TopDutch events guide March 2024

Get out your diaries, it’s time to explore the best of TopDutch’s cultural, sporting and networking events. Whether you’re a creative or scientific type; whether you’re looking to learn something new or stimulate your senses - there’s something for everyone in the TopDutch region.

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Culture and sports

For speed and spectacle

The Silver Ball

In TopDutch – a land of canals and chilly weather – ice skating is a huge part of our culture. That means we can draw some of the most exciting skating talent into the region to participate in nail-biting races with passionate atmospheres.

This March, the world’s fastest skate show – the Silver Ball – is taking place in Leeuwarden’s Elfstedenhal. Featuring skaters from across the globe, as well as plenty of top local athletes, the main event is a 100m sprint championship. In each of the four rounds, skaters will compete against two others until the three fastest ladies or gentleman are remaining to battle it out in the finale.

During the races audiences stand right on the sidelines, meaning they can feel the ice blast past them. And alongside the speed-skating, they’re treated to a packed program of music, performances and spectacles. Get ready for a night of partying, competition, and a celebration of TopDutch culture.

Where? Elfstedenhal, Leeuwarden. When? Wednesday March 13, 18:00 – 22:30.

For the film-fanatics

International Film Festival Assen

Photo: Knelis

Ready to get whisked away into another land, and explore stories from perspectives not often seen on film? The International Film Festival Assen is back for its forty-fourth edition. Journey to a glamorous Greek all-inclusive resort and contemplate the dirtier reality of mass-tourism in ‘Animal’. Dive into a tale of queer love in 18th Century France with ‘Portrait de la jeune fille en feu’. Or reflect on life as a teenager in a warzone with ‘We Will Not Fade Away’, a documentary about five teenagers in the Ukrainian Donbas region, where the people have been living with war since 2014. The films are in their original languages, and a large number have English subtitles, meaning there’s plenty to see for expat TopDutch’ers too!

International Film Festival Assen is one of the oldest film festivals with a feminist tradition in Europe. The four-day program is full of recently released (inter)national titles, exclusive pre-releases and a careful selection of last year’s best films that match the IFA mission. In addition, there are in-depth panel talks, various introductions and Q&A’s with filmmakers and short film competitions for new Dutch and TopDutch filmmaking talent.

Where? DNK, Assen. When? 7-10 March, check out the full program here.

For the creatives

How to Conduct Life: An outside-the-box festival!


Our modern world offers so many possibilities, but it also seems increasingly complex and chaotic. How do you conduct your life in the this? Do you embrace the chaos and see it as the path to renewed order and balance? Or do you prefer to hold onto the familiar? The Northern Netherlands Orchestra are inviting you to look, feel, think and act outside the box!

In an evening program inspired by the American composer Charles Ives’ Fourth Symphony – a piece that explores searching for light in the darkness, getting lost in the mind, and embracing resistance – the festival will present talks, workshops and performances aimed at empowering freedom and creativity.

The first part of the event will discuss whether there is such a thing as organized chaos. With neuropsychiatrist Marie-José van Tol and futurist Loes Damhof, the host Lucas de Man will try to grasp our inclination towards order.

Next, Lucas will explore how we can learn to embrace the unknown. Charles Ives believed in transcendentalism, which inspired his unique composition style. Can you open yourself to his unconventional style and surrender to chaos? Neuroscientist Michiel van Elk and dancers from Alter à Go will invite you to try.

Organized in cooperation with Studium Generale, the University of Groningen and the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, there will be plenty of other musical, dance, and academic performances to spark your journey to a life outside of the box.

Where? SPOT (De Oosterpoort), Groningen. When? Wednesday March 13, 18:30 – 23:30.

Learn and connect

For the history buffs

Hondsrug Academy

Hondsrug landscape

The TopDutch region is home to the Netherlands’ only UNESCO Global Geopark: Hondsrug. The iconic natural reserve was sculpted during the Ice Age, when rivers running underneath the ice created hills and ridges in the landscape, and transported huge boulders to the area. Funnel Beaker Culture-era people in Drenthe used these boulders to construct their ‘hunebedden’ – impressive 5,000 year old megaliths that remain the oldest monuments in the country.

This spring, the Geopark is organising an exiting program of lectures, designed to take audiences – young and old – on a journey through the history of the Hondsrug landscape. Are you a history buff? Join in one of the lectures presented by various researchers; discussing topics such as the landscape’s physical geography, flora and fauna, the ‘pingo ruins’, and the so-called ‘Drenthe cowboys’. 

Or do you prefer to learn through exploring? Then pick one of the excursions, where the same experts take you through their topics by bike, wandering through the swamps, or by participating in some field research of your own.

Where? Various locations across the Hondsrug. When? Check out the program here.

For the future founders

Business Lunch Talk

Sabine Stuiver, Co-Founder / CMO Hydraloop

From a professional ballerina to CEO of a dating site, earning prestigious awards in the US, and contributing to a better world with Hydraloop—what can't this woman do?

On 7th March, TopDutch students and recent graduates can enjoy lunch and learning at NOM and Founded in Friesland’s Business Lunch Talk. This event features Sabine Stuiver, a multi-talented entrepreneur holding racing, sailing, and pilot licenses, who is the Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of the award-winning Hydraloop, revolutionizing water usage worldwide.

Beyond leading Hydraloop to successfully achieve the prestigious CES 2020 ‘Best of the Best’ award, she's recognized as one of the leaders of The Meaningful Business 100, working tirelessly to advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Oh, and fun fact: Sabine and Hydraloop made it to the big screen, featuring in a water documentary Brave Blue World on Netflix, together with many global leaders and famous activists, sharing solutions to battle the water crisis in the world.

It’s a great opportunity to learn from and connect with the leader of a global enterprise, one of the most ambitious and innovative entrepreneurs, right here in Friesland. Sign up here

Where? NHL Stenden (R10), Leeuwarden. When? Thursday 7 March, 12:00 – 13:00.

For the women and their cheerleaders

International Women’s Day Groningen


The Netherlands is among the most gender-equal societies in the world, but we don’t celebrate our wins as much as some other countries. In Groningen, two expats – from Italy and Greece – decided to bring a taste of their countries’ International Women’s Day celebrations of women’s rights and achievements to the TopDutch region.

In an evening of talks, food and networking, the Women’s Day event will celebrate women while initiating conversations, inspiration and ideas among the attendees. Speakers for the event include: Qing Gong, a coach and entrepreneur, discussing her journey of integration in the Netherlands; Esther Metting, Assistant Professor and e-Health expert on her mission to make digital healthcare accessible for all; Thrisanka Saal, a team coach and transformation expert with the talk ‘Authenticity: How I Found Mine and Strategies for Your True Self’; and Ayla Kangur, an IT Lead, giving insights from her 15+ years working in AI’.

The event is for women, from women, about women. But anyone, regardless of gender, is welcome to connect with- and learn from these leading ladies. The event is also free, as the organisers want to make it accessible for everyone, no matter their socioeconomic status – just make sure to sign up in advance!

Where? De Huiskamer, Groningen. When? Friday March 8, 17:30 – 21:30.