While accompanying a group of American journalists on a recent trip through the Netherlands’ cultural landscape in order to show them the broad scope and context of Dutch arts and culture, we were struck as never before by the diversity, the depth, the originality and the vitality of the cultural offerings bursting forth all over the country. Through the eyes of our American guests we re-experienced the harmony and rhythms of the countryside and the innovative and inspiring evolution of the cities, all man-made and all created to ensure the best possible life for the inhabitants of this most densely populated patch of land on earth. In the Netherlands, participation in arts and culture is considered a basic right of citizens, alongside housing, education and health care. That is why artists and performers, art schools and conservatories and countless arts institutions and organizations of every discipline are so generously supported by the taxpayers. The Dutch government, through its culture funds and agencies, channels this support to ensure that everyone in the Netherlands, no matter what their age, ethnicity or education can enjoy this basic right.
But support for arts and culture is not only a domestic matter. International Cultural Exchange is of great importance to the cosmopolitan Netherlands, which has a long history of trade and idea exchange with the rest of the world. Cultural exchange enriches the cultural life as well as the arts communities of both the exporters and the importers. Artists and arts institutions collaborate together and clash, discover new approaches as well as common ground, and forge lasting partnerships as they bring forth new ideas and original art forms. Audiences abroad and at home are introduced to new ways of thinking which reflect back on their own assumptions and beliefs. Dutch foreign policy rests on the three pillars of trade, politics and culture, and it is the job of cultural diplomats like us to pave the way to greater mutual understanding and cooperation through the arts.
We are delighted and proud to present to you the program brochure for NL: A Season of Dutch Arts in the Berkshires, the most extensive presentation of Dutch arts and culture ever to be held in the United States. In an unprecedented creative partnership, leading arts centers MASS MoCA (and their annual guests the Bang on a Can Summer Music Institute) Tanglewood, Jacob’s Pillow, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Shakespeare & Company and the Colonial Theatre are presenting a summer-long showcase of vibrant works of art produced in the Netherlands or during residencies at the institutions themselves. In the spectacular setting of the Berkshire region of western Massachusetts from mid-June through August 2007, you can experience the broad range of creative endeavor reflecting the Dutch tradition of innovation. A wide palette of visual arts, design, dance, music, theater, film and a lecture series are all there for your enjoyment.
NL: A Season of Dutch Arts in the Berkshires has been several years in the making. It has been a great pleasure working so closely with our esteemed partner organizations in the Berkshires, with our expert colleagues in the Netherlands and of course with the dazzlingly creative artists themselves. We hope you will join us to experience the results.

Jeanne Wikler, General Director of Cultural Affairs USA, Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York

George Lawson, Director, Service Center for Cultural Activities (SICA), Amsterdam

"The Clark is pleased to be a partner in this summer's NL program. Collaborations such as this increase the impact of all of our individual programs. The Clark's Dutch Dialogues is an excellent opportunity to see works by Dutch artists Frans Hals, Vincent van Gogh and Rob Scholte along side works in the Clark's permanent collection. In addition, the Clark takes a look at Dutch society, music, design and cinema in a series of lectures, performances and films. The Berkshires has always been a special destination for cultural tourists. This kind of collaborative programming provides a unique opportunity for visitors to explore Dutch arts in much greater depth and from various perspectives than any one of us could provide on our own."
Michael Conforti, Director, The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

"Jacob's Pillow enjoys a long and vital relationship with the Dutch arts. The Netherlands Dance Theater for example, made its US debut here in 1965, and Dutch artists have been on our stages and on faculty since because they have made a remarkably distinguished contribution to the international field of dance. The NL project celebrates an unprecedented broad and comprehensive view of the enormous amount and quality of creativity generated by the Netherlands."
Ella Baff, Executive Director, Jacob’s Pillow

"Much of the work has a fresh, direct and damn-the-conventions approach. We love the way much of the best new Dutch art crosses over between architecture, design, visual art, and social sculpture. There is a curbside, democratic, and engaged quality to much of the best work: we see it in sculpture and urban design, but also in dance and film. And of course the Dutch are peerless international traders: there is a fast and global exchange of ideas, visual forms and musical expression that takes place in the Netherlands, with roots in the liberality and openness of Dutch civil and economic society -- something we thought especially important to watch closely today."
Joseph C. Thompson, Director, MASS MoCA

"The musical life of the Netherlands is dazzling. Across genres and periods - from early music to the most radical edges of new music - no other country can boast such preeminence and influence. Through the generosity and vision of the Dutch funding authorities, Tanglewood is delighted to be presenting a sampling of the Netherlands’ finest musical arts and artists this summer - its great performers and composers - alongside other disciplines. This will be a unique and wonderful experience for the Berkshires."
Anthony Fogg, Artistic Administrator, Boston Symphony Orchestra