Jonge Harten: theatre, dance and performances

One more week to go and then the party starts for the 16th year in a row. Jonge Harten!

It started out as a Dutch theatre festival for teenagers and students, but has now grown into an enormous event for all students within the developing international scene in Groningen. It showcases comedies, theatre productions, dances and artistic performances from across Europe. Esther Bulder, promotion coordinator for the festival, says: ‘The festival is very focussed on attracting international audiences.’

Esther Bulder

Esther Bulder

International students

Venues across the city, such as the Martiniplaza and Grand Theatre, are hosting internationally-themed performances. ‘International students shouldn’t be put off immersing themselves in the festival. Most of the performances do not require any knowledge of Dutch, even if a little of the language is used’, says Bulder, referring to Duet for Two Dancers by Tabea Martin and 155 by the Ill Skill Squad, ‘who appeared on Holland’s Got Talent and did really well!’



Unique culture

The festival has begun to create a ‘unique culture’, according to Bulder. This year the theme is ‘finding yourself’. For instance, Schwalbe, which is being staged on 28 and 29 November, intends to make the audience think about individualism within groups. Can you really be an individual within a society?

Charlotte Caeckaert in Demarrage (foto Koen Degroote)

Charlotte Caeckaert in Demarrage (foto Koen Degroote)

‘It’s a really interactive piece that requires international volunteers to join in the performance, as is Demarrage by Charlotte Caeckeart.’


The atmosphere in the city leading up to and during the event is perfect for ensuring a great festival. For example, there’s the Jonge Harten Pop-Up Café in the Oosterstraat that has been open every weekend since 5 October. It has hosted several live bands already and that number will only increase when the café stays open late during festival week, from 5p.m. to 1a.m..

In addition, the café hosts some ‘Lazy Noon and Movie’ events on Sundays for €5, says Bulder, which includes food and the chance to see some arthouse films.


Tickets vary in price, but are never more than €15 per person.


‘For €12.50, students can even receive VIP treatment before the performance and in some cases have the chance to meet the choreographers and directors afterwards’, Bulder says. ‘These are called notenkrakers and will be available at every performance. They are a great chance for theatre-lovers to talk to real producers at the festival.’

The Jonge Harten Festival runs from 22 to 30 November, and tickets are available online and on the door. For more information, check out the Jonge Harten website in English: