Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media



Understanding Dutch Film Culture: A Comparative Approach

Judith Thissen


Abstract: In terms of cinema attendance, the Netherlands has always differed from other European countries. During the first decade of permanent film exhibition—a crucial phase in cinema’s development as a mass medium—the movies failed to gain a firm foothold in Dutch society. After a discussion of the prevailing explanations for the low provision of cinemas in the Netherlands, this article develops a comparative analytical framework to better assess the regional dynamics at work within Dutch film culture. In particular, it looks at cinemagoing in the industrialised countryside, combining a qualitative examination of the local social and cultural infrastructure with a quantitative analysis of census data. The agro-industrial North Eastern part of Groningen and the mining district in the South of Limburg are singled out because in both regions we witness a very high density of film venues, suggesting metropolitan patterns in cinema attendance.


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