Cinema of the Netherlands  

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The documentaries of Bert Haanstra and Johan van der Keuken have known international acclaim, Paul Verhoeven made it in Hollywood, and true artistry came with Jos Stelling and Alex van Warmerdam."--Sholem Stein

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Cinema of the Netherlands refers to the film industry based in the 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.



The Dutch film industry has long been renowned for its documentaries. 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.

State funding

Because the Dutch film industry is relatively small, and there is little to 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 Dutch Film Fund or the Dutch public broadcast networks ('omroepen'). In recent years the Dutch Government has established several tax shelters for private investments in Dutch films.


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 was not the movies made through the tax shelter however, but rather 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.

Acclaimed Dutch directors

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Cinema of the Netherlands" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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