Now in its 22nd year, the Grachtenfestival returns to the lively city waterways, canals and many other somewhat unusual venues around Amsterdam, transforming the most unlikely spots into stages for the spine-tingling sounds of classical music.
Classical music on the Amsterdam canals
Loved by Amsterdammers and visitors alike, the Grachtenfestival is arguably one of the city's most animated moments each August. The beautiful canals fill with boats and barges and audiences can listen to classical music from dry land or they can go out on the water! Grachtenfestival concerts also take to the stage on the IJ waterfront and in concert halls and museums.
Each year, the stimulating mix of young talents and established artists in the Grachtenfestival programme, from classical to jazz, shows up as a rousing musical celebration. Concerts can be anything from previews of the upcoming classical season, favourites from previous years and, of course, renditions of compositions by renowned composers and even popular artists.
Always striving to reach a wider demographic, the Junior Grachtenfestival strand includes productions that are suitable for young culture vultures, with the perfect classical music picks to spark the interest of a younger crowd.
Prinsengracht concert: a free event in Amsterdam
One of the most romantic, breathtaking, stirring moments of the Grachtenfestival is the Prinsengracht Concert. And it's free! Taking place this year on August 17 at 8pm, the Prinsengracht concert sees the portion of the canal outside of the Hotel Pulitzer built up into a beautiful podium. This is always the annual highlight of the festival and it’s broadcast on national television.
Prinsengracht concert timetable
The Prinsengracht concert timetable is as follows:
- 4pm: Children's Prinsengracht concert
- 8pm: Prinsengracht concert support acts
- 9.20pm: Prinsengracht concert main programme
- 10.30pm: Concert finishes
As the orchestra plays, boats gather around the area in front of the stage while audience members take their places on the bridges in the surrounding area and even inside canal houses, looking out the windows, for one of the most picturesque free concerts in the world.
Don't miss the Grachtenfestival
Some events are free and for others, you can access them with tickets. Buy your tickets on the Grachtenfestival website so you don't miss out on the outstanding music on the famous waterways of Amsterdam!
Image credit: Ronald Knapp