Yes, there is popcorn at Dutch movie theatres. In fact, the snack bar looks almost like the ones in  American theatres. One big difference is that they sell drop here—black licorice. Drop in many shapes and sizes. But the main thing that Dutch and American theatres have in common is the cost of snacks. Here, you can make a down payment on a houseboat OR you can get a bucket of popcorn.

And now a few words about Dutch films. There is a film industry here and it seems to be doing pretty well. The Netherlands hosts at least three big film festivals and there are many smaller ones that garner a lot of attention. The Dutch have long been known for their documentaries, and yet they have been making more feature films that have attracted large audiences.

In this past year, 15 Dutch films went gold—which means that they each sold over 100,000 tickets. 5 films went platinum which means they sold over 400,000 tickets. And 2 films were diamonds—they each sold more than one million tickets. Now those numbers may not be huge by American standards, but for a country with almost 17 million residents, that is not too shabby. Thirty million tickets were sold last year, the highest since 1978.

The Netherlands has also been proud of having some films win Academy Awards:

2 Oscars for documentary short subject

2 Oscars for animated short subject

3 Oscars for foreign language (The Assault, Antonia’s Line, and Character)

There are a few films that I can recommend that are currently on dvd and available in the United States, England and I have no idea where else. I really enjoyed all of these films. The first two are World War II stories and the third takes place in 1953.

The Black Book  2006

Winter in Wartime  2008

The Storm  2009

The entry for the upcoming Academy Awards for foreign language film is Sonny Boy and I don’t know when that will be out on dvd. This is an excellent film and a great choice to represent The Netherlands.

I also want to share my good fortune in having access to the BBC and their wonderful programming. Many of the television films are shown in America on PBS and I am hopeful that all of these will be shown or have been shown in America. It also means that they will be on dvd.

Great Expectations: expect greatness and you will not be disappointed

Endeavour: it is 1965 and a young policeman is just beginning his career. His name is Morse… before he became Inspector Morse.

Young James Herriot: this is a three hour drama that I hope becomes a regular series. We see Herriot at the start of his education as a vet in Scotland and it is very well done.

Downton Abbey: what can I say about this terrific series? Season two is simply wonderful. The good news is that they just showed a special two hour episode on Christmas night. So for those of you watching season two in America, just know there is an extra episode coming. And they will start filming season three in February.

State of Play: a six hour series set in modern London with politics, journalism and murder…don’t ever think that the British can only do historical drama. This brilliant series has more twists and turns than the streets of Amsterdam. This series was made in 2003 and is on dvd.  This is a winner.

Titanic: from Julian Fellowes (creator of Downton Abbey) and the question is will a Crawley relative show up on this ship? I have not seen this because it will be shown around the world in April and that means we will all be watching it together.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood: this is just airing this week in England and I have not seen it, but it should be coming to you soon.

Just Henry: this was a novel by Michelle Magorian (Good night Mr. Tom) and is a good family drama set in post WWII.

There you have it, a mix of Dutch and British films that I have really enjoyed and I hope that you will too. Pop the popcorn, get a bag of drop (ugh!) put your feet up and enjoy!

Recommended reading:  OKAY FOR NOW by Gary D. Schmidt. So many books for young adults are made into films, but this is a book that does not have vampires and is not science fiction. It is a follow up to the wonderful THE WEDNESDAY WARS and both books will be enjoyed by adults. Schmidt is a terrific writer and I really encourage you to read these two books. A friend sent me a copy of OKAY FOR NOW as it is not available here, but if you are lucky enough to find these books, grab them and read them.

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  • Aledys Ver  On January 11, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Yes, I read yesterday that the number of tickets sold last year was the highest since the late 70s, I think. It’s a great thing, considering that these days we can have our own cinema at home. The Dutch seem to love going to the cinema and that is a great thing!

    BBC and their wonderful programming: let’s keep our fingers crossed that we can continue to enjoy such wonderful shows as the ones you mention here, because I’ve read that this year, due to the crisis, they’ll be axing some of the good regular shows and they’ll also be reducing the number and cost of productions.
    I enjoyed State of Play very much. Have you seen the Sherlock series? The 2nd one is airing these days, I think they have just one more episode coming. It’s a modern Sherlock – the actors are just excellent.
    Another favourite show produced by the BBC that I recommend is Life on Mars. Don’t let the scifi description put you off – it is a police series about a present day detective that, after an accident, wakes up in a police department in 1973.
    If they are indeed cutting down on their new productions, we might get to see this series again on the BBC soon.

  • Alison  On January 11, 2012 at 11:46 am

    I’ve been meaning to check out State of Play. Thanks for the reminder! I also second the recommendation for Sherlock. Three episodes aired last year, and two more have aired the past two weeks with the last one airing this Sunday. It’s one of my favorite programmes these days, and just wish there were more episodes!

  • Karen  On January 11, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    We are lucky enough to get BBC so we watched State of Play and are looking forward to the last episode next week.
    Hi Jane!!! Sounds like you are thriving in the Netherlands. Happy New Year to you and your family!!!

  • Loree Griffin Burns  On January 11, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Downton Abbey is my new guilty pleasure, Jane. I watched season one online recently, and I’m hooked. A friend described it this way: a soap opera with gorgeous clothes. Seems about right.

    I adored OKAY FOR NOW. Adored it. I’m wondering if it will get a Newbery nod this month.


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