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Royal Concert Hall
Koninklijk Concertgebouw
Concertgebouw 03.jpg
Location map Netherlands Amsterdam Central.png
Red pog.svg
Location in Amsterdam
General information
Type Concert hall
Architectural style Neoclassical
Location Museumplein
AddressConcertgebouwplein 10
1071 LN Amsterdam
Town or cityAmsterdam
Coordinates 52°21′23″N4°52′45″E / 52.3563°N 4.8791°E / 52.3563; 4.8791 Coordinates: 52°21′23″N4°52′45″E / 52.3563°N 4.8791°E / 52.3563; 4.8791
Current tenants Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Construction started1883
CompletedLate 1886
Opened11 April 1888
RenovatedJuly 1985 – April 1988
Cost300,000 Dutch guilders
OwnerHet Concertgebouw N.V. (privately owned)
Design and construction
Architect Adolf Leonard van Gendt  [ nl ]
DesignationsProtected monument
Renovating team
Architect Pi de Bruijn
Other information
Seating typeTheatre
Seating capacity1,974 (Main Hall)
437 (Recital Hall)
150 (Choir Hall) [1]

The Royal Concertgebouw (Dutch : Koninklijk Concertgebouw, pronounced [ˌkoːnɪnklək kɔnˈsɛrtxəbʌu] ) is a concert hall in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The Dutch term "concertgebouw" translates into English as "concert building". Because of its highly regarded acoustics, the Concertgebouw is considered one of the finest concert halls in the world, along with places such as Boston's Symphony Hall [2] [3] and the Musikverein in Vienna. [4]

Dutch language West Germanic language

Dutch(Nederlands ) is a West Germanic language spoken by around 23 million people as a first language and 5 million people as a second language, constituting the majority of people in the Netherlands and Belgium. It is the third most widely spoken Germanic language, after its close relatives English and German.

Amsterdam Capital city of the Netherlands and municipality

Amsterdam is the capital city and most populous municipality of the Netherlands. Its status as the capital is mandated by the Constitution of the Netherlands, although it is not the seat of the government, which is The Hague. Amsterdam has a population of 854,047 within the city proper, 1,357,675 in the urban area and 2,410,960 in the metropolitan area. The city is located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country but is not its capital, which is Haarlem. The Amsterdam metropolitan area comprises much of the northern part of the Randstad, one of the larger conurbations in Europe, which has a population of approximately 8.1 million.

Netherlands Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Europe

The Netherlands is a country located mainly in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian.


On 11 April 2013, on occasion of the building's 125th anniversary, Queen Beatrix bestowed the royal title "Koninklijk" upon the building, as she did previously (in 1988) to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. [5]

Beatrix of the Netherlands Queen of the Netherlands (1980-2013)

Beatrix is a member of the Dutch royal family who reigned as Queen of the Netherlands from 30 April 1980 until her abdication on 30 April 2013.

Koninklijk or Koninklijke is an honorary title given to certain companies and non-profit organisations in the Netherlands and to a lesser extent Belgium, by the monarchs of each country. It was first introduced by Louis Bonaparte in 1807, then King of Holland, who awarded the title to cultural associations. Companies awarded with the title may opt to use the English equivalent 'Royal' instead. It is comparable with the Royal Warrant in the UK.

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra symphony orchestra of the Netherlands, based in Amsterdam

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is a symphony orchestra in the Netherlands, based at the Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw. In 1988, Queen Beatrix conferred the "Royal" title upon the orchestra. It is considered one of the world's leading orchestras.


The Concertgebouw in 1902 Jacob Olie - Concertgebouw Amsterdam 10 november 1902.jpeg
The Concertgebouw in 1902

The architect of the building was Adolf Leonard van Gendt  [ nl ], [6] who was inspired by the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, built two years earlier (and destroyed in 1943).

Gewandhaus concert hall in Leipzig, Germany

Gewandhaus is a concert hall in Leipzig, Germany, the home of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Today's hall is the third to bear this name; like the second, it is noted for its fine acoustics.

Leipzig Place in Saxony, Germany

Leipzig is the most populous city in the federal state of Saxony, Germany. With a population of 581,980 inhabitants as of 2017, it is Germany's tenth most populous city. Leipzig is located about 160 kilometres (99 mi) southwest of Berlin at the confluence of the White Elster, Pleiße and Parthe rivers at the southern end of the North German Plain.

