Cinema of the Netherlands

Cinema of the Netherlands

De Kroon film theatre in Zwolle
Number of screens 806 (2012)[1]
  Per capita 5.2 per 100,000 (2011)[2]
Main distributors Warner Bros. 27.0%
Universal Pictures International 16.6
Benelux Distributors (Bfd) 12.3%[3]
Produced feature films (2011)[4]
Fictional 55 (75.3%)
Animated -
Documentary 18 (24.7%)
Number of admissions (2012)[1]
Total 30,600,000
  Per capita 1.8 (2012)[5]
National films 4,800,000 (15.8%)
Gross box office (2012)[1]
Total €244.6 million
National films €35.9 million (14.7%)

Cinema of the Netherlands refers to the film industry based in Netherlands. Because the Dutch film industry is relatively small, and there is little or no international market for Dutch films, almost all films rely on state funding. This funding can be achieved through several sources, for instance through the Netherlands Film Fund or the public broadcast networks. In recent years the Dutch Government has established several tax shelters for private investments in Dutch films.

Box office

In 2000 the total revenue coming from box office results in the Netherlands was 128.5 million; Dutch films had a share of 5.5%, which is €7.1 million. In 2006 the total revenue was €155.9 million; Dutch films had a share of 11.5%, which is €17.4 million.[6]

The Netherlands Film Festival and the Netherlands Film Fund are the initiators of four awards recognising box office achievements in the Netherlands. The awards are intended to generate positive publicity for a film when the media attention for the film's release has stopped.[7] The Golden Film is awarded to films once they have sold 100,000 cinema tickets, the Platinum Film at 400,000 tickets, and the Diamond Film at 1,000,000 tickets. The Crystal Film is for documentary films from the Netherlands and is awarded once the film has sold 10,000 cinema tickets.

The most visited film in Dutch cinema history is Titanic, which attracted 3,405,708 visitors. Proportionately the most visited Dutch film is Turkish Delight which had 3,328,804 visitors in 1973, approximately a quarter of the entire population at the time. Titanic, by comparison, drew roughly one fifth of the population of the Netherlands in the late nineties.


The first Dutch film was the slapstick comedy Gestoorde hengelaar (1896) by M.H. Laddé.[8][9] Willy Mullens was one of the influential pioneers of Dutch cinema in the early 1900s. His slapstick comedy film The Misadventure of a French Gentleman Without Pants at the Zandvoort Beach is the oldest surviving Dutch film.

Although the Dutch film industry is relatively small, there have been several active periods in which Dutch filmmaking thrived. The first boom came during the First World War when the Netherlands was one of the neutral states. Studios like Hollandia produced an impressive cycle of feature films. A second wave followed in the 1930s, as talking pictures led to a call for Dutch-spoken films, which resulted in a boom in production: between 1934 and 1940, 37 feature films were released. To accommodate the rapid growth, the Dutch film industry looked to foreign personnel experienced with sound film technology. Mostly these were Germans who had fled their country as Hitler took power. Several renowned German directors who would go on to work in Hollywood directed films in the Netherlands in this period, most notably Douglas Sirk (Boefje, 1939).

During World War II, the private Dutch film industry came to a near halt. However, the German-led occupation government supported many small propaganda films in support of the Third Reich. The most well-known were De nieuwe tijd breekt baan (A New Order Arises, 1941), Met Duitschland tegen het Bolsjewisme (With Germany against Bolshevism, 1941) and Werkt in Duitschland (Work in Germany, 1942). After 1943, this funding came to an end, due to internal struggles within the Dutch Kultuurkamer and the lack of money of the occupational government.

Documentary school

The Documentary film of the Netherlands has long been renowned worldwide. The most prominent Dutch directors, especially those who started their careers before World War II, came from a documentary background, for instance Joris Ivens and Bert Haanstra. Since the early 1970s, however, documentary production aimed at a theatrical release has declined, perhaps due to a shift towards television documentary.

