In May 2024, Basque culture celebrates the centenary of the birth of one of the most recognized local and international artists: Néstor Basterretxea. On May 6th 1924 Néstor Basterretxea Arzadun was born in Bermeo. Personally, I consider him one of the most versatile artists in the history of Basque art. He worked on painting, sculpture, illustration, design, cinema, architecture and cultural promotion.

Since the inauguration in February 2024 of the exhibition “Néstor Basterretxea. Design and architecture” at the Museum of Fine Arts of Bilbao, until well into the year 2025 there will be many activities that will honor him. The entry photo to this article is from my visit to the “Néstor Basterretxea” exhibition held in Vitoria-Gasteiz in 2021, where I had the honor of meeting his son.

The International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia celebrates 20 years since its establishment this May 17th. With the new reform carried out by the Basque Government in February of this year to the Trans Law, we Basques can celebrate this day with more rights for the trans community.

And the next day, May 18th, is International Museum Day. I also highlight two international sporting events that will take place in Basque lands this May 2024: the UEFA Women’s Champions League 2024 in Bilbao and the famous Zegama-Aitzgorri Marathon.


Enjoy Basque culture activities in Vitoria-Gasteiz and Alava

  • Carmina Burana: The Fura dels Baus. Sensory, musical and theatrical show, vital and energetic. Principal Theater. May 3rd, 4th and 5th.
  • Basterretxea exhibition in the archive. It delves into his work from a documentary perspective in his film production, and in the presentation of the artist’s digital archive, after the donation made to the museum by his family. Artium Museoa. From May 10th to September 22nd.
  • Lalo/Dvorak. Euskadiko Orkestra – Basque Country Orchestra. Clyne: This Midnight Hour, Lalo: Cello Concerto and Dvorak: Symphony No. 7. Principal Theater. May 13th.
  • Passion Vega. Lorca sound (Poets in May). Café de Chinitas al Anda Jaleo and Nana de Sevilla…also, it dares to evoke Manuel de Falla or to intertwine “El Romance Somámbulo de Federico con Ojos Verdes and more. Principal Theater. May 18th.
  • Debussy / Viloria. Euskadiko Orkestra – Basque Country Orchestra. Lazkano: Mugarri, Debussy: Nocturnes, Viloria: Oihartzun gorriak (new release) and Debussy: La Mer. Principal Theater. May 22nd.
  • Edgar and Jérémie Moreau. Chamber music concerts by these two young musical talents and brothers. Principal Theater. May 30th.
  • Beauty and forgiveness. Artists: Asier Etxeandia and Enrico Bárbaro. A confessional journey of sacred temples and praises of life, of revolution and questions, of songs as monologues and music as therapy. Principal Theater. May 31st.


Basque culture in San Sebastian and Gipuzkoa in May 2024

  • “Jesús Uriarte. Chillida lanean” exhibition. Photographic exhibition about Chillida and his work, according to his friend and collaborator Uriarte. Artegunea Hall of Kutxa Fundazioa. Tabakalera. From March 15th to June 30th.
  • “Chillida / Balenciaga – Fold the shape” exhibition. Within the framework of the centenary of Eduardo Chillida. Guipuzcoans, friends and with a common philosophical base between the sculptor of air and the couturier of space. In Chillida Leku and Cristóbal Balenciaga museum. From March 22nd to January 9th, 2025.
  • “Basterretxea in Irún (1957-1975)” exhibition. Focused on his most experimental artistic production. Menchu Gal Room of the Irun City Council. From April 19th to July 21st.
  • Idiazabal Cheese Festival. Different cheeses from the Basque Country and the European Cheese Route. Cultural activities and crafts. Cheese Interpretation Center open. Idiazabal. May 4th and 5th.
  • LIFE – Javier Aranda (Zaragoza). Two hands and the universe of a sewing basket. Family puppet show for ages 7 and up. TOPIC – Tolosa International Puppet Center. May 11th.
  • Temporary exhibition “100 years of Eduardo Chillida with the Telefónica Collection“. Collaboration with Telefonica, Fundaciontef and Chillida100 in the years of the artist’s Centennial. Chillida Leku Museum. From May 15th to October 13th.
  • Pure blood (last album). Israel Fernandez traditional, contemporary and transgressive flamenco singer. Victoria Eugenia Theater. May 16th.
  • Les Saisons (The Seasons). Malandain Ballet Biarritz. Based on an idea by Laurent Brunner, director of Château de Versailles Spectacles, and Stefan Plewniak, violinist and principal musical director of the Royal Opera of Versailles. Victoria Eugenia Theater. May 24th, 25th and 26th
  • X Zegama-Aizkorri Vertical Kilometer on May 24. XXIII Zegama-Aizkorri Marathon and XIII Zegama-Aizkorri Junior Trail. Considered the most emblematic mountain marathon in the Basque Country. Idiazabal. May 26th.


Basque culture events in Bilbao and Biscay in May 2024

  • Giovanni Anselmo: Beyond the horizon. One of the povera artists, he approaches nature to rediscover its physical and energetic potential. 40 works, including photographs, projections, drawings, sculptures, as well as works made in situ. Bilbao Guggenheim Museum. From February 9th to May 15th.
  • Signs and Objects: Pop Art from the Guggenheim Collection. In addition to historical pieces from the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the exhibition will include a selection of new work by contemporary artists exploring the legacy of pop. From February 16th to September 19th.
  • ”Néstor Basterretxea. Design and architecture” exhibition. Great sculptor and one of the innovators of Basque art of the second half of the 20th century. Bilbao Museum of Fine Arts. From February 28th to May 26th.
  • Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. Creation and production company dedicated to the development of dance in all its forms, based on classical ballet. 50 Canadian and international dancers. Arriaga Theater. May 3rd and 4th.
  • 50 years with you. Mocedades and Los Panchos. 50 years of the famous Bilbao company. Champs Elysées Theater. May 23rd.
  • ‘Flying’. A show by the dancer Sara Baras in tribute to Paco de Lucía with which she celebrates the 25 years of her company Ballet Flamenco Sara Baras. Arriaga Theater. From May 23rd to 26th.
  • Remember Queen, with Piero Venery. The best Freddie Mercury double in the world: impeccable characterization, along with his gestures, dances and staging. Champs Elysées Theater. May 24th and 25th.
  • UEFA Women’s Champions League 2024. The most important women’s football event in Europe. San Mamés Stadium. May 25th.
  • Néstor Lagun artean (Néstor among friends). Bermeo City Council activities program. May, October and November.

A good complement to your Basque culture activities in May 2024 are the private and personalized tours that you can take with me about the life and work of Néstor Basterrexea or any other Basque artist of interest to you. Contact me and we will design your own tour.

March 28, 2024