This Saturday I went to Nacht van Kunst & Kennis. It is this amazing art and science festival organized by Leiden University. We have something similar in Lithuania called Tyreju naktis but it is focused more on science. Also, we have Culture Night which is obviously focused on culture. However, I don’t think we have anything that combines both, art and culture. This combination makes the experience even better. As usual, there are some good and some bad things about this festival. However, I’m still very happy that I went there.
This time, I will start with the bad things. The list is short one, so I’ll be done just in a second. I am a foreigner and very new in the Netherlands. Hence, I don’t speak Dutch. In most cases, it’s not a problem because everyone speaks English here. However, that night I really wished I could speak or at least understand Dutch. Even though there were few performances which were in English or you didn’t need a language to understand it (dance, music performers, installations, etc.), I couldn’t find any information, because everything in the program was in Dutch! Organizers said that it wouldn’t be a problem if you didn’t speak Dutch but when you can’t understand anything in the program and you have to be really lucky to stumble upon something that’s in English… That’s slightly annoying. Also, I had no idea where to get food or water. It was easy to get a beer or wine but other than that… boy, you were on a quest. As I said, there weren’t many bad things. I’m already done with them. Can I start with the good things?
For starters, a mix of art and science is wonderful! Not only you can find, science, music, dance performances, but some of the activities were beautifully combined! There was this… wonderful invention, I think. They took a regular metallophone and created tunes using many many lines of code. Isn’t that beautiful? Also, they showed opera dedicated for Higgs boson. Unfortunately, it was only in Dutch and a too modern for my taste. They played with sound waves and explained how patterns emerge because of vibration. Also, there were more sciencey things. You could have walked in the virtual reality or observed different orbits using VR.
Finally, there were some great bands and beautiful dance performance. One of the most magical moments was when Town of Saints was playing in the middle of the night and gorgeous visual installations were dancing on the leaves!
As I understand, there were poetry readings, but only in Dutch. One more really cool thing – we walked in an excellent history museum and there were no lines, no one rushing you and you could walk in silence and admire/read everything you wanted on your own pace. That was a great moment!
Overall, I really liked that night and I will be definitely going to this festival next fall. Hopefully, they will have English programs by that time. That would be really useful!