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During a press conference in De Westerkerk on June 3rd 2020, plans for our first triennial “Arcadia” were presented. Arcadia is a 100-day international art and culture event from April to July 2022, in which we will focus on the strengths and challenges of rural areas such as Fryslân and start the conversation about the future of European regions. Provincial and municipal subsidies have been secured and the (Legacy) organisation will be further developed over the coming months with, among other things, a new General Manager.

Why “Arcadia”?
The term “Arcadia” has referred, since ancient times, to a poetic and harmonious paradise, rich in untouched nature, clear water, bird song and eternal summer. An ideal landscape that would have once existed at the beginning of human history.“It is a great reference for recognising and exploring the value of the region with a view to the future and to tackling the challenges that lie ahead in a new way,” says Artistic Director Sjoerd Bootsma. “What can the world learn from rural areas, including their cities? What do we learn after living a thousand years with nature? ”

Arcadia wants to answer these questions and bring them to the world stage. Because the values and challenges that play a role in Fryslân are also recognisable in other international regions. If it is up to us, Arcadia will become a European phenomenon!

What does the event involve?
Arcadia challenges artists, experienced and new makers, to present themselves with exhibitions, performances and installations, inspired by both the strength and challenges of the region, working together with visitors and the Frisian ‘mienskip’ (a Frisian word meaning community). This will create an event that will touch people and help them to reflect on important themes such as biodiversity and a social and sustainable society.

With Arcadia we want to make people, visitors and participants aware of the beauty and values of the rural area, but at the same time point out the challenges and their own responsibilities. By also looking at the past and at existing values, traditions and customs, Arcadia offers insight into routes to the future.

How are we going to do that?
The Province of Fryslân and the Municipality of Leeuwarden are important financiers of Arcadia. The programme is made in collaboration with many cultural organisations from Fryslân, the Netherlands and Europe and the marketing and communication is carried out in collaboration with Merk Fryslân and Visit Leeuwarden.

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