||The post-punk period of 1979 to 1982 saw significant cultural transfer between elements of the Dutch, German and Anglo-American alternative music scenes. In the Netherlands, most of this cultural transfer revolved round the members of the ULTRA scene.
ULTRA stood for “ultramodern” and promoted avant garde post-punk music that used new or unconventional instruments and performance modes.
ULTRA was mainly based round weekly “ULTRA” nights at the Oktopus club in Amsterdam and the music released on the Amsterdam-based Plurex and Torso record labels; though similar scenes flourished in Den Bosch, Nijmegen and Eindhoven. ULTRA drew a great deal of its creative impulse from the art schools such as the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, and had close links to the both squatting and punk scenes then active in the Netherlands. However, ULTRA was transnational in outlook and often looked outside the Netherlands for inspiration and support. And a number of its most successful proponents, such as the Amsterdam band Minny Pops, garnered international critical acclaim.
Using Simon Frith's principles for studying popular music (alongside content from the publication most associated with the ULTRA scene and its musicians, Vinyl magazine, as well as interviews with key actors in the ULTRA scene) the paper looks to evaluate ULTRA's cultural worth; and how its Dutch origins affected the scene in the wider rubric of international popular music.