FOR SOME, Dutch culture might evoke images of old paintings, windmills, cheese-based cuisine and, perhaps for younger generations, the music of prominent DJ Armin van Buuren. However, the cultural and artistic scene in the Netherlands encompasses much more, and Slovaks are able to get a good sampling of it.
“The feedback is always positive; the Netherlands has good connotations among Slovaks and Dutch culture and literature seem to be popular in Slovakia and in central Europe,” Dávid Winkler, the press officer of the Embassy of the Netherlands to Slovakia, told The Slovak Spectator. “There are many organisations within Slovakia which cooperate with Dutch artists; and we try to support them and cooperate with them as much as we can.”
Of the events the embassy supported in 2013, he named the animated film festival Fest Anča at the Stanica Žilina-Záriečie culture hub, “where Bobby de Groot from the HKU art school in Utrecht came to give a presentation. Also, we supported a workshop during the film festival Art Film Fest in Trenčianske Teplice [also in late June] in which lecturer Bianka Taal represented the Dutch film expertise. Both projects were very successful and we had very good feed back,” he said.
Also successful, according to Winkler, was the public discussion with Dutch writer Thomas Rosenboom, who came to Bratislava in April for the occasion of the translation of his book Publieke Werken into Slovak (Verejné práce, Public Works). The Panta Rhei bookstore hosted the launch for the release of the Slovak version, as well as a well-attended discussion featuring writer Silvester Lavrík and the book’s translator Adam Bžoch.
“Furthermore, the Mondriaan Fund – a national Fund for the Arts – recently visited Bratislava with curators of Dutch Museums and artists on a tour in central Europe,” he added.
“The only project still to go this year is One World,” Winkler said, when asked about the embassy’s future activities. “As you can see, we try to promote Dutch films and literature a lot.”
The 2013 One World documentary film festival began when The Slovak Spectator went to print.
He also cited Dutch music as another area of focus for the embassy, specifically “Dutch modern music composer Peter Adriaansz, who recently gave a concert in Slovakia within the World New Music Days in Košice”.
“Next year, the Dutch section at Comenius University will organise … in Bratislava a summer school for students of Dutch language in central Europe,” he concluded. “We are presently looking at opportunities to support this event with other cultural manifestations.”