St. Patrick's Festival Amsterdam is an annual festival celebrating Irish Arts & Culture, with a special focus on music. Held in the heart of the Dutch capital in The Netherlands, it is the only celebration of the richness and range of Irish culture in Amsterdam. The festival celebrates not only Irish traditional music, but also Irish music and musicians from other genres such as classical, pop, jazz and world, collaborating to present unique programs with Irish music as the inspiration. Spoken word, cuisine, dance, film and animation have also been featured in the programme for this Festival which first took place in 2014. The Festival is for all the family, which also includes Irish dancing and music workshops for children, film, sport and tastes of Ireland.
Audiences also learn about the impact of Irish music on great European composers such as Beethoven and Chopin, through talks and performances. In the informal setting of the venue, Splendor Amsterdam with a cosy bar/cafe and multiple performance spaces, audiences of all nationalities and all ages can easily connect in a fun and friendly atmosphere with a definite Irish feel!
On March 16th 2014, the Splendor music centre 'went green' for the first time and welcomed an Irish, Dutch and international audience of all ages to join a community celebrating Ireland’s culture. This was the first edition of an Irish cultural celebration of this kind in Amsterdam. Since then support has come from, among others, the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts with additional assistance from Culture Ireland, the Embassy of Ireland in The Netherlands, Bord Bia, Aer Lingus, The River Lee Hotel Cork and the Ballymaloe Cookery School.
Come and join the next edition on 15, 16 & 17 March 2019 and see the great line-up for the 2019 programme!
Photo by Marco Borgreve
Cork-born oboist Aisling Casey, Principal Oboe of The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, had been living in Amsterdam for 19 years and saw each year go by in Amsterdam with no celebration of Ireland's rich culture on St. Patrick's Day.
Instead of letting yet another year go by, she decided to do something about it, and together with fellow Irish redhead Deirdre Daly, organised this unique and high calibre event in the heart of Amsterdam. Together as Stichting DeeAispora (The DeeAispora Foundation) they are committed to sharing the rich cultural heritage of Ireland in Amsterdam and connecting Dutch and International audiences of all ages, primarily through the medium of music.
Music is an essential part of Irish identity and one of its greatest exports. As a member of the Irish diaspora and a part of Ireland’s musical export, Aisling wants to promote the richness and impact of Irish Culture through music in a very special location in the heart of Amsterdam. This special location is the prize-winning music centre Splendor, and in 2018 also De Uilenburger Sjoel closeby. Aisling is one of the 50 top musicians based in Amsterdam who helped transform Splendor from a dilapidated bathhouse into a beautiful, multi-purpose, intimate performance venue, which opened its doors in September 2013.
Photo by Annelies Scheepens
Dublin-born designer & photographer Deirdre Daly has been based in Amsterdam since 2006. Deirdre has known Aisling since their days together in the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland and by co-incidence also made Amsterdam her home years later. Deirdre is the Dee of the DeeAispora Foundation and was in full agreement with Aisling’s vision to make the most of a missed opportunity to showcase the best of Irish culture. The challenge to create a Festival telling the story of a modern, forward looking Ireland in a European setting, which invites it’s audiences to participate, enjoy and be involved, was an opportunity to embrace.
With a background enabling design and strategy in multinationals and large organisations such as the BBC, IBM and Elsevier as well as smaller start-ups, and as a member of Splendor Amsterdam, Deirdre knows just how powerful good collaborations can be across genres, sectors and cultures. She believes that the most interesting, innovative and valuable ideas and initiatives can be found in these (unexpected) intersections. And they can have an extraordinary power to connect people with each other and with new insights and ideas. And when that’s all done in a great, fun atmosphere it works so much better. The last 5 years of St. Patrick's Amsterdam have proven that!
Watch Aisling and Deirdre explain in their own words what the Festival is, the motivation and vision for creating this unique Festival of Irish culture in The Netherlands
Videos by You're Just Zealous