Celebrating 75 Years of Freedom & Friendship through the Arts

Arts of the Netherlands featured at the NAC with events, activities and performances March 17- 21

OTTAWA – As 2020 marks 75 Years of Freedom and Canada’s important role in the liberation of the Netherlands, the National Arts Centre wishes to honour the deep friendship between both countries with a week-long focus on the arts of the Netherlands, from March 17 to 21.

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Canada and the NAC will host free events and activities in the NAC’s public spaces. The NAC will also present two major performances in Southam Hall: the long awaited return of world's preeminent dance company the Nederlands Dans Theater on March 17 & 18, and the NAC Orchestra’s Double Dutch concert, on March 21.

“The warm friendship between Canada and the Netherlands will be on full display at the NAC, and we look forward to honouring this momentous anniversary of freedom with a tribute to some of the Netherland’s best artists,” says NAC CEO Christopher Deacon.   

The Dutch-Canadian Connection

The unique bond between Canada and the Netherlands is deeply rooted in the shared history of the two countries. During the Second World War, Canada generously sheltered the Dutch Crown Princess Juliana and her Family in Ottawa, where Margriet Francisca, Princess of the Netherlands, was born in 1943.

Canadian soldiers later went on to liberate the Netherlands at the end of the Second World War in 1944 and 1945. The Dutch Royal Family expressed their gratitude by giving Ottawa 100,000 tulip bulbs, whose bright colours continue to joyfully transform the city every spring.

“We are proud that the NAC, with the performances of its Orchestra and internationally acclaimed Nederlands Dans Theater, pays tribute to Canadians who bravely fought to make 75 Years of Freedom possible,” says His Excellency, Henk van der Zwan, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Canada.

Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT): Technical Brilliance & Impressive Versatility

On March 17 & 18 at 8:00 p.m. NAC Dance presents a phenomenal triple bill showcasing the confident, masterful and daring work of internationally acclaimed choreographers. Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) is one of the world’s preeminent dance companies, and its long-awaited return to Ottawa is a highlight of the NAC Dance season. The company’s dancers are renowned for their technical brilliance and versatility who exquisitely embody a wide range of styles. This phenomenal triple bill performed by NDT includes The Statement by NDT’s associate choreographer Crystal Pite, VLADIMIR by the inimitable Hofesh Shechter and Singulière Odyssée, by NDT’s award-winning house choreographers Sol León and Paul Lightfoot.

“The Canadian connection with Nederlands Dans Theater is impressive, with Crystal Pite as one of its Associate Choreographers and now Emily Molnar set to take the reigns as Artistic Director next season.  In celebration of the company’s 60th anniversary season, and as part of the NAC’s Dutch Week celebrations, this specially curated program spotlights the excellence and ingenuity of this amazing troupe,” says Cathy Levy, NAC Dance Executive Producer.

March 17 - 18, 2020

8:00 pm

Southam hall

Pre-Show Chat: Celebrating 75 Years of Freedom and Friendship

Prior to the Nederlands Dans Theater performance, on March 17, at 7:00 p.m., in Peter Herrdorf Place, the public is invited to join Cathy Levy, Executive Producer of Dance at the National Arts Centre, in conversation with guests Lieutenant-Colonel Ton Linssen, Defense Attaché at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Canada Paul Lightfoot, Artistic Director of Nederlands Dans Theater.  Together, they will underscore 75th Years of Freedom and Canada’s important role in the liberation of the Netherlands as well as the deep friendship between both countries and the NAC’s week-long focus on the arts from the Netherlands.


March 17, 2020

7:00 P.M.

Peter A. Herrndorf Place

This event is FREE

In English

NAC Orchestra Double Dutch Concert

For one night only, March 21, 2020 at 7 p.m. the NAC Orchestra will bring to life Beethoven’s electrifying and tempestuous Symphony No. 5. Ground-breaking when it debuted in 1808, the world’s most famous symphony gives virtually every instrument in the orchestra a solo, each individual voice on a collective journey culminating in powerful triumph. 

Dutch artists Simone Lamsma and Harriet Krijgh both make a welcome return to Southam Hall to perform Michel van der Aa’s akin – a double concerto for violin and cello.  Both of these remarkable artists possess talent in abundance, playing with almost unrivalled incandescence and warmth. Composer Michel van der Aa is a multidisciplinary artist whose expansive musical vocabulary has made him a unique and compelling voice among the composers of Europe today. 

“Our program, Double Dutch celebrates the spirit of the Netherlands— an open, collaborative and imaginative country by shining the spotlight on brilliant Dutch artists. As we enjoy a performance and music by flourishing international artists who are free to pursue their dreams around the world, we can all the more appreciate the significance of freedom today and the lasting impact of two nations-friends- coming together,” says Arna Einarsdóttir, Managing Director, of National Arts Centre Orchestra.


Saturday, March 21, 2020

7:00 p.m.

Southam Hall

Free Activities for both Young and Old in our Public Spaces  

For the entire week our popular free public spaces programming will celebrate the arts of the Netherlands.

Toddler Tuesdays, a weekly free activity for young children and their parents that takes place in the NAC’s Peter Herrndorf Place, will have a focus on the arts of the Netherlands. Our Senior Pop up Painting on Wednesday March 18, 202 at 1:30 p.m. in the Atrium, will also reflect this programmatic theme.


Toddler Tuesday

March 17, 10:30 a.m.

Peter A. Herrndorf Place


Senior Pop up Painting

March 18, 1:30 p.m.


Celebrating 75 years of Freedom and Friendship on the Kipnes Lantern March 16- 21

The National Arts Centre in collaboration with the Dutch Embassy, will display archival images of Canada’s important role in the Liberation of the Netherlands during the Second World War, on the Kipnes Lantern – the largest transparent LED installation in North America – daily from 6 a.m. to midnight from March 16 until March 21. 



 Andrea Ruttan

Communications Strategist, National Creation Fund,

Stratège en communication, Fonds national de création

613-947-7000 ext. 396

Mobile 343-998-4244


Kéum Roling

Senior Officer Communications & Public Diplomacy



Join our email list for the latest updates!