Dutch News

7 April 2014
Boom in Dutch performances Bach’s Passions

The Dutch are crazy about the Passions composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. In around two weeks’ time hundreds of performances of the Matthäus and Johannes Passion will take place throughout the Netherlands. The number of performances increased with 12%, from 169 last year to 189 this year. The busiest passion days are Palm Sunday (April 13) and Good Friday (April 18).

The boom of performances of Bach’s Passions in the period of Easter is a typical Dutch phenomena. In other European states the Matthäus Passion is also executed, but only a few times throughout the year. In the Netherlands the Passions seem to be superior to other repertoire.


The tradition started at the end of the 10th Century everywhere in Europe with the establishment of Bach associations. In 1922 the Matthäus Passion was executed for the first time in the church of Naarden. Now this has grown into one of the society event in the Netherlands. Last year also the first pink Johannes Passion was executed by the Amsterdam Gay and Lesbian choir.


A music specialist thinks that the enthusiasm for Bachs Passions is coming from the protestant nature of the Dutch. ‘Bach is in our soul. He is part of the dna of this country.  The executions of the Passions are a moment of religious reflection in spring. Especially because we do not go to church anymore.’


Source: De Volkskrant


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