Construction began in 1883 in a pasture that was then outside the city, in Nieuwer-Amstel, a municipality that in 1964 became Amstelveen. [7] A total of 2,186 wooden piles, twelve to thirteen metres (40 to 43 ft) long, were emplaced in the soil. [8] The Concertgebouw was completed in late 1886, however due to the difficulties with the municipality of Nieuwer-Amstel – filling in a small canal, paving the access roads and installing street lights – the grand opening of the building was delayed. [9]

Amstelveen Municipality in North Holland, Netherlands

Amstelveen is a municipality in the province of North Holland, Netherlands with a population of 89,918 (2017). It is a suburban part of the metropolitan area of Amsterdam.

The hall opened on 11 April 1888 with an inaugural concert, in which an orchestra of 120 musicians and a chorus of 500 singers participated, performing works of Wagner, Handel, Bach, and Beethoven. The resident orchestra of the Concertgebouw is the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest), which gave its first concert in the hall on 3 November 1888, as the Concertgebouw Orchestra (Concertgebouworkest). For many decades the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest have also been regular performers in the Concertgebouw.[ citation needed ]

Richard Wagner German composer

Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor who is chiefly known for his operas. Unlike most opera composers, Wagner wrote both the libretto and the music for each of his stage works. Initially establishing his reputation as a composer of works in the romantic vein of Carl Maria von Weber and Giacomo Meyerbeer, Wagner revolutionised opera through his concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk, by which he sought to synthesise the poetic, visual, musical and dramatic arts, with music subsidiary to drama. He described this vision in a series of essays published between 1849 and 1852. Wagner realised these ideas most fully in the first half of the four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen.

George Frideric Handel 18th-century German, later British, Baroque composer

George FridericHandel was a German, later British, Baroque composer who spent the bulk of his career in London, becoming well-known for his operas, oratorios, anthems, and organ concertos. Handel received important training in Halle-upon-Saale and worked as a composer in Hamburg and Italy before settling in London in 1712; he became a naturalised British subject in 1727. He was strongly influenced both by the great composers of the Italian Baroque and by the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition.

Johann Sebastian Bach German composer

Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He is known for instrumental compositions such as the Art of Fugue, the Brandenburg Concertos, and the Goldberg Variations as well as for vocal music such as the St Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor. Since the 19th-century Bach Revival he has been generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.

The Main Hall (Grote Zaal) of the Concertgebouw Concert18.jpg
The Main Hall (Grote Zaal) of the Concertgebouw

The Main Hall (Grote Zaal) seats 1,974, [1] and is 44 metres (144 ft) long, 28 metres (92 ft) wide, and 17 metres (56 ft) high. [10] Its reverberation time is 2.8 seconds without audience, 2.2 seconds with, making it ideal for the late Romantic repertoire such as Mahler. Although this characteristic makes it largely unsuited for amplified music, groups such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and The Who did perform there in the 1960s. It hosts not only orchestral and operatic performances, but also jazz and world music.[ citation needed ]

Romantic music music of the Romantic period

Romantic music is a period of Western classical music that began in the late 18th or early 19th century. It is related to Romanticism, the Western artistic and literary movement that arose in the second half of the 18th century, and Romantic music in particular dominated the Romantic movement in Germany.

Gustav Mahler late-Romantic Austrian composer

Gustav Mahler was an Austro-Bohemian late-Romantic composer, and one of the leading conductors of his generation. As a composer he acted as a bridge between the 19th century Austro-German tradition and the modernism of the early 20th century. While in his lifetime his status as a conductor was established beyond question, his own music gained wide popularity only after periods of relative neglect which included a ban on its performance in much of Europe during the Nazi era. After 1945 his compositions were rediscovered by a new generation of listeners; Mahler then became one of the most frequently performed and recorded of all composers, a position he has sustained into the 21st century. In 2016, a BBC Music Magazine survey of 151 conductors ranked three of his symphonies in the top ten symphonies of all time.

Led Zeppelin English rock band

Led Zeppelin were an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. Along with Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, the band's heavy, guitar-driven sound has led them to be cited as one of the progenitors of heavy metal. Their style drew from a wide variety of influences, including blues, psychedelia, and folk music.

