Amsterdam's Holland Festival features innovative performing artists, led by Britain's inimitable Brian Eno, who has prepared a computerised installation at the city's main museum. This summer's acclaimed festival focuses on opera, drama, music, dance and film. Mutated theatrical offerings include interpretations of biblical pieces by Stravinsky, directed by American Peter Sellars. Patti Smith and the Residents, Belgian pop groups Zita Swoon and dEUS and Japanese singer Cornelius are among the line-up.



Berlin looks back on half a century of divided and unified Germany with the German Paths 1949-1999 exhibition. Just one of a myriad events marking the 50th birthday of the Federal Republic 'Wege der Deutschen' uses thousands of everyday objects, from shoe polishing machines to school books, to illustrate seminal points in the country's history. The journey begins in the ruins of the post-war years, before passing through the Wirtschaftswunder years and the stormy 1960s to the fall of the Wall and reunificiation. The exhibition also psychoanalyses the German national character, looking into such everyday obsessions as football and travel. Tues-Sun 10am-8pm, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Niederkircherstrasse 7



The village of La Orovatava in northern Tenerife celebrates Corpus Christi with carpets of flowers. Preparations for the festival began last month when locals started to gather flowers to be used in the street pictures, which depict scenes from the Bible. Petal painters gather at 5am on the 17th to start placing the petals (sprinkled with water to stop them being whisked away by the wind) using complex "weaving" techniques handed down over the generations. The pictures bloom until 6pm, when their fate is to be trampled under the feet of the religious procession that passes through the decorated streets. The party continues with thousands of people dressed in national costume taking part in bailes de magos dances. Corpus Christi celebrations were delayed from 10 June due to elections.

17-20 JUNE


Balloon Fest 1999. Over 75 hot air balloons compete for top honours in the Mississippi state championship in Whittington Park. For those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground, there are amusement rides and fireworks.

18-20 JUNE


Every June sees the Festival de L'Epervier (Festival of the Hawk) in El Haouaria, a pretty village off the beaten track of Cap Bon. The village is the centre of falconry in Tunisia, its name supposedly derived from the Latin for eagle, aquila. Every spring the local falconers catch sparrowhawks and peregrine falcons from the wild and train them for the festival competitions, when they are set after partridge and quail. If you want to meet the falconers then go on Friday, market day; try the bar of the Hotel Epervier. And if you tire of avine carnage, you can always repair to the ancient Carthaginian quarrying caverns nearby.

19 JUNE - 11 JULY


Spoleto in Umbria is home to some of Italy's most ancient Romanesque churches and (for one month a year) several thousand international arts fanatics. The Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of Two Worlds) attracts lovers of dance, drama and music and has been taking place in Spoleto since 1958 when arts guru Giancarlo Menotti chose the town for its scenic setting and small venues. Things have changed since then and, during festival time, Spoleto's quiet rural charm is marred by crowded streets, packed hotels and general bedlam in its restaurants. World-class performances certainly make up for the madness and this year's programme includes an operatic War and Peace, a homage to Pushkin soiree and a picnic at which the Spoleto festival orchestra will perform Facade. Information (tel: 0039 0743 44700)

19-26 JUNE


If you can't pronounce Aberystwyth, then the town's International Poerty Festival and Summer School is probably not for you. But budding Dylan Thomases can take the opportunity to smooth their metre and regulate their rhyme. Courses and workshops will be chaired by Whitbread prize- winner Philip Gross, literature-activist Jo Shapcott and Selima Hill from the subversive Swansea-based Volcano theatre. Box Office (tel: 01970 623232)

If prose is more your style then head for Broadstairs in Kent (same dates) for the Dickens Festival. Mix with crinolined ladies and top-hatted men in the town that Dicken's dubbed "Our English Watering Place". The 19th- century programme offers some 60 events, including a Victorian cricket match, sea bathing, duels, melodramas, country fairs and readings. And if you dare to ask for more, there's a performance of Oliver Twist, revamped for 1999.



Hot sweaty merengue and tequila-fuelled misbehaviour - all in the name of charity - at the Amazonia Ball. The worthy causes are the Nicaraguan Hurricane Disaster Fund and the Colombian Earthquake Disaster fund. Some suspension of disbelief may be required to transport you from Bristol, where the ball takes place, to the jungles of the Amazon basin for the night, however, guests will be aided by live South American music, bombastic tequila jelly, a casino and an enormous fireworks display. Tickets are pounds 35 per person.