In the years directly following the war, most effort was given to the reconstruction of the country; film was not a priority. In the late 1950s the Dutch film industry professionalized. The Nederlands Film Fund (Dutch) (Dutch Film Fund) was established in 1957, the Nederlandse Filmacademie (Dutch) (Dutch Film Academy) in 1958. Documentary filmer Bert Haanstra made his first fiction film, Fanfare, in 1958. Even though the film was a big success, this success was only incidental. Dutch cinema did temporarily provide a sound of its own in this period, in the form of what is now considered to be the "Dutch documentary tradition" or "Dutch documentary school". Headed by Haanstra, who won an Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject with 1959's Glass and also won prizes in Berlin and Cannes, the movement also included Herman van der Horst, who won a Golden Bear for Best Documentary and John Fernhout, whose Sky Over Holland won a Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject in 1968.

Documentaries still play an important part in Dutch film industry. The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, held annually in November, is considered one of the largest documentary film festivals in the world. Famous documentary directors pre- and postdating the unofficial Documentary School include Joris Ivens, Johan van der Keuken and Jos de Putter. Ivens won a César Award and a Golden Lion, as well as a career achievement award at the Venice Film Festival. Jos de Putter is now head of the Documentary film department of the VPRO, one of the main Dutch public television stations.

Flourishing period

Although Haanstra continued to make internationally acclaimed documentaries, the "school" more or less faded out by the late sixties. By this time, the first generation of Dutch filmmakers who graduated from the Dutch Film Academy began to make a name for themselves. The most famous director of this era is undoubtedly Fons Rademakers, who received domestic and international critical claim with a number of films between 1959 and 1963. Rademakers learned the business from Vittorio De Sica and Jean Renoir and brought his newfound knowledge of foreign art films with him. Contemporaries include Academy-laureates Frans Weisz, Pieter Verhoeff and Frans Bromet, another documentary maker. Slowly, fiction films become more and more popular in The Netherlands.

A more lasting success for Dutch film came in the 1970s, mostly under the influence of one man: Paul Verhoeven. Verhoeven's five films of the decade - Business Is Business (Wat zien ik?, 1971), Turkish Delight (Turks Fruit, 1973), Katie Tippel (Keetje Tippel, 1975), Soldier of Orange (Soldaat van Oranje, 1977) and Spetters (1980) - were box-office hits; they are still in the top-twenty most successful Dutch films ever. Turkish Delight and Soldier of Orange were successful abroad as well and eventually led to Verhoeven's Hollywood career. In 2006 Verhoeven returned to his own language and made Black Book (Zwartboek), his first Dutch spoken film since The Fourth Man (1983).

Other successful directors from this era are Wim Verstappen and Pim de la Parra, whose movies were more commercial than those of their colleagues in the 1960s. In his book Van Fanfare tot Spetters, film historian Hans Schoots argues that the flourishing period of Dutch film lies between these two films, ending with the controversial Spetters, after which the happy era that was the seventies was over, and a more down-to-earth approach to filmmaking kicked in. Indeed, after 1980, few Dutch films managed to bring crowds of millions to the cinemas, partly due to a decline in interest, partly due to home video systems which resulted in an overall drop in cinema attendance in the Netherlands.


A decline in cinema admission set in after the 1970s. Director Dick Maas, making studio-style action-thrillers such as De Lift (1983) and Amsterdamned (1988), was about the only filmmaker having mainstream success in this period. He topped the box office charts with his dysfunctional family comedy Flodder (1986) and its sequel Flodder in Amerika (1992), the latter getting nearly one and a half million admissions, making it the most successful Dutch film since the introduction of the VCR. Some more artistic directors, such as Jos Stelling, Orlow Seunke and Alex van Warmerdam made magic realism movies. Other auteur-directors emerged during this era as well, including Theo van Gogh, Ate de Jong and more recently Cyrus Frisch. In this decade, acclaimed director Fons Rademakers won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film with 1986's The Assault.

