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Royal Concert Hall
Koninklijk Concertgebouw
Concertgebouw 03.jpg
Concertgebouw is located in Amsterdam
Location in Amsterdam
General information
TypeConcert hall
Architectural styleNeoclassical
AddressConcertgebouwplein 10
1071 LN Amsterdam
Town or cityAmsterdam
Coordinates52°21′23″N 4°52′45″E / 52.3563°N 4.8791°E / 52.3563; 4.8791Coordinates: 52°21′23″N 4°52′45″E / 52.3563°N 4.8791°E / 52.3563; 4.8791
Current tenantsRoyal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Construction started1883
CompletedLate 1886
Opened11 April 1888
RenovatedJuly 1985 – April 1988
Cost300,000 Dutch guilders[citation needed]
OwnerHet Concertgebouw N.V. (privately owned)[citation needed]
Design and construction
ArchitectAdolf Leonard van Gendt [nl]
DesignationsProtected monument
Renovating team
ArchitectPi 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". Its superb acoustics place it among the finest concert halls in the world, along with Boston's Symphony Hall[2][3] and the Musikverein in Vienna.[4][5]

In celebration of the building's 125th anniversary, Queen Beatrix bestowed the royal title "Koninklijk" upon the building on 11 April 2013, as she had on the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra upon its 100th in 1988.[6]


The architect of the building was Adolf Leonard van Gendt [nl],[7] who was inspired by the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, built two years earlier (and destroyed in 1943).[citation needed]

Construction began in 1883 in a pasture that was then outside the city, in Nieuwer-Amstel, a municipality that in 1964 became Amstelveen.[8] A total of 2,186 wooden piles, twelve to thirteen metres (40 to 43 ft) long, were emplaced in the soil.[9] 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.[10]

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 from the 1950s to the present day the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra (previously the Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra) as well as the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest also provide their regular concert series in the Concertgebouw.[citation needed]

On 17 September 1969, British progressive rock band Pink Floyd performed their The Man and The Journey show at Concertgebouw.[11] The show's climax was a rendition of "Celestial Voices" (renamed "The End of the Beginning") in which keyboardist Rick Wright played the hall's organ in place of his Farfisa. The performance was released on CD as part of the band's 2016 box set, The Early Years 1965–1972 in Volume 3: 1969 Dramatis/ation.[citation needed]

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.[12]

As of February 2014, the managing director of the Concertgebouw is Simon Reinink and the artistic director is Anneke Hogenstijn.[13]


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.[14] 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.[citation needed] In the Main Hall, there is a layer of dust in several places as removing this layer would impact the acoustics as they are now. [15]

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.[14] Its more intimate space is well-suited for chamber music and Lieder. The Recital Hall has 437 seats.[1]

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. Dutch architect Pi de Bruijn designed a modern annex for a new entrance and a basement to replace cramped dressing and rehearsal space.[9]


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.[16]

New gilded lyre on the roof
I Hauptwerk C–g3
Prestant 16’
Bourdon 16’
Prestant 8’
Bourdon 8’
Flûte harmonique 8’
Violoncello 8’
Prestant 4’
Flûte octaviante 4’
Quint harm. 22/3
Quint 22/3
Octav harm. 2’
Octav 2’
Terz harm. 13/5
Mixtur IV–VI
Mixtur III–IV
Cornet V 8’
Bariton 16’
Trompet harm. 8’
Trompet 8’
Trompet 4’
II Schwellwerk C–g3
Quintadeen 16’
Flûte harm. 8’
Hohlflöte 8’
Viola di Gamba 8’
Voix Céleste 8’
Flûte octaviante 4’
Quint 22/3
Flageolet harm. 2’
Terz 13/5
Piccolo 1’
Plein-jeu harm. IV-VI
Bombarde 16’
Trompet 8’
Basson-Hobo 8’
Vox humana 8’
Trompet harm. 4’
III Schwell-Positiv C–g3
Zachtgedekt 16’
Prestant 8’
Rohrflöte 8’
Salicional 8’
Unda Maris 8’
Octav 4’
Fluit-dolce 4’
Violine 4’
Waldflöte 2’
Maarschalkje 11/3
Mixtur II–V
Trompet harm. 8’
Klarinet 8’
Pedalwerk C–g1
Gedeckt Subbas 32’
Prinzipalbass 16’
Subbass 16’
Violon 16’
Quintbass 102/3
Flöte 8’
Violoncello 8’
Corni-dolce 4’
Basson 16’
Trombone 8’
Trompet 4’
  • Couplers: II/I (also as Suboktavkoppel), III/I, III/II, I/P, II/P, III/P

Names of composers in the Main Hall[edit]

Concertgebouw at night, 2016
Main Hall (Grote Zaal) of the Concertgebouw

In the Main Hall, the surnames of the following 46 composers are displayed on the balcony ledges and on the walls:[17]

In popular culture[edit]

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.[18]

Belgian singer Kris de Bruyne [nl] mentions the Concertgebouw in his song "Amsterdam" [nl].[19]

Erroll Garner recorded the live album The Amsterdam Concert in the venue in November 1964.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Concerts". Concertgebouw NV. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  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. ^ Gerrit Petersen; Steven Ledbetter & Kimberly Alexander Shilland (26 June 1998). "National Historic Landmark Nomination: Symphony Hall" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  6. ^ "Koninklijke status voor Het Concertgebouw". Concertgebouw NV. Archived from the original on 15 June 2018. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  7. ^ "Concertgebouw (rijksmonument #288)". Monumentenregister (in Dutch). Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
  8. ^ Drawing of the Concertgebouw in the fields[permanent dead link], at the Amsterdam City Archives
  9. ^ a b Paul L. Montgomery (13 April 1988). "Dutch Hail Concertgebouw's 100th". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
  10. ^ "History of the building". Official website of the Concertgebouw. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  11. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "The End of the Beginning (A Saucerful of Secrets) ('The Journey' performed at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, 17 Sept 1969) – Pink Floyd". Pink Floyd Records. 24 March 2017. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  12. ^ "Facts & Figures". Concertgebouw NV. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  13. ^ "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.
  14. ^ a b "Het Concertgebouw – Capaciteit Zalen" (PDF). Concertgebouw NV. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 November 2013. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  15. ^ "Geheime deuren in Het Concertgebouw | Preludium – magazine voor liefhebbers van klassieke muziek". Retrieved 13 December 2021.
  16. ^ Information on Organ (PDF)
  17. ^ "Reader De eregalerijen in het concertgebouw" (PDF). Vrienden Concertgebouw & Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  18. ^ Guarisco, D.A. "Venus and Mars/Rock Show". Allmusic. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  19. ^ "Kris De Bruyne – Meisje in Het Blauw Testo Canzone". Lyrics MTV (in Italian). Viacom. 16 October 2006. Retrieved 9 April 2018.

External links[edit]