What You See is an arts festival about gender and identity. Here you can see work by artists that can hardly be seen in the Netherlands, uniquely composed programs, unexpected pop-up performances, free exhibitions and more. But What You See Festival is above all an invitation to come together, to meet others, to examine your own assumptions and prejudices. Together with artists and the public, we create a joint quest for a more inclusive society. 


Our story

What You See arose from the need to contribute to an inclusive and gender-diverse society. Vincent Wijlhuizen and Ieme Soes initially planned to organize a big party to celebrate the diversity of the LGBTQIA+ community. This plan quickly developed into a festival and Annette van Zwoll joined. The three of them set up crowdfunding, talked to Theater Kikker, who generously offered their theater, and made their first plans. In 2018 the first What You See Festival was a fact.

People consist of a multicoloured, layered identity, of which gender is an important element. Nobody wants to be reduced to one characteristic of that identity, but at the same time it is a very human trait to interpret the other as quickly as possible. In this process of interpretation, the identity of another is often simplified and made one-dimensional. Art offers an excellent opportunity to explore alternatives, to show different perspectives and to question our own mechanisms.

As a catalyst, booster and forerunner, What You See Festival works towards a (gender) diverse and inclusive society. We program, initiate and (co)produce professional artistic expressions that offer unified perspectives on gender and identity and do justice to the diversity and complexity of the subject.

Equity, positive activist, questioning, connecting, transparent, respectful, accountable, unapologetic.

What You See cannot exist without the involvement and support of others. Theater Kikker is the heart of the festival, Stadsschouwburg, Het Huis Utrecht, Poppodium EKKO, Library Neude festival locations and content partners. We also work together with bookstore Savannah Bay, the Utrecht School of the Arts, Utrecht University and Theaterfestival Boulevard. 

Internationally we collaborate with Gender Bender Festival (Bologna, Italy), Orlando Festival (Bergamo, Italy), Jerk Off Festival (Paris, France) and Antwerp Queer Festival (Antwerp, Belgium).



Programming and dramaturgy

Dance dramaturge, writer and project developer in the European dance field. Co-founder who works from Berlin.

Photography credits: Tessa de Geus


Artistic and business director

Creative and managerial multi-talent who, among others, works as a director, dramaturge and trainer. Co-founder and fond of plants.

Photography credits: Karin Jonkers


Business producer

Business producer with a need for equity, love for excel, and vision on new business models.

Photography credits: shots by mikey


Marketing and publicity

Marketer with diverse experience in the field of art, education and communication. Works from curiosity, tradition and experiment.

Photo: Roeltje van de Sande Bakhuijzen

What you see is not always what you get