In the mid-1990s, the Dutch government introduced tax shelters (the so-called 'CV-regeling') to encourage private investments in Dutch films. After implementation of these new rules there was a boom in production of Dutch movies. It were however not the movies made through the tax shelter, but movies aimed at a young audience, such as Costa! (2001), that won back the confidence in the commercial viability of Dutch film. Costa! is about Dutch teenagers vacationing at the Spanish coast. The success of the film spawned several copycat films (for instance Volle Maan (Full Moon Party; 2002)) and a spin-off sitcom (also called Costa!), which ran for several seasons on the public broadcasting network BNN.

After a while the formula wore down and the new commercial flavor became films with a multicultural feel. Hush Hush Baby (Shouf Shouf Habibi, 2004) and Schnitzel Paradise (Het Schnitzelparadijs, 2005) were both comedies featuring Dutch/Moroccan actors and became a commercial success. The difference with Volle Maan is that the films were also acclaimed by critics (both in the Netherlands as internationally) and both films were shown at the Berlin Film Festival.

Family movies

More consistently successful, especially at the box office, are children's novels adaptations. Modern Dutch family movies follow in the tradition of Henk van der Linden - who made 38 youth films between 1952 and 1984 - and Karst van der Meulen who made twelve of them in the seventies and eighties. 1998's Abeltje and 1999's Kruimeltje were the highest grossing domestic films of these years. Minoes (2001), Pietje Bell (2002), De Schippers van de Kameleon (2002), Pluk van de Petteflet (2004) and De Kameleon 2 (2005) achieved the same in their respective years. The Dutch children's films also got some international critical claim. For instance, Het Paard van Sinterklaas won awards at six foreign film festivals. This prompted producers to make an internationally oriented, big budget (appr. €12 million) family film, Crusade in Jeans. While a Dutch production, the film had an international cast and was shot in English.

The family oriented films' reign at the top of the domestic box office came to an end in 2006 with Paul Verhoeven's war thriller Black Book, which was the first Dutch film since Kruimeltje to get over a million admissions. Black Book was the most expensive Dutch film production of all time, with a reported budget of just under €18 million. The success was bested only one year later, with the romantic comedy Alles is Liefde.

Dutch filmmakers and actors abroad

The most successful Dutch actors in Hollywood are Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner), Jeroen Krabbé (The Fugitive), Famke Janssen (X-Men), and Carice van Houten (Game of Thrones). Filmmakers besides Paul Verhoeven who successfully began a career in Hollywood include Jan de Bont (who started as cinematographer before directing big budget action movies like Speed and Twister), screenwriter-turned-director Menno Meyjes (credits include The Color Purple and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) and producer Pieter Jan Brugge ( Glory, Consenting Adults, The Pelican Brief, Bullworth, The Insider, Miami Vice, Defiance, Love and Other Drugs. Brugge produced and directed The Clearing. After directing an English-language thriller in the Netherlands, director Roel Reiné moved to Hollywood where he became an influential director-producer of DVD Premiere films, including the Steven Seagal-vehicle Pistol Whipped (2008). Ate de Jong made a couple of low profile American films in the early nineties, and directed an episode of Miami Vice. He began a partnership with Jeroen Krabbé and Edwin de Vries, which led to three English language productions starring international actors, including Isabella Rossellini, Luke Perry and Stephen Fry.

While many other Dutch actors and actresses have tried to break through in Hollywood, few have had the success of Hauer and Krabbé. Contemporaries Monique van de Ven, Derek de Lint, Renée Soutendijk and Huub Stapel all returned to making Dutch films when their Hollywood-efforts proved disappointing. Celebrated actress Van de Ven of Turkish Delight-fame moved to the US with her then-husband Jan de Bont and appeared in a number of small American films, to no significant success, and only in supporting parts. De Lint's American résumé is more impressive, with guest appearances in various TV-shows, including NYPD Blue and The L Word, and a number of supporting roles in theatrical movies, of which the most prominent was The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988). Soutendijk scored the female lead as a cyborg in Eve of Destruction (1991) opposite Gregory Hines. Finally, Huub Stapel, star of all of Dick Maas' box office hits, had a large supporting role in a 1988 TV-movie about Anne Frank.

