The Concert Hall - 125 years at the top

Miscellaneous DagAmer0221 August 23, 2016 0 0
The Concert Hall on the Van Baerlestraat in Amsterdam is not only the most precious concert hall in the Netherlands but is also internationally acclaimed as one of the main "music temples" in the world. For 125 years, there occurred the most prominent artists, musicians, ensembles and orchestras and still attract classical music concerts, jazz and world full houses. A building that also sometimes in the spotlight may come to be.

Former concert halls in Amsterdam

Amsterdam had the typical market town for centuries not paid much attention to her musical life. Unlike other major European cities such as Paris, London, Vienna and Berlin, Amsterdam had no beautiful and above all acoustically well-designed room. Felix Meritis was admittedly beautiful but too small, the Palace of Industry, in 1929, destroyed by fire, was a clumsy building also an abominable acoustics. Then also the Park Hall, the plantation would be torn down, crossed a number of influential Amsterdam in 1881 the heads them together, to build a real concert hall.


The committee is in contact with Pierre Cuypers, the architect of the Rijksmuseum, built just in that period. A piece of land is purchased near the museum, just outside the city, in the middle of pastures Newer Amstel. When in 1892 the limited company was founded are the shares for 1000, - sold individually and on July 8 of that year, the establishment is a fact. The site is not huge and the budget is f 300 000 - and the wish is that you can fit about 2,000 people in a greeting room. With that data Adolf van Gendt design the new concert hall, at the end of 1886 is ready.
Problems are still with the accessibility, because the building is still in the middle of a pasture, with a ditch next to it, so roads should be constructed so that the building can finally be inaugurated on April 11, 1888. The festive concert took place with an orchestra of 120 musicians, a choir of 500 singers, and there were work performed by Wagner, Handel, Bach and Beethoven. The Concertgebouw Orchestra was later established on November 3, 1888 and gave her first performance.

The renovation

Over the years, the building maintenance insufficiently taken up until in 1983 it was determined that the building was very bad shape. The building was sagging, partly because the foundations were rotten. Renovation plans are made, sought funding and in the summer of 1985 one begins with the overall renovation that would last until 1988. In that period, the concerts are just gone.
Noteworthy was the addition of a new wing on the south side of the building, leaving the original exterior was changed. This extension was necessary due to the increasing activities of the office and a fitting reception of guests. Was the architect Pi de Bruijn.
After this major renovation, the building was still subjected several times to facelifts, such as in 1992 when the facade was once thoroughly cleaned of the gray scale. Around 1995 there were sufficient funds uncle again including the inside address, so all the halls again can be seen in its full glory.

 The halls

The Great Hall has 2037 seats, is 44 meters high and has two staircases leading to two high-altitude doors. The acoustics is particularly suitable for late romantic works such as Mahler and is less suitable for amplified music, as is common in pop music. The hall is used for a wide variety of models, ranging from piano recitals to symphonic concerts, pop concerts, jazz and world music.
A smaller oval-shaped hall, the Small Hall, is located behind the main hall has 478 seats, both in the room and on the balcony. This room is ideal for chamber music and lieder recitals and is also used for master classes with audiences.
Then there is the Mirror Room, located behind the wardrobe; it is regularly used for programs, such as the Sunday morning concert, and also for receptions and other official occasions. The choir room is located downstairs and is mainly used for intimate jazz concerts.

Concerts and concert series

Today hosts the Concertgebouw some 900 concerts a year, where more than 800,000 visitors come to. This makes it the most visited concert venue in the world, with the possible exception of the Parco della Musica in Rome. Some concert series have been for years, sometimes for decades very popular, such as:
  • The Sunday Morning Concert, with the support Spiegelzaal
  • Jazz at the Concertgebouw
  • Saturday Matinee
  • Master Pianists
  • Robeco Summer
  • Free Lunch Concerts
  • Romantic Solo Concert
  • Carte Blanche

Only part of the concerts will be organized in-house. Several concert organizations use the halls like Amsterdam Chamber Foundation, International Holland Music Sessions and Foundation Rudder. The rooms will be rented out to organizations for one-off concerts by amateur groups or artists that do not exist in their own programming, such as the pianist Wibi Soerjadi which gives in-house its traditional Christmas concert every year.
Since 2006, Mr. Simon Reinink director of the Concertgebouw. Originally a lawyer, he was director of publishing company PCM. He also studied musicology and was active in several foundations in the cultural field.