Classical icons in Amsterdam's Concertgebouw
Undoubtedly, the most famous concert hall in Amsterdam is the Royal Concertgebouw, opened in 1888 at the Museumplein. Depending on who you speak to you, this classical concert space is typically named in the top five concert halls in the world. There are three main performance spaces within the building: the iconic Main Hall seats almost 2,000 people and is renowned for its spectacular acoustics; the Recital Hall seats 437 people and is a perfect space for small ensembles and soloists; while the Choir Hall is a recent addition, seating 150 people. The world's top orchestras and conductors have all stopped by this Amsterdam institution at some point, but the venue doesn't rely solely on international stars. One of the most spectacular sights and sounds is when its own Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra takes to the stage – be they playing a Mahler or Bruckner epic or premièring new contemporary music. No matter the season, there's a lot to experience in the Concertgebouw: the holiday season brings a proliferation of seasonal music and performances of the Christmas Oratorio; leading up to Easter it's all about the Passion concerts; while in summer the programming is handed over to the Robeco SummerNights team to present a varied look at classical, jazz and pop music. The lesson to learn is that whether you're steeped in the history of classical music or visiting your first classical concert, you'll feel at home in the Royal Concertgebouw.
Modern music in a future-proof venue
Opened in 2005, Amsterdam's Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ still looks as futuristic as the day it opened, its glass façade reflecting the River IJ and the continually-developing environment around this concert hall. The key programming mantra of the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ has been to showcase contemporary classical music, providing a home base for forward-thinking ensembles like Asko|Schönberg and unleashing new works by Dutch and international composers. Of course, since opening, the programming has evolved and alongside modern music you'll find 15th and 16th century epics, bouts of Bach and Beethoven, and even dashes of dance music – wherever the walls between minimalism and electronica start to get fuzzy. The performance space itself is incredibly impressive, providing flexible accommodation for everything from quartets to staged operettas, as well as multi-purpose settings for a variety of music festivals.
Embracing classical music in historical churches
Amsterdam is home to a lot of churches and many of these venues regularly host classical music. Popular spots include the Noorderkerk (in the Jordaan), the Vondelkerk (neighbouring the Vondelpark), the Amstelkerk (on the Amstelveld) and De Duif (Prinsengracht). Big and small concerts fill these venues every week, from intimate recitals to 100+ choir singers.
I amsterdam City Card benefits
Don’t forget that with the I amsterdam City Card, you can benefit from a 25% discount on last minute tickets for the Royal Concertgebouw, performances at the Dutch National Opera & Ballet and selected concerts at the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ.