Publications
Article

New Music in Flanders

There was a time when Flemish composers dominated and dictated international musical life. During the Renaissance, musicians from the Low Countries were invited to every corner of Europe, and to Italy in particular to introduce their ‘new m...

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Philippe Herrewege, a Versatile Musical Shrink

With his activities as a conductor and his extensive discography the Fleming Philippe Herreweghe (1947-) has become one of the stars of the international music industry. His road to fame started with early music. With his choir, Collegium V...

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The Essential Guide to Dutch Music

The Netherlands has acquired a reputation for producing well-edited publications in the field of music and maintaining good working relationships with the country's composers. This article is a review of a detailed guide to a hundred Dutch ...

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Performing Early Music in the Low Countries

During the last few decades musicologists have abandoned the general philosophical approach in favour of more scientific investigations. Research into archive material has been undertaken on a large scale. As well as the works of important ...

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BIMHuis. A Concert Venue for Improvised Music

in 1974 the Netherlands Foundation for Jazz and Improvised Music opened the BIMhuis, its own concert venue in Amsterdam, but also a centre for international cooperation in the field of this music.

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Aspiring to Universality. The Music of Dirk Brossé

Dirk Brossé (1960-) is a Flemish all-round musician who over the last ten years has acquired international renown as a conductor and composer. As a composer, too, he is very versatile: he writes film music and concert music for various type...

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Leine and Roebana: Explorers of Music and Dance

In 1993 ‘Suites (Dances for the Queen)' marked the international breakthrough of the Dutch choreographer couple Andrea Leine and Harijono Roebana. In their search for an ideal language for dance, music is both their basis and their guide. A...

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The Melody Makers. Contemporary Music in the Netherlands

The history of today's contemporary music in the Netherlands has its roots in the sixties, that turbulent decade which disposed of so many outdated standards and values. This fresh start was not unique to the Netherlands, nor to the world o...

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Mosaics of Tones. Willem Pijper and his Music

More than anyone else, it was Willem Pijper whose compositions and crusading spirit placed Dutch music on the European cultural map. One of his mottoes, ‘a composer only composes what he cannot express or communicate in other ways,' fits hi...

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Life during God's Break. Pop Music in Flanders

After dEUS every pop and rock musician in Flanders knows that you can devote yourself one hundred percent to your art, but international fame and fortune will probably never come your way. That doesn't stop young, and rather less young, boy...

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An Alto under a Mop of Hair. The Success of Selah Sue

Her debut album has sold more than 200.000 copies. In 2011 she was distinguished as one of the ten best European artists with cross-border success. The United States has also made her acquaintance. Her strenghts are her voice, her songs wi...

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A Black Lion of Flanders

Roland Gunst – half Flemish, half Congolese – uses installations, performances, film and video to explore the search for his own identity.

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The St Matthew Passion Is About Us

Why our we still fascinated with a commemorative work like the St Matthew Passion that was written almost three hundred years ago?

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Gaudeamus

A piece about the importance of the Gaudeamus foundation for contemporary music in the Netherlands.

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The Sounds of the Low Countries

The Low Countries provide a colourful meeting place for exciting pop styles that draw large audiences. The hugely broad spectrum offered by pop music not only provides each new generation with its first acquaintanc with culture, but also mo...

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Infection Welcome! Het muziek Lod

Het muziek Lod in Ghent presents itself as a platform for all-round musicians who take a very broad view of their own domain and are open to music theatre and other art forms. During a fifteen-year voyage of discovery, Het muziek Lod has es...

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The More Breuker, the Better

Is Willem Breuker the biggest comic turn in Dutch jazz, or just the worst-dressed jazz musician in the Netherlands? Turns out he is both!

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The Splendour of Flemish Polyphony

Review of Ignace Bossuyt's 'De Vlaamse polyfonie' (Leuven, 1994, with 10 CDs), a brilliant synthesis of the evolution of Flemish polyphonic music over two centuries.

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Dogtroep. Nomads of the Wild Theatre

About Dogtroep's unique total theatre which transcends ordinary theatrical limitations. The Dogtroep nomads' wild, visual and musical theatre has developed into an important Dutch cultural export item.

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Starry-Eyed Merlijn Twaalfhoven. A Singular Voice

In describing the intriguing work of Merlijn Twaalfhoven (born 1976),one might at some point throw in a term like “polydiscursive”. That is to say, Twaalfhoven's music narrates different stories and events all at once, is sensory and multil...

