Breaking: Netherlands shuts down music for a month

Breaking: Netherlands shuts down music for a month


norman lebrecht

October 14, 2020

The Dutch Government has ordered concert halls and opera houses to shut for the next four weeks in a bid to stem soaring Covid numbers.

The Concertgebouw says: Yesterday the Dutch government announced stricter measures as a result of an increase in coronavirus cases in the country. No more than 30 people may now gather indoors. Much to our regret, we have thus decided to cancel all concerts up to and including 5 November. Ticket holders have been informed by email. Time and time again, the coronavirus measures have had an enormous impact on the Concertgebouworkest. We can well imagine that you as a listener are also very disappointed. It is precisely in times like these that music can be a source of comfort and support. That is why we also look forward to informing you in the coming period about the ways in which you can continue to listen to our music. And we hope to be able to perform for you again in person very soon.

Rotterdam Philharmonic: Following the new measures taken by the central government to prevent further spread of the Covid-19 virus, we had to decide that our Red sofa concert of Thursday 15 October cannot take place. We hope to welcome you again in good health in the future at concerts of our orchestra.

Dutch National Opera: Due to the stricter measures that were announced in the press conference last night, we unfortunately have to cancel all performances in our main auditorium until November 11th. We are still looking at the possibilities for OFFspring and Goud!, because these performances have a maximum capacity of 30 visitors. UPDATE: We are very happy that the Kriebel family performance, despite the tightened corona measures, can still continue! This show can take place completely within the guidelines of the RIVM and there are still tickets available for tomorrow’s show.




  • I hope that the RCO will continue the online concerts to us on YouTube with or without public it gives hope during this difficult Time

  • Earl Grey says:

    The lights are going out in concert halls and opera houses all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.

  • John Borstlap says:

    The problem in the Netherlands is that the government and the advisory organ: the RIVM, have failed to pick-up available international scientific information about airborn transmission, and stubbornly focussed upon only distance and face masks, both measures which don’t stop the micro droplets. Now the country is damaging itself enormously with measures which are not in proportion and won’t stop airborn transmission. Concrete proof of airborn transmission in care homes has been shuffled under the carpet, to prevent embarrassment of the RIVM.

    Why are the Dutch so stupid, failing to look abroad? It is the result of a deeply-rooted collective characteristic: in any discussion, about any subject, it is not the subject which takes priority, or the reality of the matter, or any possible solution of a problem, but the person who presents his/her opinion. Everything is personal and everybody disagrees with everybody else and the ‘sport’ is to see who will ‘win’. Indeed, very juvenile behavior. By disagreeing with anything, Dutch people feel confirmed in their freedom, and this is entirely unrelated to fact, reality, or even danger, as is clearly proven in these days when many old and sick people are dying unnecessary because the official advisory body of the government finds it more important to save face and to stick with its initial opinion of March, that airborn transmission is not important.

    • Jonathon says:

      Could you give an example of a country that has prioritised measures to combat airborn transmission above distancing and face masks?

      • John Borstlap says:

        In Japan they knew already about the airborn transmission begin April:

        Gradually this information was picked-up by other countries, as in the US, and in Germany where measures and advice give priority to airborn transmission and much effort is being done to make public buildings corona proof in terms of ventilation.

        It is already known since the fifties that influenza transmission is airborn, as is the meazles, so: also corona goes that way. Distancing and masks also help but not in relation to the micro droplets which remain in the air a long time if the space is not ventilated. Outdoors there is hardly any danger since the micro droplets are dispersed by the air and wind. There, some distancing and/or masks for the macro droplets are sufficient. The mass spread events are gatherings in closed spaces without good ventilation.

        • Dander says:

          Measles is spelt without the Z John please!
          Japanese have quite different social customs, they do not chat loudly to each other on buses, underground, their genetics is also different from Europeans. They like to keep their distance. One reason why infection is less.

          • John Borstlap says:

            I know, it is difficult to understand that video. Try again…

          • John Borstlap says:

            Here in Dorset where the estate is, the meazles are done with a Z. It’s a local tradition to have visitors pronounce them as to find-out whether they are coming from afar.


