Dutch PM: No concerts before September

Dutch PM: No concerts before September


norman lebrecht

April 21, 2020

The Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte updated the nation tonight on coming out of Covid restrictions.

He said primary schools will reopen after May 11, along with daycare centres for younger children. Parents should take kids to school by bike, avoiding public transport. There may also be some other relaxation of Covid rules.

But there will be no mass gatherings – including football and concerts – before September 1 at the earliest.



  • Pedro says:

    It would be a good sign for everybody if the Concertgebouw could open on October 11 for the Beethoven 5 piano concertos by Zimerman. I have a ticket for this.

  • John Borstlap says:

    It is an enormous gap in concert life and a disaster for the orchestras. Since, in Holland, culture is mostly considered a superfluous luxury, one can imagine what their future will be. The importance of keeping classical music alive will be at the very bottom of any priority list. And many people, especially politicians, will see the epidemic as the long-awaited excuse to get rid of it once and for all.

    For people who think this is a too negative assumption, I would like to refer to the first deed the State Secretary of Culture committed, a couple of years ago, after he was installed after an election round: cancel the entire classical music body of the national radio: orchestras, studios, technique, library, audio data (including important historical recordings), everything. National public protests kept the cuts to more of less the half, which was bad enough. This was a man especially installed to take care of the national cultural institutions. The reason of such incomprehensible mentality of a European country government is that culture in Holland is not part of its self-understanding, its national identity, as the arts are in Germany and France (where culture now gets large injections from the governments).

  • I don t think the Concertgebouw will do any new concert in 2020. Maybe there will be a miracle for the traditional christmas aftenoon concert. But I have big doubts.

    • MezzoLover says:

      There is no concert hall in the world in which I want to be back more desperately than the Concertgebouw.

      I have been there only a few times, the last being for the 2016 Christmas afternoon concert (J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, under Trevor Pinnock). Maybe it’s the design of the hall, or maybe it’s the unassuming way audience members interacted with each other when I was there, but to me the place just felt warm and welcoming – and utterly unpretentious. (And I haven’t even factored in the fabulous acoustics!)

      Lately I have been binge-watching free RCO concert videos on the Concertgebouw website, but there is simply no substitute for being there…

    • Saxon Broken says:

      It is more likely than not that concerts will be going ahead in the Autumn.

  • PH says:

    I’m not 100% sure this is what the prime minister announced. I understood no gatherings where the organisation needs an event permit. That is not the case in a concert hall. It won’t open soon, but might be earlier than September for theaters, concert halls and cinemas.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Ochestral performance practice consists of people getting together closely – both players and audience. I don’t see how this can be reinstalled safely. Rehearsels and ticket sales only for people who have tested negatively shortly before?

  • Peter San Diego says:

    Once both viral and antibody tests are widely available (and accurate!), then at least orchestras might be able to gather for rehearsals and performances safely. At that point, either restricted audiences could be allowed (with >2m separation between people), or the performances could be live-streamed or broadcast.

    When in-home tests become affordable, audience members could be required to self-test the day of a concert and provide certification of being non-infectious before being allowed admittance.

    This will still take a long time, but it might enable concerts and recitals in a safe manner sooner than via other means (like universal vaccination).