- Articles by Expatriate Employees - World Report

Amsterdam (1) / Netherlands

Strains of music through a town populated by dykes

Takanori Tanaka / Marubeni Finance Holland B.V.

 Many people may associate the Netherlands with tulips, windmills and dykes. For those who like fine arts, the country evokes the names of Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh. The Netherlands is certainly a country that has produced many gifted painters and their contribution to music is no less auspicious. Based in Amsterdam, the Concertgebouw Orchestra, founded in 1888 as the resident orchestra of the Concertgebouw, a concert hall in Amsterdam, is an orchestra of international renown from the Netherlands.

 The official name of the orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, was conferred on it by the Queen during its centenary celebrations in 1988, although the royal family does not actually own the orchestra. Indeed, it is the citizens of Amsterdam that own the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. And this is reasonable given that Amsterdam is a town of unpretentious people. The Dutch term, concertgebouw, is a common noun that literally translates into English as “concert hall.” Its meaning is very simple.

 Also, the Concertgebouw is considered one of the finest concert halls in the world. The architect of the building adopted a neoclassical style: white rims contrast beautifully with the redbrick building. On top of the well-proportioned façade stands a golden harp, the symbol of the hall. The interior of the building features the base color of bone white. An organ consisting of 2726 pipes towers above the stage. The hall has a very subdued, elegant ambience. The hall was built using a large quantity of wood, which dried out over time to attain its ideal condition. For this reason, the Concertgebouw is considered one of the world’s best halls in terms of the magnificent acoustic effects. The warmth of the wood probably contributes to the sound production of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. According to the official guidebook, it has a reverberation that lasts for 2.8 seconds, making it ideal for music from the late Romantic period, such as that by Mahler. The hall hosts many classical music concerts, and the members of the audience express their profound enjoyment of the music. Visitors to the hall do not need to feel intimidated; the Concertgebouw is a concert hall that exudes a friendly atmosphere gilded by elegance.

Marubeni Group magazine "M-SPIRIT" VOL.39 (May, 2007)

  • Mill Network at Kinderdijk-Elshout, the UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Tulip fields extending as far as the eye can see; carpeting the hillside in flowers
  • Canal houses beside a dyke
  • The exterior of the Concertgebouw
  • The main hall of the Concertgebouw

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