Bimhuis celebrates 40th anniversary with year of festivities in Amsterdam

Bimhuis celebrates 40th anniversary with year of festivities in Amsterdam


Have you heard? Legendary Amsterdam music hall the Bimhuis is turning the big 4-0 this year!

In honour of this milestone, they have arranged a season long celebration featuring a mix of jazz, improvised and world music performances alongside special exhibitions, CD releases, lectures and more!

The legacy of Bimhuis in Amsterdam

Beginning in a former furniture store on Amsterdam’s Oudeschans, the Bimhuis was founded in 1974 by the Beroepsvereniging voor Improviserende Musici (BIM) [Professional Association for Improvising Musicians].

Departing from the more prevalent traditional styles of instrumentation and composition, the Bimhuis quickly became an incubator for talented jazz and improvisational musicians.

As creativity flourished so did the prestige of the Bimhuis, eventually becoming the preferred venue for prominent performers whose ranks included Archie Shepp, Cecil Taylor and Sun Ra.

Just as today, the presence of big names didn’t hamper the venue’s creed that students, amateurs and apprentice orchestras should be programmed alongside the stars, thereby solidifying their status as a vital platform in the Dutch creative scene.

After a series of renovations in 1984, the building expanded to include a recording studio and radio station with talent coming from all over the world to play and record. With audiences quickly growing and the city of Amsterdam looking to revive the IJ waterfront, the Bimhuis was ripe for a location change and moved to its present building in 2005.

Colloquially known as the "black box," the Bimhuis continues to build its legacy by hosting an astounding 300 concerts per year that encompass jazz, improvisation, world and more experimental acts from the musical avant-garde.

Anniversary celebrations at Bimhuis

Celebrating both what has been and what’s to come, the Bimhuis has organised a yearlong anniversary with all sorts of surprises, special performances and convivial events for audiences to enjoy.

Kick-off weekend Bimhuis | October 1-5

The party begins with a special kick-off weekend for a taste of what’s in store for the rest of the season.

From October 1-5, the Bimhuis will be the focus of the Amsterdam cultural scene with five nights of concerts that include appearances by Kaja Draksler & the Taksim Trio, Peter Evans Quintet, the David Kweksilber Big Band and the Wayne Horvitz European Orchestra.

Even at 40, the Bimhuis shows they still know how to have a good time with cocktails and after parties rounding out the evenings at the beautiful waterside café.

City Links: an international platform

The season opening doesn’t stop with the kick-off weekend, but rather continues in a more international manner when the focus shifts to the Bimhuis’ burgeoning City Links platform.

Encouraging musicians to connect has always been important to the Bimhuis and City Links is only the most recent manifestation of this tenant.

The programme will make its debut on October 9 and 10 when Amsterdam-London takes centre stage under the guidance of curator Evan Parker.

amsterdam bimhuis 40 year anniversary

With solo interpretations of Parker’s compositions by electro specialist Joel Ryan starting the evenings, audiences will be treated to progressive pieces by John Russel, Michael Vatcher and Richard Barret.

As the season advances, so will the City Links platform with nights featuring artists from diverse metropolises including Berlin, Oslo and Chicago visiting the Dutch capital.

Jazz, impro & world music on stage

Amidst all the other activities going on, Bimhuis has still managed to assemble an impressive programme of performances throughout the year.

Be on the lookout for local talent while browsing the seemingly endless line-ups of international jazz and impro acts punctuated with larger events and festivals that include:

The Cello Biënnale | Oct 17-25
London Jazz Festival | Nov 19
Amsterdam Klezmer Band | Jan 2
The Flamenco Biënnale | Jan 16-Feb 3
Het BrokkenBal | March 11
The World Minimal Music Festival | April 8-12

Along with jazz and improvisational acts, Bimhuis will also be offering audiences the chance to see some of the very best in world music, with the first half of the season [October to December] including:

Roda De Samba e Forrozada | Brazilian forró 
Chano & Josele | Flamenco jazz fusion
Toumani & Sidiki | Kora from west Africa
Kasse Mady Diabaté | Melodies from Mali 
Riccardo Tesi/Banditaliana | Jazz from Tuscany
Ny Malagasy Orkestra | Sounds of Madagascar

Bimhuis extras around Amsterdam 

Turning 40 means Bimhuis will be reaching out and popping up at various places away from their home on the IJ. With just too many acts to be contained at the concert hall, the anniversary celebration will spill over to the likes of the Oorsprong Curator Series, Felix &Foam, the Harlem Jazz and More Festival and the neighbouring Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ.

Turning 40 also means taking a look back. For Bimhuis, this includes reviving the Bimhuislabel to release a series of special CDs based on hours of digging through their extensive archive.

Complementing the auditory aspect will be various exhibitions at the OBA, Engelbewaarder and De Kring about the illustrious history and effect the Bimhuis has had on the Dutch musical landscape.

If this wasn’t enough, the innovative year continues with a lecture series, a compiled discography and screenings pertaining to all things jazz in the Netherlands.

Sip a specially brewed BimBier while catching one of the many performances as the Bimhuis welcomes you to help them celebrate four successful decades all season long!


Benjamin Garstka


Benjamin Garstka

Raised in Massachusetts. University years in New York City. Graduate school in Utrecht. Amsterdammer by choice. Cultuurliefhebber. Urbanist. Affinity for sarcasm, craft beers, art criticism, stand-up comedy and the Dutch...

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