        • Doc Martin says:

          You need to listen to John Campbell about seroprevalence of asymptomatic cases in Japan. Their genetic make up differs from US/EU populations.

    • Suzanne says:

      Dear John,
      Could it be that with your description of the Dutch psyche above you have offered all of us readers on slipped disc a road map to understanding your attitude and the opinions you often express here?!

      • John Borstlap says:

        I don’t think so since culturally and professionally I have no ties with the country. But I have lived there long enough to see what’s going-on. And that is not my singular opinion, every expat living for some years in Holland will confirm the typical mentality of the country.

      • Le Křenek du jour says:

        Thank you, Suzanne.
        The psychogram thesis is both plausible and probable.

    • Darrell says:

      These words certainly surprise me. Seen from the outside, the Netherlands and the Dutch always give the impression of being smart and efficient, in fact the Netherlands is a country that stands out in all kinds of relevant metrics to measure the development of a country.

      Compare what is happening there with what is happening in southern Europe (Spain, Italy and others), in these places the nonsense of what is happening is remarkable, but predictable given the impulsive, irrational and agitated nature of these southern countries.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Yes, but in Holland that efficiency is very often a mere façade. Behind it, there is much childish amateurism and quarrelling and fruitless discussion to have everybody having a ‘say’ in everything without anybody carrying responsibility. For instance, it now is revealed that the threat to the medical system because of the corona crisis is to a great extent the result of government cuts over the last decennia, and the idiotic idea of turning hospitals into businesses, to make money. This means: staff in the lower strata – which are very important – are underpaid, and people are less and less interested in the job because of the low pay and work pressures. In Germany there is, I read in the paper today, much more space in the medical system to have many more corona patients without the regular health care getting threatened. If there is an art which is practiced to a high level in the Netherlands, it is window-dressing.

        One thing that is very good in Holland, is the relative success of multiculturalism. But integration of immigrants is only possible if they take-on this juvenile quarreling custom, which is a small price to pay considering where they come from.

    • Doc Martin says:

      You are talking rubbish again John.

      Read Nick Wilson’s monograph in BMJ on aerosol transmission, keep wearing masks! Airborne transmission is how it spreads! Wise up please.

  • Dennis says:

    Soaring testing and unreliable PCR test results, not actual “cases.” This insanity continues to ruin the world, apparently without end.

    • Doc Martin says:

      The issue with RT-PCR swab tests is that it cannot distinguish RNA fragments from samples taken from someone who has Sars-cov-2 and someone who has recovered, as it can give a false positive result from rna fragment from a previous infection.

  • Doc Martin says:

    There was a case of someone having cov-19 twice reported some months ago in Hong Kong. Now we have another case in US, reported in Lancet Infectious Diseases.

    A 25 year old had two Sars-cov-2 infections, the second being more severe requiring oxygen therapy. In each case there were genomic differences in the two strains of Sars-cov-2. This is one reason why a vaccine my not be effective.

    I see the next attempt is a trial to see if BCG boosters gives enhanced protection against sars-cov-2, no evidence as such, clutching at straws really.

  • Swinkels says:

    Such a suggestive title and totally not true. The Netherlands are not shutting down music, they prohibit shows with 30+ people.

  • Lancelot Spratt says:

    Current data from ECDC on Netherlands

    Sum of Cases: 195,933
    Sum of Deaths: 6654
    14 day cumulative number cov-19 cases/100,000 435.2
    14 day cumulative number of cov-19 deaths/100,000 1.5

    The figure for 14 day cumulative number cov-19 cases/100,000 is much greater than UK

  • Marco van de Klundert says:

    Norman, to spoil the party a bit with a slight nuance: the Dutch government did not shut down halls. It were the managements of the halls themselves who decided to (quite understandably) shut down, after the government ruled that theaters and concert halls may seat only 30 visitors the coming four weeks, and need to shut down their bars and restaurants.

  • Clarinet says:

    This is totally not true. Some concerts halls have decided to close, that being their own decision. They have not been forced to. All of our concerts are going ahead as planned. Max 30 people in the audience with repeat performances. Today’s concert offerings…