Coronavirus-proof concerts: 1.300 people in Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome

Coronavirus-proof concerts: 1.300 people in Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome

Last month it was announced that the first of a number of coronavirus-proof trial events would be taking place in the Netherlands in February. As 500 people get ready to attend a business conference in Utrecht on February 15, it has now been revealed that two of the eight events - concerts in the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam - will have 1.300 people in attendance. 

Coronavirus-proof trial concerts in the Netherlands

The dates of the concerts and who will be performing are yet to be revealed, but the venue will be completely transformed in order to accommodate such a large audience while still ensuring the safety of all those in attendance. 

The audience will be split into six bubbles: 

  • 250 people in one grandstand (everyone remains seated for the whole concert)
  • 250 people in another grandstand (people can get up and dance but must stay by their assigned seats)
  • A VIP area in the third grandstand with 50 people (people can move around freely)
  • 250 people in one section of the stalls (standing in fixed places in circles)
  • 250 people in another section of the stalls (three people per square metre)
  • 250 people in the last section of the stalls (with slightly more space to move)

The seating will be arranged in different ways in each section. For example, in one grandstand, audience members will be seated using the checkerboard system, in another, people from the same household will be seated together.

People will be able to move freely to go to the toilet or get a drink throughout the concerts, and their movements will be recorded via a chip all audience members will be asked to carry. Cameras will register how many people each audience member comes into contact with, and how this number differs in the various bubbles. Everyone will also be tested for COVID-19 in advance of the concerts to ensure they don’t become superspreader events. 

How will these trial events help?

Alongside these two concerts, Fieldlab Events is hosting six other events, including two football matches and a cabaret show in Utrecht. Organisers are hopeful that these trial events will allow scientists from Radboud University Medical Centre in Nijmegen and TU Delft to determine the risk of contamination at large events in comparison with mundane activities, like going to the supermarket. 

Pieter Lubberts, director of events company Backbone International, explains how this information could be useful: “Suppose a certain pilot shows that there are too many contact moments amongst the toilet group. Then at least you know that and you can do something about it... Ultimately we want to come up with a series of measures, tailor-made for every type of event, that replace the 1,5-metre rule responsibly and safely. Because with the 1,5-metre rule, we as an event industry cannot survive in the end.”

Fieldlab hopes to have the first results of the research as early as three weeks after all events have taken place, and could allow for some coronavirus-proof events to be held in April 2021. The organisers also hope that this research could prove useful in preparing the events industry for the future and any other potential pandemic.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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