Keep it classy in Amsterdam – a selection of venues where you can feed your ears with finest classical music

Keep it classy in Amsterdam – a selection of venues where you can feed your ears with finest classical music

If you enjoy the

company of Mozart, Bach or Vivaldi in your speakers, or simply like to

experience a bit of something more ‘sophisticated’ when it comes to music, then

Amsterdam is a place which is bound to meet your demands in that scope. With

plenty of great places to go and listen to classical music of the highest

quality, you’ll be more than happy to explore the attractions offered by the

Venice of the North.


It would certainly not

be an overstatement to say that, in general, the Dutch are great music lovers.

Indeed, this close affinity to music originated way back in the past, hundreds

of years ago, when thousands of Dutch people would gather in churches or other

places every week to meet and join in for long sessions of collective choiring.

Also, Amsterdam used to gain much fame in the 17th century, being

known as the city to specialize in printing sheet music, which made it attractive

for many great composers from all Europe. As time passed, the arrival of

technological progress and the inevitable effects of globalization have changed

the way the inhabitants of the Netherlands (as well as of many other countries)

used to live, though not necessarily for worse – after all, it were the Dutch,

i.e. the world-famous Philips company, who teamed up with the Japanese (Sony)

to develop a compact disc (CD) and digital ways of recording music, changing

the music industry for good. Still, the Netherlands of today is still a place

that pays big tribute to tradition with respect to music, so sit back, relax

and enjoy a read through our hopefully helpful composition of selected notes



A great number of

world-class events makes Amsterdam strike exactly

the note you might be looking for. With over 55 concert venues

including theatres, operas and halls, the city is ready to welcome you with

virtually every type of setting to grant you the best experience of top-quality

classical music. To start with, you should definitely visit places like the grand Royal Concertgebouw (check out their website) a.k.a. Concert Hall, also known as the Philharmonics

of Amsterdam, found on Concertgebouwplein 2-6 (the area of Museumplein), which

– with its over 700 concerts a year – will treat you with something absolutely

spectacular, be it a performance by some world-famous orchestra, composer or

conductor, or an event featuring the local ‘export good’, i.e. the Royal

Concertgebouw Orchestra, known as one of the best symphonic orchestras on the

globe. As a titbit, Bernard Haitink, a renowned Dutch conductor and violinist,

once described the Concertgebouw as the best instrument in the orchestra it

houses. Once you take the time to visit this remarkable venue, a nice

complement to such experience would be a visit to the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ (Piet Heinkade 1; for more info, visit their website), where more contemporary classical artists appear.

Its futuristic look surely provides a most striking background for all the

events involving classical instruments. However, don’t be surprised to find

rock or jazz ensembles on their agenda as well – after all, this special place

is to promote many different takes on the theme of classical music. Chamber

choirs? Jazz improvisations? Rock operas? Touring orchestras? It’s all there,

waiting just for you.


Some other places to

hear classical music include Beurs van Berlage, RAI hall or Carré, though to

feel the unique magic of the music of the past it’s actually advised to attend

a chamber music event, which are available in a very special setting of real

chambers found in e.g. Uilenburger Synagoge, Noorderkerk or Waalse Kerk (the

Walloon Church), all of which offer truly fantastic seasonal programmes. The

latter also hosts some more ‘typical’ contemporary music concerts, although

it’s always best to take a look at the current programme. You can do that e.g.

here (the text is in Dutch only). Still, if you

wish to get a full package, i.e. instrumentation and vocals combines, you

should absolutely make it to a performance by the Nederlandse Opera, operating

at the

Amsterdam Music Theatre (Amstel 3; also a home to the Dutch National

Ballet) and considered one of the best opera companies in the world! It

attracts a numerous audience throughout the year, as well as big number of

famous and talented artists: vocalists, dancers, directors and many more. Words

are, in fact, too small to do this place proper justice, so it is highly

recommended to take the time and, simply, visit it.


If you wish but only

to taste what Amsterdam has got on offer when it comes to classical music,

without getting in too deep with the subject, there are, of course, a couple of

options you might wish to consider. For instance, Oude Kerk is a place which

comes not only with magnificent architectonic features, but also with permanent

organ concert series. Further, if you visit Amsterdam in the warmer part of the

year, you’ll be able to witness something really amazing – concerts on the

water, with both orchestras and the audience sailing on boats or ships; this is

how Pulitzer Concerts and Aqua Musica events have been organized – to much

delight of both active and passive participants. Also, August is the month of

the kick-off of Amsterdam’s cultural season, so for free days you’ll be able to

attend some great events with line-ups packed with top artists –

free-of-charge. And if you happen to be in Amsterdam and have a free Wednesday

afternoon, head to the Concertgebouw for a free lunch concert (starting at

12:30 p.m.); still, remember that this offer is available from September to

June only – a thing worth remembering if you come to the Venice of the North in

the second part of the year.