5 reasons you should attend the Nederlands Film Festival

5 reasons you should attend the Nederlands Film Festival

The Nederlands Film Festival is the high point of the Dutch movie season, drawing industry professionals from far and wide and building up to the Golden Calf awards in 16 film award categories.

5 reasons you should attend the NFF

From the thrilling atmosphere to the sensational roster of films, here are just five of the many reasons you should visit this exciting event! 

1. It's more expat-friendly than ever

The Nederlands Film Festival is in a bid to become more international by expanding its English content, offering an English festival programme which includes subtitles in many of the features.

The website and programme booklet are well-labelled: screenings and events in English or subtitled in English are marked “NFF English”, to make it easier than ever for visitors to find what they are looking for. This makes all the difference to the audience demographic attending the Nederlands Film Festival, making Dutch cinema more relatable to all walks of life.

This is the perfect occasion for foreigners to soak up Dutch culture at one of the country’s most exciting movie events.

Other countries have golden lions and golden bears. We have a golden calf.

2. The interactive events are international in scope

As well as English in a lot of the films, many of the events, talks, seminars and masterclasses also have an international flair. There is a series of talks for the general public and film experts alike called Our Brave New World Sessions. It features insights from directors, producers, researchers in Virtual Reality and face recognition, experts in performance and public art, designers, filmmakers and theorists from all over the world.

You can attend a music soundtrack seminar with Jan Harlan, the German-American producer who worked with Stanley Kubrik and Steven Spielberg, or a storyboard masterclass with Game of Thrones storyboard artist William Simpson. 

3. The films are outstanding

The Nederlands Film Festival shows all kinds of niche, experimental and blockbuster films of varying lengths, from thrillers to documentaries. There’s something for everyone and the quality is consistently outstanding.

The film kicking off the red-carpeted opening night, Niemand in de Stad (Open Seas), sees the cast and crew present to speak about the film, setting a distinguished tone for the 2018 festival.

One of the highlights of the festival is the World War II drama Bankier van het Verzet (The Resistance Banker). It was the most viewed Dutch film of 2018 in cinemas and it was the first film to have received so many nominations for the Golden Calf award. It was even submitted for the 91st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. 

On the other hand, if you like nature programmes, then you’ll love Wild Amsterdam, exploring the vibrant capital through the eyes of our furry and feathered friends.

4. The location is intimate, yet central

The biggest and most important film festival in the Netherlands is well-located: not in the capital, Amsterdam, neither in the royal city of The Hague nor the country’s biggest port city Rotterdam. Instead, it is located right in the centre of the Netherlands, in cosy Utrecht.

Utrecht is famous for its neat size, and without much fuss, visitors can seamlessly flit from one cinema to the other. You don’t need to snake your way across the city using public transport – you can visit multiple festival sites in one day, as they are within walking distance. Making your way from the Stadsschouwburg to Pathé Rembrandt Cinema via the “Festival Heart” in the Winkel van Sinkel is not a problem.

5. The festival atmosphere is second to none

The intimate atmosphere of the Nederlands Film Festival cannot be disputed, especially when you compare the NFF venues to London’s Leicester Square or LA’s Dolby Theatre. These small and unassuming cinemas may not seem like the kind of places to welcome royalty or A-list celebrities, yet there is such excitement and wonder as the crowds start milling around the red carpet.

The cast and crew of many films are present to give talks about the behind-the-scenes work, yet there is still that down-to-earth feeling alongside the hype and excitement of a film celebration on a national scale.

Get yourself to the NFF

Get yourself to the Nederlands Film Festival so you can experience it for yourself. This IamExpat editor is attending the Nederlands Film Festival for the second year running and recommends it for anyone in the Netherlands – expat or local – who’s curious about the most exciting film event of the year.

Rachel Deloughry


Rachel Deloughry

Rachel is a writer, editor and digital content creator, passionate about the arts, culture and lifestyle.

Read more



Leave a comment