solo and group shows by Micky Hoogendijk across the country. 

Dana Lixenberg presented her new publication “Imperial Courts, 1993-2015,” a massive, 20+ years project documenting a housing project in Los Angeles, and Desiree van Hoek presented years of working on Skid Row at the WUHO Gallery in Los Angeles. Anouk Kruithof was selected for “New Photography 2015” at MoMA, and Kadir van Lohuizen worked with local youth to present his long-term, multi-media “Via PanAm” project at the Bronx Documentary Center. 

Last but not least, the successful Photoville festival in Brooklyn Bridge Park continued its ongoing attention for Dutch photography, with presentations by Noorderlicht, International Photo Festival Leiden, a group show curated by Astrid Verhoef and Aloys Ginjaar, and a solo exhibition by Ellen Kok


2015 is clearly the year of Amsterdam-based and Belgian-born director Ivo van Hove, the artistic director of Toneelgroep Amsterdam (TGA). The well-known theatre group performed “After the Rehearsal” and “Persona” at Fringe Arts in Philadelphia. “Antigone,” a co-production with the Barbarican in London and TGA had a week-long run at the BAM’s New Wave Festival, with Juliette Binoche in the leading role.

Arthur Miller’s “A View from the Bridge” marked Van Hove’s Broadway debut with London’s West End production at the Lyceum Theatre, and New York Theatre Workshop premiered the long awaited musical “Lazarus,” by David Bowie and Enda Walsh, inspired by the novel “The Man Who Fell to Earth” and directed by Ivo van Hove. All productions had TGA colleagues involved including Van Hove’s long-time partner and set-designer Jan Versweyveld. 

Dutch-Flemish Theater group Wunderbaum makes theater about current issues, both on location and in the theater, writing their own texts collectively. They collectively performed “Looking for Paul” at New York Live Arts for four consecutive days and filmed a scene for their forthcoming movie in the middle of Times Square. 

Dutch Theater for Young Audiences keeps standing out in the field of live family entertainment with extensive tours by both Theater Terra and Kwatta and a selection of three featured showcases at the annual IPAY conference, the biggest showcase for Theater for Young Audiences in North-America.

Last April, THE NEWS, a multimedia reality opera with music from Dutch composer Jacob Ter Veldhuis aka JacobTV was performed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Thalia Hall in Chicago. This production is a great example of a successful Dutch-American cultural collaboration with the American ensemble Fulcrum Point and vocal artist Loire paired with Dutch vocalist Nora Fischer. 


The past year again showed a wide array of Dutch visual arts projects and presentations across the United States. Various Dutch galleries participated in fairs in New York and Miami, such as Amstel, Andenken, Delaive, GRIMM, Kallenbach, LMAK Projects, Ron Mandos, Priveekollektie, Rueb, Smith Davidson, Frederieke Taylor, Torch, Upstream, VIVID and others. 

Notable public art projects included Rafael Rozendaal’s Midnigh Minute work on dozens of screens in Times Square, an Alicia Framis project for Creative Time in Central Park, and Ewerdt Hilgemann’s sculptures for EXPO Chicago. Saskia Janssen was the official Dutch artist-in-residence at ISCP, and together with George Korsmit was part of the 2016 Peekskill Project which included intensive collaborations with Peekskill residents. 

Museum and non-profit solo shows included presentations by Bik van der Pol at PAMM in Miami, Carla Klein at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis, Rob Voerman at the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh, Lily van der Stokker in the Hammer Projects series for the Hammer Museum, Magali Reus in the Sculpture Center, Falke Pisano in REDCAT, Willem de Rooij in the Jewish Museum in New York and the Henry Art Gallery. 

As in previous years, work by a large number of Dutch artists was presented via solo exhibitions at US galleries, including Rineke Dijkstra at Marian Goodman, Jan Schoonhoven at David Zwirner, Erik van Lieshout at Anton Kern, Jasper de Beijer at Asya Geisberg, Rob de Oude at various galleries, Anton van Dalen at PPOW, Harm van den Dorpel at American Medium, Rachel de Joode at KANSAS, Rafaël Rozendaal at Postmasters, Folkert de Jong at James Cohan, Kirsten Leenaars at DC Arts Center, Willem de Rooij at Petzel, Melanie Bonajo at Company, Mark Manders at Tanya Bonakdar, Jeroen Nelemans at The Mission, Cecilia Vissers at inde / jacobs, Sabrina Chou at Human Resources, Peter Schuyff at Mary Boone, Adele Renault at Havas Chicago, and Tjalf Sparnaay at Bernarducci Meisel, among others. 


This Year, Dutch Culture USA has again been very active on social media and we saw steady growth on our blog and social media accounts. We are happy and thankful to see so many followers liking and visiting us on Instagram (1,041 followers), Twitter (5,283 followers) and Facebook (13,560 followers). We hope that you enjoy reading about all the exciting Dutch cultural activities in the United States and hope to see you return in 2016 and beyond! If you want to stay informed, please make sure to sign up for our monthly newsletter here, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

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