Highlights from two years of Dutch culture for kids in the USA

Never Grow up!

27 January 2021

In 2019 and 2020, the Never Grow Up! programme presented Dutch film, literature, (music) theatre and dance for young audiences throughout the US. Remarkable work from the Netherlands wowed and delighted both children and their families, and presenters and agencies at renowned events and venues including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, the Chicago and New York International Children’s Film Festivals, the Bay Area and Brooklyn Book Festivals.

A wave of Dutch artistry was showcased in the form of live performances, film screenings and book presentations. Then, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as in-person events were no longer possible, some of the planned activities were re-worked into online presentations and virtual field trips.

Check out the video recap of this exciting multidisciplinary programme:

Besides the many activities and the long-term collaborations that sprouted from them all over the USA, the Never Grow Up! programme also inspired us to reflect. What is the international quality of Dutch youth arts? How can we stimulate and learn from the generative value of young people interacting with (each other’s) culture?

On October 18th in 2019, and in collaboration with Cinekid, The Performing Arts Fund NL, The Dutch Foundation for Literature, The Museums Association, The Netherlands Film Fund and the Dutch Association for Performing Arts (NAPK), DutchCulture organised a conference on international children’s culture with a keynote speech by IJsfontein Playful Learning director Hans Luyckx. In this article, you can read our reflection on the conference. Besides the United States, DutchCulture and partners were also involved in programmes around arts for young audiences in Turkey, Egypt and China. For example, read about the 2018 visit of Mohamed El Ghawy, director of the Hakawy International Arts Festival for Children, to the Netherlands and his exchange with the Dutch field. DutchCulture also interviewed cultural attaché Quirine van der Hoeven about the Genç Kültür programme in Turkey. For more insights to the United States and the wow-factor of Dutch youth arts there, read the interview with Anja Krans, one of the main initiators of the programme, or the review of a Dutch concert for children on a Brooklyn stage.

DutchCulture created a database analysis of the Never Grow Up! programme. You can find an overview of published translations of Dutch Children’s Literature in 2019-2020 here.

Little Fox, a book by Edward van de Vendel and Marije Tolman

Never Grow Up! is a joint effort of Dutch Performing Arts, Dutch Culture USA, Eye Film Institute, Netherlands Film Fund, Cinekid and Dutch Foundation for Literature aiming to stimulate the dissemination and visibility of Dutch arts for a young audience as well as cultural exchange and partnerships with renowned US-based presenters and organisations.

For an overview of all activities of the Never Grow Up! programme, visit