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Loud Chords and Calm Moments. Louis Andriessen, Composer

Louis Andriessen's oeuvre now stands at around one hundred published works. Their unique and headstrong idiom, their instrumentation and their role in the history of music make some of the compositions that have been discussed key works of ...

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More Than Ideal Grandchildren. The Jussen Brothers

The impressive success enjoyed by the Dutch piano brothers Jussen has many sources, aside from the fact of the quality of their playing. In some respects their careers resemble those of every young exceptionally gifted musician. Born in 19...

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Beyond the Cluttered Years. The Dutch Jazz Archives

These days, the cluttered years of the Dutch National Jazz Archives are in the past. Now they are the Dutch Jazz Archives (Nederlands Jazz Archief; NJA) and it has space, new furniture, a group of industrious volunteers and paid staff. Ever...

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Netherlands Bach Society celebrates its 90th birthday

The Netherlands Bach Society has become a well respected and integral part of the musical infrastructure of the country. In anticipation of its first century of existence the Society has set itself the challenge of performing all the works ...

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The Secret of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra isn’t just any orchestra. In 2008, it was voted the best orchestra in the world by the British magazine Gramophone. In 2015, in a new poll, the international critics of the classical music site bachtrack.c...

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'Bitten by the Bug'. Peter Greenaway Goes Opera

British film-maker Peter Greenaway regards himelf as 'almost, in some senses, an honorary Dutchman'. No wonder, then, that he chose Amsterdam for his debut in a new perfomance art form, opera. Rosa: A Horse Drama (music by Louis Andriessen)...

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Between Django and Dire Straits Absynthe Minded

It took the Flemish pop musician Bert Ostyn (born 1981) ten years to reach the stage of consolidation. His group Absynthe Minded knows its classics. Rather than running through the genres or going for pastiches the group makes its own synth...

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Leonard Nolens. Winner of the Dutch Literature Prize

According to Nolens poetry is absolutely rooted in life, it flows through the finest blood vessels; it is something in which he has invested himself totally. He is someone who has ‘made a profession of his soul'. Without poetry, this poet ...

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An Ode to Transience. Terschellings Oerol

Oerol – a ten-day, international summer festival of theatre which includes music and dance, and also a wide variety of visual arts. The first festival, in the summer of 1982, did little more than blaze the trail. Now each year the whole isl...

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Hit the Road. Bands in Search of an Audience Abroad

The idea that a rock group from the Low Countries might attract large crowds elsewhere has become less and less bizarre in recent years. The world's become smaller because of the spread of music via the internet, which means that fame is no...

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A Modern Troubadour. Jozef van Wissem and His Lute

Jozef van Wissem (1962) is among the most celebrated lute players of this day and age. The Dutch-born, but Brooklyn-based musician is on a mission to free the lute of its stuffy image and to that end combs international stages with success...

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Jan Raes Dreams Polyphonic

In Amsterdam, the Flemish Jan Raes leads the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO), now widely praised as one of the best orchestras in the world.

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Ben Sluijs and the Rehabilitation of the Songbird

It has been a long road for the musician Ben Sluijs we used to see some ten or fifteen years ago working in academic ensembles like Sax-No-End. Back then it was all about the hard work of getting the job done on time, but today we witness a...

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Gruuthuse Manuscript Back in Bruges

The Gruuthuse manuscript, compiled in Bruges around 1400 and containing, among other things, the oldest collection of Dutch songs with musical notation, has been sold in 2007 to the National Library of the Netherlands in The Hague. It will...

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English = Dutch. A Dossier of Compelling Evidence

History has left many a Dutch mark on the English language. There is a sizeable English vocabulary of Dutch origin and borrowing from Dutch is an ongoing process, as witness recent additions like apartheid, coffeeshop, lekker and gabber mus...

Article

Pierre Audi, More than a Director

Pierre Audi is a theatre-maker through and through who is the artistic director of both the Netherlands Opera and, since 2005, the Holland Festival, which since 1947 has been offering a wide range of impressive and spectacularartistic proje...

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Dylans's Kin in the Lowlands

Almost half a century ago Bob Dylan was the fuse that ignited the powder keg of pop music. Thanks to Dylan, Flemish and Dutch folk movements rediscovered their regional traditions. Protest singers came and went. Dylan was translated, imitat...

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Any Way Tom Barman Goes

Musician and director Tom Barman isn't the sort of person who enjoys appearing on television. He doesn't like talking about his private life. Yet he is still widely perceived as an important artist and he is one of the few Flemish people to...

