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Dutch National Opera (Amsterdam)

Dutch National Opera & Ballet creates, produces and presents both traditional and innovative opera and ballet productions of the highest quality. As one of the largest cultural organisations in the Netherlands, Dutch National Opera & Ballet brings all aspects of the ballet and opera world’s artistry, technique and craftsmanship together in its own specialised workshops and rehearsal rooms.

It is a young theatre with a long history. The plans for building a new theatre ran parallel to the plans for a new city hall. The first discussions held by the Amsterdam city council about building a new city hall and opera house go back to 1915. At that time, the plans were specifically for an opera house, since ballet was a relatively unknown art form back then.

Following several previous drafts, engineer Bijvoet (associated with Holt architects from 1948) was commissioned in 1956 to design an opera house. In 1961, he had to ‘move’ the design to the Ferdinand Bolstraat. Despite the city council’s approval of the plans in 1967, the project had reached an impasse at the end of the 1970s, until in 1979 the architect Holzbauer proposed that the city hall and opera house could be combined in one complex. The Council took up this idea and put it to the government of the day. The response was positive and so it was decided to pursue the idea further. It had already been agreed that the Dutch National Ballet would also be one of the resident companies of the new theatre, alongside De Nederlandse Opera. The City Council approved the design in 1980, and this was soon followed by approval from the Provincial Executive for Noord-Holland and the Crown in 1981.

The Amsterdam Music Theatre was officially opened on 23 September 1986.

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