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Frequently asked questions

A survey was sent out after the 2018 festival. On the basis of this survey, we have compiled the most frequently asked questions: you can find the answers to these below. We also read the other comments, and we will be discussing each of these internally before the next edition of the festival. If you have a burning question and you can’t find the answer below, you can mail us at:


Our programmer visits various film festivals in the Netherlands and abroad and watches a lot of films, for example on FestivalScope (a streaming service for film professionals) and using screening links sent out by film institutes, producers, sales agents and distributors. The films are selected on the basis of their surprising and impressive aesthetic and filmic qualities, as well as on the basis of concrete criteria such as geographical origin or themes. A wide-ranging selection is made of films that are appropriate to the Northern Focus and the Noordelijk Film Festival’s other programme sections. In addition, we are constantly looking for a good balance to ensure that there is always an appropriate selection for the various target groups. For the regional programme section Noorderkroon, we select on the basis of submissions.

There are all kinds of considerations we make when placing a film in a larger or smaller cinema at a particular time of day. This depends in part on the film itself, the film’s language/subtitles and any pricing agreement with the distributor or sales agent. We want to show a large number of films, and every year we try to achieve the best possible spread of screenings over the festival days and screens. It is very difficult to work out this puzzle so that it’s perfect for everyone. But you can be sure there is always a good reason for showing a film in a smaller cinema.

The Noordelijk Film Festival programmes a unique, exceptional programme featuring many new films and films from parts of the world that are not often seen in the Netherlands. We like to stand out, both from other film festivals and from the regular programming in Dutch cinemas and (arthouse) theatres. This means we select a lot of international films that are not picked up by Dutch distributors for screening in Dutch cinemas and (arthouse) theatres – this also means that these have not been given Dutch subtitles. Around the world, a lot of good films get made that slip under the radar here in the Netherlands. We give a platform to a selection of these by bringing these films to Leeuwarden specially for the festival. This gives you as a festival visitor a unique opportunity to see films you otherwise probably wouldn’t come into contact with. This does mean that many films we show at the Noordelijk Film Festival are subtitled in English. We would love to have all these films subtitled in Dutch but we just can’t: it’s too expensive. In 2018, it was possible to have a few films subtitled and so increase the number of films on offer with Dutch subtitles. Alongside the international films we import, we fill up our programme with suitable films from Dutch distributors that do have Dutch subtitles, as well as films made in our own region.

Because the festival has chosen to specialise in and present itself as a film festival with a broad Northern European focus. The biggest programme sections (Northern Focus and Noorderkroon) consist of films from this region. This is how the festival sets itself apart from other festivals in the Netherlands, and this gives the festival its unique value.

We have chosen to focus on the North because of our own geographical location in the Netherlands and Europe. Through this focus on a broad Northern Europe, we are able to stand out from other film festivals in the Netherlands. This allows us to mainly show films that are different from what is on offer at other festivals. We want to hold on to this Northern Focus that sets us apart. But in each edition we also offer a smaller selection of films from other countries. Also, a varied programme of films from all over the world can be seen in Slieker all year round, every day of the week.

Yes, you can. We even have a whole programme dedicated to these: Noorderkroon. Noorderkroon is the platform and competition for professional, student and amateur films from makers based in Friesland, Groningen or Drenthe, or for films about this region. This programme shows both short and feature-length local films.

A number of films will usually be screened in Slieker immediately after the festival, or included in the programme later. This depends on whether the film is picked up by a Dutch distributor or not, and also on the space available in Slieker’s programming (after all, great new films are released every week). The Dutch distributor makes sure that films get seen in the cinemas and (arthouse) theatres in the Netherlands.


The festival pass was discontinued in 2014 because it no longer worked to the satisfaction of all users. One of the reasons for this is the difference in capacity of the De Harmonie and Slieker screening venues. You can buy discounted tickets with a discount pass or a multi-ticket.

The tickets for the opening evening are a little more expensive than a normal film because you get more for this ticket: a free cloakroom, snacks and a drink before the film, as well as an act.

Every year there’s a ‘swap pillar’ next to the box office in De Harmonie. Here, you can offer tickets you want to swap with other visitors.

Programme book

Usually, these are based on the texts delivered with the film by the producers or sales agents. We get these translated, shorten or edit them if we think it’s needed. They are always checked by the programmer who has seen the film. But of course it’s always a subjective view, so it can always be different from how someone else experiences the film.

Putting the programme book together is a huge job. And we can only really start once all the films have been confirmed. The deadline for booking the very latest films is 1 October. As well as collecting together all the information and images, most of the texts have to be translated and edited and then the designer has to get it all into book form. Only then, after it’s all been thoroughly checked, can it go to the printer. Actually printing the book also takes at least a week. Once they have been delivered, we then distribute the books as quickly as possible to the various festival locations.

Unfortunately it is not possible to send out programme books. But you can see the programme book in digital form on our website as soon as it is finished. This is always more than a week before the physical programme book is available.

Practical info

We are not able to publish the whole list on the monitors, but we are looking at how we can update the audience scores on the website more frequently from next edition. This didn’t go quite as it should have in 2018.

There is a secure bike park on Wilhelminaplein providing free bike parking for up to 7 days, free of charge. Check the opening times though.

There are two car parks close to the festival locations: Parkeergarage Zaailand and Parkeergarage Oldehove. Both are within walking distance of the festival.

The festival locations are just a 5 to 10 minute walk from Leeuwarden station. Or you can take bus 9, 16, 72, 154 or 612 and get out at ‘De Harmonie’. Busses 6, 72, 154 and 612 also stop at Wilhelminaplein.

During the festival, there is always a page of up-to-date changes on our website under ‘News’.


Voting slips ranked 1 to 5 are usual in the film and festival worlds. Films are usually ranked using 1 to 5 stars.

We serve a limited menu in De Harmonie so that visitors can eat quickly between films. If you want more choice, there are lots of options in other restaurants outside of De Harmonie. Each year we make special festival deals with various cafés and restaurants – information on these can be found in the programme book.

No, this is not available online.

To add to the festival atmosphere in the foyer, we work with live bands – generally only in the evenings between the last two films and sometimes at the weekend between two films in the afternoon. The volume is regularly adjusted, but there is a lower limit.

The festival would not be possible without the large group of volunteers who help us every year. The volunteers have a range of jobs: helping audiences, staffing the box office and the info desk, projecting the films, building the venues and hosting at the volunteer catering. Would you like to work at the festival as a volunteer? Then keep an eye on our website around September.