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Anna Enquist: Form and Vision; Analysis and Feeling.

During the last twelve years Anna Enquist has published a substantial body of literary work. She is a writer whose qualities and talents offer not only readability, but also lasting artistic integrity. Her art is about feelings both tragic ...

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The Tale Won't Be Ended. The Poetry of J.H. Leopold

Jan Hendrik Leopold (1865-1925) has the reputation of being a difficult, not to say obscure poet; which is why for almost a century, despite the eminent position accorded him in the canon of Dutch literature at a time when that canon was co...

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Rudy Kousbroek: Gifts

Every day of the 2020 Poetry Week we present a Dutch children's poem in English translation. Today: Gifts by Rudy Kousbroek.

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Max Greyson: Relativity

This week's Friday Verses are written by the Antwerp poet, theater writer and spoken word performer, Max Greyson. We translated his poem ‘Relativity’.

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Woman in Blue Reading a Letter. An Approach to Viewing Vermeer

A ‘Vermeer', like a ‘Rembrandt' or a ‘Van Gogh', is something more than a painting. A ‘Vermeer', whether it be a painting of a young girl in a turban, a woman with a watering can, a lady with a balance, or a music lesson, will bring associa...

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Welcome to Utopia

Utopia is not always an imaginary place. That is what Derek Blyth discovered when he entered the stunning city library of Aalst.

Column

Museum Explorer

Never a dull moment in Flanders and The Netherlands. Art, history, language or literature, you name it, there is a museum for everyone's taste in the Low Countries. Let Museum Explorer be your guide.

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Mustafa Stitou: Palpitations

This week's Friday Verses are written by Mustafa Stitou. We translated his poem 'Palpitations' from the volume 'Mijn gedichten' (Vassallucci, 1998).

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Poems for Lonely Funerals

In 2002, the Dutch poet F. Starik came up with the idea of the Poule des doods – a pool of poets who write and read a poem for the people who have no mourners at their funeral.

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Who Gave the Most Royal Corona Speech?

Many European rulers gave speeches during the corona crisis. How did they infuse their words with power? What meanings did Willem-Alexander’s concerned look and Filip’s stiff facial expression lend to their messages? And who gave the best s...

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Bart Moeyaert Wins Most Important Prize for Youth Literature

The Flemish author Bart Moeyaert has won the 2019 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. The award that is also known in literary circles as the “Nobel Prize for Youth Literature”, was presented at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy.

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Shortlist Prix de Rome Visual Arts 2019 Announced

The international jury of the Prix de Rome has selected four visual artists for the shortlist of the Prix de Rome 2019. The Prix de Rome is the oldest and most generous Dutch award for visual artists below the age of 40.

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Double Dutch and Beyond

The United Kingdom and The Netherlands' shared history has a big and often funny impact on each other's language.

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Belgium Is Europe in Miniature

Belgium has an interim minority government to deal with the corona crisis. The emergency has exacerbated the division in the country. Will Belgium fall apart, or is it actually a laboratory for Europe?

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Must-Sees in the Year of Jan Van Eyck

In 2020 Flanders is set to pay tribute to Jan van Eyck. The most impressive tribute to this Flemish Master will be presented in Ghent, where the Museum of Fine Arts is organising its biggest ever Jan van Eyck exhibition.

Article

What Tree Rings and Core Samples Tell Us About Our World

Those who know where to look can read the history of the planet and the human race in trees and landscapes. Two researchers from the Low Countries, Salomon Kroonenberg and Valerie Trouet, tell the story of the earth, our past and perhaps al...

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Utrecht Is More Than the Birthplace of a Cute Rabbit

Utrecht is so much more than a pleasant day trip from Amsterdam. Discover its picturesque canals, lively pub culture, the world’s largest bike parking garage and a cute little rabbit that pops up everywhere in town.

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Oh America, Where Art Thou?

The Low Countries' view of the United States has gradually changed from admiration to sadness and frustration.

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I Am Lonely, Therefore I Exist

The Dutch writer and visual artist Nicole Montagne is searching for 'imaginary lonelinesses' with, among others, Hopper, Spilliaert and the 'unknown girl from the Seine River'.

Article

Rebel with a Cause: Father Damien on Molokai

On 11 October 2009, the Flemish missionary, known as Father Damien, was declared a saint for his extraordinary service in caring for the lepers on the Hawaiian island of Molokai in the 19th Century.

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