It was even more special than I had imagined. It was a truly spectacular show – even my husband who is not a musical theatre show kind of Dutch guy was blown away by Soldaat van Oranje. It has been sold out for five years now, and now I understand why.
The story (based on a true story) is set during the Second World War when the Netherlands was under the occupation of the Germans. Leiden students Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema and his friends realise that war changes everything. It turns life upside down and makes sure that each person is confronted with the consequences of their choices. Do you fight for your fatherland? Take the side of your occupiers? Or stick your head in the sand? Deep questions which get you thinking – what would you have done? You cannot leave this show without being deeply touched, without asking questions of yourself.
The story is gripping, particularly to this Brit whose studies at school about WW2 were through the eyes of the British and the French. Learning about the war from a Dutch perspective has fascinated me since I came to live in the Netherlands. The war was very different for the Dutch than it was for the British.
But it’s not just the story that keeps you hooked: it’s the rotating stage, the amazing props, the moments of tension interspersed with comedy, even the location is phenomenal. The theatre is in an airplane hangar on the former Valkenburg military base.
I wouldn’t hesitate to see it a second time.
If you haven’t yet seen it and your Dutch language skills are up to it, then grab yourself some tickets and treat yourself to a fantastic evening out! You won’t regret it.