Friday, February 08, 2008
C is for... Concert Gebouw
I go by Het Concertgebouw, or (literally) The Concert Building, almost every time I go from here to there in Amsterdam. It's right on Museumplein (although the official address is Concertgebouwplein 2), so if you stand on the front steps and look out, you can see The Rijksmuseum, The Van Gogh Museum and The Stedelijk Museum, although the Stedelijk building is empty and is being remodeled (and the Rijksmuseum is also a bit of a mess). You can also see The American Consulate if you crane your neck a little.
I might have taken a picture of that building (C for Consulate), but the guards outside of American embassies and consulates don't really like people to take pictures. I've been yelled at more than once because it's not allowed. The American Embassy in The Hague is really ugly. It's concrete and gray, and the lawn is a mess. It's such a nice country. You'd think they could do something that would fit in better with the landscape.
I've been inside The Concertgebouw a few times in my time here. Not a lot, but a few times. They have free concerts on Wednesdays at lunch. They're usually packed with people who love free stuff. (That was a half-assed swipe at the Dutch, but who doesn't like free stuff?)
Finished in 1888, it was built in the Viennese Classic style. The inside has a lot of red curtains and carpets, as I remember, and lots of big paintings, which really makes you feel like you're in an important, historic building. (How much of a hayseed do I sound like saying that?)
It's the home of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and has two auditoriums, the large one with seating for more than 2,000 people. They have classical performances by artists from around the world. And they feature contemporary music, vocal concerts and concerts just for children. (This was snatched from that book I worked on.)
I like living in a place where you can see stuff like this all the time. And that was my C.