More recently, a domestic favorite, Antonie Kamerling, was one of the Dutch actors involved in the American independent film Five Fingers in which, ironically, American actor Ryan Phillippe plays the leading Dutch character. Kamerling also had a supporting part in Exorcist: The Beginning (as well as its alternative version). Thekla Reuten, star of Oscar-nominated Twin Sisters, has made her US-debut with Highlander: The Source and is set to appear in the DVD premiere film Fire Bay. She had a short stint as a supporting character in Sleeper Cell and made an appearance in a 2008 Lost episode, as a German spy.

Lastly, actor Yorick van Wageningen made a name for himself by appearing in Beyond Borders (2003), The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) and The New World (2005). This series was to be preceded by a supporting role in Steven Spielberg's Minority Report, but due to problems with his visa, he was unable to work on that movie. Contrary to most other Dutch actors successful in Hollywood (with the notable exception of Famke Janssen and Carice van Houten), Van Wageningen was not a major star in his own country before playing in American films, and instead is using his new status as internationally experienced film actor to get major roles in upcoming Dutch films, beginning with 2008's Oorlogswinter. Likewise, Saskia Mulder (sister to model Karen Mulder), made her debut abroad, appearing in French and English films and television series before making guest appearances in Dutch soap-operas. Her most famous film to date is Neil Marshall's The Descent. She was also a regular in the short lived Scottish sitcom The Book Group. Dutch photographer Anton Corbijn made his film debut directing the British biopic Control about Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis.

Behind the scenes, cameraman Theo van de Sande, born in Tilburg, has made an impressive CV filming big budget films, having shot films such as Cruel Intentions and Blade, after he previously had a worthy career in his native country. Lesser known Dutch individuals with international credits include Hollywood sound designer Charles Deenen; Oscar-winning director Marleen Gorris who made a number of international productions including the 1997 adaptation of Mrs Dalloway and currently works on several British productions; DJ and composer Junkie XL who wrote additional music for Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven and scored the action film DOA: Dead or Alive; Sylvia Kristel, most famous for her role as Emmanuelle in a series of softcore movies, also appeared in a large number of lesser known American (TV-)movies, of which The Nude Bomb, a feature film adaptation of the TV-series Get Smart is probably the most notable. Kristel briefly apepars as Agent 34; an established cinematographer in the alternative film scene, Curaçao-born Robby Müller has repeatedly worked with Wim Wenders, Lars von Trier and Jim Jarmusch; a director at the start of his career, Kees van Oostrum has moved to US to become a prolific cinematographer on various TV-movies and miniseries; two-time Academy Awards nominated production designer Jan Roelfs, who worked with Andrew Niccol and Oliver Stone; George Sluizer, who made an American remake of his popular culthit Spoorloos and currently works mostly on pan-European co-productions, will make a US-comeback with the Rob Schneider-comedy The Chosen One (2009); cameraman Rogier Stoffers, who shot a number of US box office hits in the 2000s, most notably Disturbia; tall man Carel Struycken, whose physique landed him the parts of Lurch in Barry Sonnenfeld's The Addams Family films and The Giant in Twin Peaks; Jany Temime was costume designer on the last three Harry Potter films, In Bruges and Children of Men; Arjen Tuiten, a special make-up effects artist working for the Stan Winston Studio, with Pan's Labyrinth as one of his prominent credits; Dutch born costume designer Elsa Zamparelli, who received an Oscar nomination for Dances with Wolves.

