CULTURAL FESTIVALS TO BROADEN YOUR MIND
Festivals are probably my most favourite pastime, and that’s why I am excited to share this post with you. It’s the chilled vibe, the music, the lights, the atmosphere, the feeling, the people, and the involvement of everyone that make a festival a great activity. Sharing my experience with you guys is definitely one of my favourite things, and getting to write about these festivals makes me even happier. However, these festivals have a little twist to them. Think of culture; art, films, music, creative talents, and performances. Here I provide you with a top three of my favourite festivals in Utrecht during the year.
Netherlands Film festival
The name already says it, but to translate it: the Dutch film festival is where the Dutch cinema sparkles, entertains, and fascinates its visitors. And what the great thing about this festival is? It lasts for a whole week! Yes, you can visit from the 21st of September, until the 2nd of October. A great deal of people make their way to this festival, which makes every night a full house. The festival is known internationally and it has a great deal of national, and international appreciation.
Every year this festival brings about a huge diversity in Dutch films to an extremely large audience. This festival is a platform where all kinds of people – from regular audiences to professionals – come together to watch, discuss and most importantly, experience the huge amount of films shown. This festival is made for anyone as films shown can be from art-house to mainstream, from short to long, from animation to regular, or anything in between! There will be featured films, documentaries, different genres, TV dramas, analogue and digital movies, and anything for young and old. So don’t worry if you need to bring along your children, there are different Kids & Youth programmes that have a broad selection of children’s and family films. So this wide range of programmes tempts anyone to visit. Dozens of foreign festival programmers, TV programmers and producers are there, so no need to worry about a lack in the Dutch language if you were thinking about it. The experience of going to the Dutch film festival is also more than going to a movie in the cinema as not only will you be able to watch the movies, you will also be able to get involved in talk shows, workshops, debates, and film parties. Now isn’t that something!
But this festival isn’t only for entertaining the audience, there is also a price to be won. The main programme of the festival is based on the idea that any Dutch filmmaker can submit a film to the festival and some of these films will have been selected to compete for one of the Grand Prizes of Dutch Film – the Golden Calf Awards. If you have been around in Utrecht, you might have noticed that around the time of the festivals, all shops in the city centre have a red carpet, and that there is a huge golden state of the Golden Calf on het Neude. All in all, it is definitely a time to come visit the city, as there is a lot to see around this festival.
And why are we so lucky that this festival is held in Utrecht? Well, Utrecht is the cinema capital of the Netherlands, where Dutch the Dutch film gets the victory stand it deserves!
Festival de Beschaving is an extremely fun festival to visit. It’s held on the 2nd of July, which means it has a really nice summer vibe to it. Because I told you my favourite top 3 festivals in Utrecht had a twist to them, so does this one of course. Not only is this festival THE place to be to enjoy music performances from well-known artists such as Typhoon and Kensington, but this festival also includes performances from beginning bands, poets, artists, and other people willing to share their creativity. Theatre is a big part of de Beschaving. A lot of visitors gather around to watch the amusing performances. The festival holds so many different aspects, you probably would have never guessed that they also have a special programme with a focus on science for instance. In this section of the festival you can come together and ‘get your science on’ in a very innovative way.
But besides the fact that this festival holds a huge range of different activities, it also holds a big diversity in its audience. Students, hipsters, families, couples, from young to old, and from all different cultures; anyone will have a blast! The atmosphere among visitors is very pleasant. Everyone is friendly and relaxed, no one is in a rush, and everyone is there for the same reason; to enjoy the experience of this festival.
And why is this festival such a pleasure to me? I can give you a thousand reasons but lets start with a few. The nice thing about de Beschaving is that it is really something unique Utrecht has to offer. Most of the trucks and stands at this festival come from Utrecht, which allows you to become a little more known with the smaller businesses in Utrecht. Think of food trucks, little clothing and jewellery stands, etc. But not only everything you can DO here is exciting, but also the things you can SEE. Take a look around, you’ll definitely enjoy what you find. The festival has been turned into a beautiful Botanical Garden with artwork to match the theme. The gardens are green and different arches have been built to make wandering around very exciting.
All in all, this festival really creates the holiday and summer feeling.
Spring Performing Arts festival
The Spring Performing Arts Festival is also a cultural festival in Utrecht. This festival lasts for a whole weekend, from the 21st until the 30th of May. At the Spring Performing Arts festival you can discover new choreographers, theatre-makers, and enjoy their performances. It’s an international festival with lots of cultural performances including theatre and dance. It’s THE place to be to discover different young-thinking choreographers who are daring enough to take risks, which means these performances are exquisite. You’ll experience a journey to an unknown territory where you can watch cutting edge performances. I promise you that you will be amazed – literally gobsmacked – by what you see here. During this festival you will be able to watch performances at different theatres in Utrecht, but also at unknown and unexpected locations. This weekend is a really unique and special experience and it is definitely a must-do and a must-see when visiting Utrecht during this period!
Now that I’ve shared my top 3 festivals in Utrecht with you, my advice is to quickly write these dates down in your agenda. Because believe me, you don’t want to miss out on these cultural experiences! (And of course, comment and let me know your opinion below!)