On December 17 and 18 us geeks all flocked to the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht. The weekend before Christmas hosted the Dutch Xmas Con. I have to say, it wasn’t the biggest con of the year, but most definitely the cosiest!
After you pass the ticket booth you walk into a magical winter wonderland straight from a Dr. Seuss’ book. The organisers made sure that everyone got in the Christmas spirit by recreating Whoville, and all the Whos that matter were there. The mayor and lets not forget the Grinch were present, I even spotted little Cindy Lou Who running around the huge Christmas tree. Yup, there was no mistake this wasn’t the regular Dutch Comic Con held in March nope this was the Christmas edition!
While it is still somewhat difficult to get big names to a Dutch comic convention, the people from Dutch Comic Con always seem to get a least a handful of international special guests that are worth while. During the Christmas edition it was no exception, on both Saturday & Sunday they had special guests that portrayed pretty significant roles in your favourite TV shows and movies. There was Jason Isaacs who I know (and hate) as the Slyhterin Lucios Malfoy from Harry Potter, Sibel Kekilli who’s Shae in the Game of Thrones (why did she betray the little Lion?), The lord commander of the Knight’s Watch; James Cosmo, Steven Williams (Supernatural, X-files), Samantha Ferris (Supernatural , Battlestar Galactica V) and, Lee Arenberg (Once Upon A Time, Pirates of the Caribbean). They were available for photos and autographs as well as an Q&A on the main stage.
What I personally find disappointing at Comic Conventions, is the lack of comic book artists. The same at Dutch Xmas Con, slim to none comic book artists. What I did find enjoyable was the fact that my fave child book author was there, Paul van Loon. I used to gobble up his scary stories when I was a kid.
Merchandise, Merchandise, Merchandise & …. more Merchandise
No conference full of nerds & geeks is complete, without stuff the can buy. Stuff to buy there was plenty. I would say half of the con was filled with merchandise stands.
Ranging from comic books, from well known bookstores in the Netherlands, like the American Book Centre and AKO to the niche and specialist comic book stores such as Henk Comics in Amsterdam.
There were loads and loads of clothes. Ranging from high fantasy t-shirts & clothing, to accessories and clothes for your cosplay, to Pokémon Trainer badges ,and wigs (pink, purple, blue or ‘regular’ blond). Let’s not forget t-shirts from your favourite franchise be it; Star Wars, Marvel, Attack on Titan, Dragon Ball Z or Nintendo, it was all there. Me personally, when at a con I go and check the stand of Dirtees, they always have good deals and awesome shirts.
If you are not the wearables type of geek there were loads of other miscellaneous goods. Various swords and daggers from your favourite world; Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings and even Final Fantasy. Classic boardgames with a twist. How ’bout Harry Potter Clue or Zelda Monopoly? There was stand filled with stuffed animals, as well as a shop that only had Totoro everything. If that’s not exactly what you were looking for you could also get a LootChest and surprised at the goodies in the box!
When you say con, you say cosplay
Cosplay’s been getting more and more followers in the Netherlands. The quality of the costumes at cons is also getting better. There were some pretty amazing ones at Dutch Xmas con. I saw some Overwatch characters that looked liked they stepped out of the video game, top notch costumes!! Each con I visit I do a little game, it’s called; How many Harley Quins can you find at the con? In the Jaarbeurs I counted at least 32 and then I gave up counting. That is my only gripe: come on girls, There has got to be another comic book character you can come up with!? Why always Harley Quin? I know with suicide squad in the theatre this year it is a pretty easy costume to create. Wear some hotpants, mess up your make-up, get a bat and tadaaa you’re good to go. I would like to see less Harley Quin and more creativity next comic convention.
Games & Dates
Adding video games to your con, is a thing that you see more often at conventions. Which … I like. Being an allround geek, having everything I like under one roof makes me a happy camper. Xmas Con, had a little area set aside for a videogame tournament and some retro arcade cabinets. They games played at the tournament were: FIFA 17 and Hearthstone. Two games I don’t play, but it was pretty busy. Arcade Cabinets however I did truly ENJOY!! There were time crisis type games with light guns, Japanese Rhythm Games and Dance Dance Revolution …. YAY!
For the nerd & geeks that didn’t want to be lonely this Christmas there were speed dating session during the whole con. If you didn’t get lucky during the speed dates, Dr. Love was also in the house for some love advice.
Until Next Time
If I recall correctly there are maybe 3 or 4 organisations in the Netherlands that organise most of the comic conventions here. I must say out of all of the comic con here – for the size of our country there are a LOT – , the one I most look forward to each year is Dutch Comic Con. After visiting Dutch Xmas Con. I am adding that one to my list as well. Until next year, have a merry Christmas!