Who we are

Oerol, founded in 1982 by Joop Mulder, is an annual ten-day site-specific arts festival on Terschelling. It serves as a meeting point where diverse perspectives and generations converge, fostering connections and meaning for a broad (international) network.

The festival annually attracts approximately 50,000 visitors and provides a platform for both premieres by established groups and experimental works by young creators. With a varied program of around 25 site-specific performances, street theater, music, visual arts, storytelling, talks, and deeper discussions, Oerol offers a rich experience for artists, professionals, island residents, partners, and visitors.

Artists present works, ideas, and wild thoughts that wouldn’t find room elsewhere. For our visitors, the diversity of artistic disciplines and the accumulation of experiences are unparalleled. Simultaneously, we reach an even larger audience through extensive media coverage, reviews, and the extensive professional network that attends the international showcase festival that Oerol also represents.

foto van een oude grijze vrouw en een jonge man met knot voor het podium, die hand-in-hand met elkaar dansen met een grote lach op hun gezichten
Danser Gil the Grid tijdens een straattheatervoorstelling aan de voet van de Brandaris tijdens Oerol 2023

For the visitor, the artist, and the professional, Oerol will feel different from the many one or multi-day festivals that the Netherlands has to offer; it will feel like a journey. A journey into the unknown and sometimes the uncomfortable. A mental journey towards new insights and inspiration. And a journey through time from generation to generation.

Oerol DNA

In our organisation, the legacy of our predecessors continues to resonate. That rich, more-than forty-year history inspires us daily to use art as a catalyst for creating a better world. With the words of our founder and inspirer always in the back of our minds:

‘If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough.’ Joop Mulder


The sustainable development, presentation, and experience of site-specific art in the nature and culture of Terschelling, where the diverse perspectives of artists, partners, and audiences converge on societal issues, in a space that can only be experienced on the island.


With determination and optimism, we strive for a world where everyone counts and receives equal opportunities, and where societal growth, rather than economic growth, takes centre stage. Oerol extends beyond the artistic and ecological boundaries of the festival. Our approach to polyphonic art and sustainability is inspiring and deeply rooted in Terschelling. Oerol is an experience that you feel to your core for ten days and remains in your thoughts for 365 days.

We want to make a difference. And we can. We extend our hand to everyone open to change. Together, we explore and envision our future.

Een groep mensen met koptelefoons op dansen tijdens SLEEEP DREEEAM WAKEEE, een theatervoorstelling van Het Atelier / Lucinda Wessels tijdens Oerol 2022.

We do this based on three principles:


We stand for justice and polyphony.

Oerol aims to provide new perspectives on societal developments. This means precise programming. Activist and optimistic, with contagious enthusiasm and an outstretched hand to anyone open to change. The artists we program each year are already taking the lead in this. We take concrete steps necessary to make a wide audience feel safe and at home.

We are rooted on the island.

Oerol is Terschelling. Terschelling is space, nature, and culture in an ancient and ever-changing landscape. Oerol is not an island on Terschelling. We are rooted here and work here all year round. We are part of the community. The islanders are our visitors, colleagues, suppliers, neighbours, and an important sounding board. Local connection is of great importance to us.

We take up less space.

Oerol is located in the UNESCO World Heritage Wadden Sea area, where nature is vulnerable and unique. The Ecological Compass, introduced in 2023, is our guide to a sustainable festival future. With this, we invite our team, our suppliers, and you to explore your ecological impact and encourage each other to think about how to achieve the same or greater impact with less.