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Royal Concertgebouw
Koninklijk Concertgebouw
Concertgebouw in 2011
Concertgebouw is located in Amsterdam
Location in Amsterdam
General information
Status Complete
Type Concert hall
Architectural style Neoclassical
Location Museumplein
Address Concertgebouwplein 10
1071 LN Amsterdam
Town or city Amsterdam
Country The Netherlands
Current tenants Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Construction started 1883
Completed late 1886
Opening 11 April 1888
Renovated July 1985–April 1988
Cost 300,000 Dutch guilders
Owner Het Concertgebouw N.V. (privately owned)
Design and construction
Architect Adolf Leonard van Gendt
Designations Protected monument
Renovating team
Architect Pi de Bruijn
Other information
Seating type Theatre
Seating capacity 1,974 (Main Hall), 437 (Recital Hall), 150 (Choir Hall)[1]

The Royal Concertgebouw (Dutch: Koninklijk Concertgebouw, pronounced ) is a concert hall in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The Dutch term "concertgebouw" literally translates into English as "concert building". 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 on to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.[2] 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[3][4] and the Musikverein in Vienna.[5]


  • History 1
  • Organ 2
  • Names of composers in the Main Hall 3
  • In popular culture 4
  • Gallery 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


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

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 piles of length twelve to thirteen metres (40 to 43 ft) were sunk into the soil.

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 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.

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.[8] Its reverberation time is 2.8 seconds without audience, 2.2 seconds with, making it ideal for the late Romantic repertoire such as Mahler. Though this characteristic makes it largely unsuited for amplified music, groups such as Led Zeppelin, The Who and Pink Floyd performed there in the 1960s. It hosts not only orchestral and operatic performances, but also jazz and world 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.[8] 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. In the 1980s, the hall embarked on extensive fund-raising for renovations after the hall was found to be slowly sinking into the ground. Pi de Bruijn was the architect for the contemporary annex to the original hall.[9]

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.[10]

As of February 2014, the managing director of the Concertgebouw is Simon Reinink and the artistic director is Anneke Hogenstijn.[11]


The organ in the Main Hall of the Concertgebouw

The Flentrop. It has 60 registers on three divisions and pedal.[12]

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

In the Main Hall, the surnames of the following 46 composers are displayed on the balcony ledges and on the walls:[13]

In popular culture

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.


See also


  1. ^ a b c "Concert halls". Concertgebouw NV. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "Koninklijke status voor Het Concertgebouw". Concertgebouw NV. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  3. ^ April 11, 1888: Concertgebouw, Home of Nearly Perfect Acoustics, Opens
  4. ^ R.W. Apple, Jr., Apple's America (North Point Press, 2005), ISBN 0-86547-685-3.
  5. ^ Tapio Lahti and Henrik Möller. "Concert Hall Acoustics and the Computer". ARK - The Finnish Architectural Review. 
  6. ^ "Concertgebouw (rijksmonument #288)". Monumentenregister (in Dutch).  
  7. ^ Drawing of the Concertgebouw in the fields, at the Amsterdam City Archives
  8. ^ a b "Het Concertgebouw - Capaciteit Zalen" (PDF). Concertgebouw NV. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  9. ^ Paul L. Montgomery (13 April 1988). "Dutch Hail Concertgebouw's 100th". New York Times. Retrieved 12 October 2007. 
  10. ^ "Facts & Figures". Concertgebouw NV. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  11. ^ "Jaarverslag 2012" [Annual Report 2012] (PDF) (in Dutch). Concertgebouw NV. 2013-04-02. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  12. ^ Information on Organ
  13. ^ "De eregalerijen in het concertgebouw"Reader (PDF). Vrienden Concertgebouw & Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 

External links

  • Royal Concertgebouw website
  • Archive of the Concertgebouw at the Amsterdam City Archives
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