Acclaimed Dutch directors

Successful Dutch films

As of 24 November 2008, the top-15 most visited Dutch films since 1945 were:[10]

  1. Turks Fruit (Turkish Delight, 1973) - 3,328,804
  2. Fanfare (1958) - 2,635,178
  3. Ciske de Rat (1955) - 2,432,500
  4. Wat zien ik? (Business Is Business, 1971) - 2,358,946
  5. Blue Movie (nl) (1971) - 2,335,301
  6. Flodder (1986) - 2,313,701
  7. Achtste Groepers Huilen Niet (2012) - 1,959,000
  8. Gooische Vrouwen (2011) - 1,919,982
  9. Keetje Tippel (Katie Tippel, 1975) - 1,829,116
  10. Alleman (1963) - 1,664,645
  11. Ciske de Rat (1984) - 1,593,311
  12. Soldaat van Oranje (Soldier of Orange, 1977) - 1,547,183
  13. Flodder in Amerika (1992) - 1,493,873
  14. De Overval (The Silent Raid, 1962) - 1,474,306
  15. Alles is Liefde (Love Is All, 2007) 1,292,682
  16. Een Koninkrijk voor een Huis (A Kingdom For a House, 1949) 1,291,728

Academy Awards nominations and wins

The winning films are marked with blue in this list of Academy Award nominated films.

Year Film title Award category
1942 High Stakes in the East Documentary
1959 Glass (Glas) Documentary Short Subject
1959 The Village on the River (Dorp aan de rivier) Best Foreign Language Film
1962 Big City Blues Live Action Short Film
1962 Pan Live Action Short Film
1964 The Human Dutch (Alleman) Documentary Feature
1967 Sky over Holland Live Action Short Film
1971 Adventures in Perception Documentary Short Subject
1972 Ape and Super-Ape (Bij de beesten af) Documentary Feature
1972 This Tiny World (Deze kleine wereld) Documentary Short Subject
1973 Turkish Delight (Turks fruit) Best Foreign Language Film
1978 Oh My Darling Animated Short Film
1986 Anna & Bella Animated Short Film
1986 The Assault (De aanslag) Best Foreign Language Film
1995 Antonia's Line (Antonia) Best Foreign Language Film
1997 Character (Karakter) Best Foreign Language Film
1999 3 Misses Animated Short Film
2000 Father and Daughter Animated Short Film
2002 Hotel Paraiso (Zus & zo) Best Foreign Language Film
2003 Twin Sisters (De tweeling) Best Foreign Language Film
Source: The Official Academy Awards Database.

Film festivals

See also: List of film festivals in the Netherlands

There are three large film festivals in the Netherlands:

There are several smaller film festivals in the Netherlands, and several of them are held in Amsterdam. These festivals are either local festivals or festivals specialized in films of a specific genre (e. g. fantastic films), for/about a specific target group (e. g. films for/about deaf people), or from a specific region (e. g. Japanese films).

See also


  1. 1 2 3 "Film Facts and Figures of the Netherlands - September 2013" (PDF). The Netherlands Film Fund. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  2. "Table 8: Cinema Infrastructure - Capacity". UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  3. "Table 6: Share of Top 3 distributors (Excel)". UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  4. "Table 1: Feature Film Production - Genre/Method of Shooting". UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  5. "Country Profiles". Europa Cinemas. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  6. "Jaarboek 2007" (PDF). (in Dutch). Dutch Federation for Cinematography. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-13. External link in |work= (help)
  7. Ockhuysen, Ronald (2002-10-24). "Nederlandse film viert feest". (in Dutch). Retrieved 2007-10-13. External link in |work= (help)
  8. (Dutch) Zwijgend en verloren; De Nederlandse stomme film geïnventariseerd, NRCboeken, June 13, 1997)
  9. (Dutch) M.H. Laddé, EYE Film Institute Netherlands
  10. Schoots, Hans (2004). "Van Fanfare tot Spetters" (PDF) (in Dutch). p. 211.

External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 9/15/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.