A smaller, oval-shaped venue, the Recital Hall (Kleine Zaal), is located behind the Main Hall. The Recital Hall is 20 metres (66 ft) long and 15 metres (50 ft) wide. [10] Its more intimate space is well-suited for chamber music and Lieder. The Recital Hall has 437 seats. [1]

When the Concertgebouw was built, acoustics were something of a black art. As in shipbuilding, designers drew upon what had worked in the past without entirely understanding the underlying science. When the building was completed, the acoustics were not perfect, and a lot of effort went into fine-tuning the aural ambience. During later restorations, particular care has been taken not to alter the materials used for interior decoration with this in mind.[ citation needed ]

In 1983, the Concertgebouw was found to be sinking into the damp Amsterdam earth, with several inch-wide cracks appearing in the walls, so the hall embarked on extensive fundraising for renovations. Its difficult emergency restoration started in 1985, during which the 2,186 rotting wooden pilings were replaced with concrete pillars. Pi de Bruijn, Dutch architect designed a modern annex for a new entrance and a basement to replace cramped dressing and rehearsal space. [8]

Today, some nine hundred concerts and other events per year take place in the Concertgebouw, for a public of over 700,000, making it one of the most-visited concert halls in the world. [11]

As of February 2014, the managing director of the Concertgebouw is Simon Reinink and the artistic director is Anneke Hogenstijn. [12]


The organ in the Main Hall of the Concertgebouw Orgel Concertgebouw Amsterdam.JPG
The organ in the Main Hall of the Concertgebouw

The organ was built in 1890 by the organ builder Michael Maarschalkerweerd from Utrecht, and was renovated in the years 1990 to 1993 by the organ builder Flentrop. It has 60 registers on three divisions and pedal. [13]

I Hauptwerk C–g3
Bourdon 16’
Flûte harmonique8’
Flûte octaviante4’
Quint harm.22/3
Octav harm.2’
Terz harm.13/5
Mixtur IV–VI
Mixtur III–IV
Cornet V8’
Trompet harm.8’
II Schwellwerk C–g3
Flûte harm.8’
Viola di Gamba8’
Voix Céleste8’
Flûte octaviante4’
Flageolet harm.2’
Plein-jeu harm. IV-VI
Bombarde 16’
Vox humana 8’
Trompet harm.4’
III Schwell-Positiv C–g3
Unda Maris8’
Mixtur II–V
Trompet harm.8’
Pedalwerk C–g1
Gedeckt Subbas32’

Names of composers in the Main Hall

In the Main Hall, the surnames of the following 46 composers are displayed on the balcony ledges and on the walls: [14]

The Concertgebouw is mentioned, along with Madison Square Garden, the Hollywood Bowl, and the Rainbow Theatre, in the song "Rock Show" from the 1975 Wings album Venus and Mars . [15]

Kris de Bruyne, a Belgian singer, mentions the Concertgebouw in his song "Amsterdam". [16]

Erroll Garner recorded the live Album The Amsterdam Concert in the venue in November 1964. [17]

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 "Concert halls". Concertgebouw NV. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  2. April 11, 1888: Concertgebouw, Home of Nearly Perfect Acoustics, Opens
  3. R.W. Apple, Jr., Apple's America (North Point Press, 2005), ISBN   0-86547-685-3.
  4. Tapio Lahti and Henrik Möller. "Concert Hall Acoustics and the Computer". ARK – The Finnish Architectural Review. Archived from the original on 22 March 2007.
  5. "Koninklijke status voor Het Concertgebouw". Concertgebouw NV. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  6. "Concertgebouw (rijksmonument #288)". Monumentenregister (in Dutch). Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed . Retrieved 9 February 2012.
  7. Drawing of the Concertgebouw in the fields [ permanent dead link ], at the Amsterdam City Archives
  8. 1 2 Paul L. Montgomery (13 April 1988). "Dutch Hail Concertgebouw's 100th". New York Times. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
  9. "History of the building". Official website of the Concertgebouw. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  10. 1 2 "Het Concertgebouw – Capaciteit Zalen" (PDF). Concertgebouw NV. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 November 2013. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  11. "Facts & Figures". Concertgebouw NV. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  12. "Jaarverslag 2012" [Annual Report 2012](PDF) (in Dutch). Concertgebouw NV. 2 April 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 February 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  13. Information on Organ (PDF)
  14. "Reader De eregalerijen in het concertgebouw" (PDF). Vrienden Concertgebouw & Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  15. Guarisco, D.A. "Venus and Mars/Rock Show". Allmusic . Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  16. "Kris De Bruyne – Meisje in Het Blauw Testo Canzone". Lyrics MTV (in Italian). Viacom. 16 October 2006. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  17. Errol Garner