Ensure cultural participation

Making music together is a human right
Homeless people, people with severe multiple disabilities, children in disadvantaged neighborhoods, status holders and other New Dutch people, elderly people with (incipient) dementia, people in the last phase of their lives; the power of making or experiencing music together should be enjoyed by everyone as far as Embrace Netherlands is concerned. And perhaps the very people for whom it is not obvious.

Not for nothing does Embrace Netherlands state on all its communications that cultural participation is a human right. The organization is leading the way in developing programs in which professional musicians and other cultural creators collaborate with a diversity of audiences that are still too often sidelined.

Photo Johanna Andringa

Music as an instrument
The Cultural Participation Fund sees that, too. Earlier this year, it awarded the Care for Cultural Participation project a multi-year grant. In this project, Embrace brings together many of its programs. In the coming years, she plans to greatly expand the scope of her work. The goal is to work with Zorgbelang Fryslân to ensure that music is heard in many more hospitals, nursing homes, welfare facilities, shelters, hospices and homes. Not because professional musicians give concerts there, but because residents participate, however briefly.

In doing so, those residents are supported musically by the caregivers, companions, caregivers and volunteers that Embrace has trained and educated in the use of music as an “instrument. For example, to still make new memories with family members or clients in advanced stages of dementia. Unlike listening to music, making music yourself does not appeal to memory but to creativity. Embrace knows that basically everyone can tap into that creativity within themselves, and that what results from it sticks. Even if the brain is not working optimally (anymore).


Universal language
Music is a universal language. Embrace notices this for example in the performances of the ANDERS! program. These musical theater performances are created and performed by people with severe multiple disabilities. Together with professional buddies, they translate their stories into a performance that touches the audience’s heart. The performance takes place annually during the festival CityProms for a large audience. But above all, the process is perhaps even more important than the end result.

There are several projects emerging from Embrace’s programs. For example, the Borderless Music program, in which status holders and New Dutch from different countries and with backgrounds as professional musicians discover how to merge their own musical languages into a new idiom. The homeless band that Embrace created with welfare organization Wender will also get a stage this year.

The organization is targeting a new audience in addition to its existing programs. In two disadvantaged neighborhoods in Leeuwarden, she will work with Slagkracht. Here she works together with the Drumworks organization to let people (young and old) in these neighborhoods discover together what they are capable of so they can experience that they too can be heard.

Embrace drew inspiration for this program from England, where a similar project has been running for some time. There it leads not only to good music, but also to increased self-esteem and, for example, better school performance. Thus, it helps increase opportunities for young people in these neighborhoods.

Movie 1. Boundless Music with New Dutch

Movie 2. Musical theater project Different

Movie 3. Music & Dementia at Frittemahof – Patyna 3 minutes

Movie 4. Music & Dementia at The Batting – North 9 minutes