About Oerol

Vision en Mission 2021-2024

Oerol as a workplace for a livable future

Tilting perspectives

The 40th edition of Oerol will take place in 2021, making this festival one of the oldest in the Netherlands. Entire generations have grown up with Oerol and have brought their experiences and adventures on the Wadden island of Terschelling with them into their lives. Oerol means something different for each individual visitor. What is the same for everyone, however, is that when sailing out of the port of Harlingen, the 'normal' world makes way for a different world that clears one's mind, opens one's eyes and fosters adventurousness. A land of Oz where anything is possible, as long as you open yourself up to whatever comes your way.

The milestone of 40 years of Oerol is no reason for us to dwell too long on what Oerol was. Above all, we want to think together about what a festival of such unprecedented size, value and impact is and can be, now and in the future. For a broad, diverse and multicolored audience. On the island, but also more and more beyond. These are our plans with a glimpse into the future. Our future.

(The mission and vision below are a summary of Oerol's 2021-2024 Arts Plan).

Image: De Dansers / Nichon Glerum

Save the date for Oerol!

Oerol festival 2021 - June 11 to 20
Oerol festival 2022 - June 10 to 19

Vision: Oerol - tabula rasa for new ideas

The fact that Oerol takes place on Terschelling gives art an opportunity that it gets nowhere else. Why? On the island, the isolation broadens the horizon. An apparent paradox that creates a tabula rasa for new ideas. The isolation changes common thinking patterns and manners. Makers can work here from a different perspective and compete with wind, water, sand, sun and cold in the creative process. The audience and makers work together in this landscape where the elements have free rein. This solidarity makes the mind receptive to other experiences. People are more open to each other and to a large extent relate to nature. The island offers space for new ideas and encourages reflection on social changes and our common future.

Our vision is that art should be given the space to develop: literally and figuratively. In addition to showing, making is becoming an increasingly important part of Oerol. In addition, Oerol invites all (temporary) residents to deepen their knowledge and to talk to each other, to participate. Makers and the public - but also other parties that are intensively involved with Oerol, such as islanders, scientists, nature managers or social organizations - get to know each other and each other's ideas. The shared stories, motivations and ideas constructively set art and social debate in motion.

Image: Dionne Verwij and Jennifer Muntslag / Isabelle Renate la Poutré

Mission: Working constructively on a liveable world

Public, nature, art and science are the pillars of Oerol. We will build on a strong foundation in the coming years. Oerol has built up a large, permanent and constantly renewing audience that is very receptive to new insights. The festival also has a large (international) network of makers and cooperation partners. The lion's share of the program consists of new work, which has been specially developed for the festival or which will premiere at Oerol.

This solid foundation enables the festival to make a difference. Art, the landscape and the public are all crying out for it: offering new future perspectives and building a livable future. Our mission is to give substance to this urgent call.

"Man and nature and all living beings inhabit the same house. Let every resident have space and a voice in it. " Matthijs Schouten

Oerol as an actor of change

Subjects such as climate change and biodiversity are not abstract concepts on the island, but are tangible in person. Oerol therefore strengthens its role as an "actor of change" based on its social involvement. In terms of theme, the festival wants to be a reflection of society. Nature conservation, awareness, diversity, inclusiveness and social developments are therefore urgent themes. How do we as a festival contribute to a better, liveable world? How can we together ensure that future generations of people look to the future without fear? How do concepts such as respect, equality and hospitality gain meaning again? How do we live together, but above all: what do we do as a festival itself? The overarching theme: offering new future perspectives and building a liveable future.

By collaborating (internationally) with other festivals, art and social institutions, the local environment and islanders, Oerol offers makers a unique opportunity to conduct research and develop their work. Oerol challenges makers to push their boundaries with new forms and stories and thus to carry out its mission. The festival offers them the opportunity, the knowledge and the space to experiment to create new work and thereby transcend, improve and surprise the public and themselves.

Image: Third Space Minister 2

Creative partnerships

Our program team is aware of its own blind spots. That is why we are open to new insights and genres. We have been involving external parties in thinking about the future of the festival for years. People who think along about programming, inclusivity, marketing and service provision.

Sustainable maker trajectories in the location program

An important added value of Oerol consists of setting up sustainable processes with makers. This means that both Oerol and artists commit themselves for a longer period of time. Oerol offers substantive challenges and mentorship (including in the field of making on location). Makers are given the opportunity to create several new ones

to create works, to develop and improve them and to build a larger network, thanks to the many partnerships that Oerol maintains.

Wadden laboratory Oerol

In recent years, Oerol has set up the expedition route with great success. The expedition route comprises about fifteen (partly interactive) performative or visual installations that can be visited continuously from west to east for nine days (in total more than 80,000 visitors); all over the island. The very different projects all deal with content more or less explicitly about the relationship between man and nature or man and landscape or place. Artists and experts are linked together so that we give them the opportunity to ask questions in unconventional ways through cross-pollination of knowledge and expertise. An attentive encounter between art and science.

Image: Atelierroute / Nichon Glerum


The entire program shows that we, together with the makers, the public and our partners, have sustainable change as the most important theme. To make this credible

In order to give shape, the organization and together with the island will also focus on realizing the (further) minimization of our footprint. We focus on limiting the use of (production) resources, on transport, food and drink, energy and waste. Our energy needs will become fossil-free, the food sustainable and local, we are aiming for fewer kilometers (also from the public), waste is a raw material and can be recycled. Developments are moving fast and Oerol - supported by existing and new partners - will continue to lead the way, both practically and in bringing about a change in mentality.

Oerol all year round

Within all layers of the program, Oerol is active all year round and is present in the Dutch and international arts field. The festival in the summer remains the spearhead, but Oerol will also facilitate long-term residencies throughout the year as a hub for makers, scientists and encounters and make work made at Oerol more visible through partners in the arts field.

A considerable part of the theater and arts field incorporates the experiences of working on Terschelling into their daily practice. Performances and Expeditions can be seen all over the country (abroad) under the heading: "Oerol washes ashore".

In addition to the ten-day festival in June, at least two extra weekends per year are organized on the island under the name Oerol Upcoming, always opting for a current program with one theme.

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