Sign up for IQ Index
The latest industry news to your inbox.
Click the interactive map below to explore 60+ market reports
An online directory of 530+ arenas is here
The year after the busiest year ever is always going to be a tricky one to rationalise, but the abiding feeling in the Netherlands is of positivity: that the postponements are dealt with now; that the energy crisis has abated somewhat; that the future can, hopefully, once again begin in earnest.
“In 2022, we had over 140 events, a large part of which were concerts that had been postponed due to the Coronapandemic,” says Danny Damman, director of commercial affairs at Amsterdam’s 17,000-capacity Ziggo Dome, the largest concert hall in the Netherlands.
“140 events in nine months – it was a hefty challenge. 2023 is the first normal year after the pandemic period, and we are well on target despite having a particularly high number of cancellations this year, such as Justin Bieber and Celine Dion.”
“140 events in nine months – it was a hefty challenge.
Whenever there is European touring traffic, the Netherlands is inevitably going to get its share of it, given its proximity to most of the other key European markets.
“We are seeing two types of concerts doing particularly well,” says Damman. “The new-generation artists such as SZA, Lizzo, and Dua Lipa; and on the other side, the established artists like Depeche Mode and the Arctic Monkeys. The new phenomenon is concerts of tribute bands, of which we have four sell-outs already this year.”
The biggest project at the Ziggo Dome in 2023 is the replacement of the venue’s external LED façade – the largest LED screen in Europe – in the interests of better all-weather visibility and sharper resolution, assisted by new daylight LEDs, which adapt to the amount of ambient light, making the lights themselves more durable. “A monstrous job,” says Damman. “The positive effect will be better visibility for a longer period of time, resulting in greater reach.”
“The positive effect will be better visibility for a longer period of time, resulting in greater reach.”
Among a raft of sustainability goals, the Ziggo Dome has also installed 90 solar panels, refined its cup-return system and, via better data collection, introduced new ways of nudging fans to travel in a more climate-neutral way.
Over in Rotterdam, the Ahoy has undergone a total renovation in recent years, as well as the introduction of a new mid-size arena, the 7,842-cap RTM Stage, at the end of 2020. “We now have an arena, event halls, a convention centre, and this mid-size arena, all under one roof,” director Jolanda Jansen recently said. “This gives us many opportunities to hold different types of events, such as indoor festivals with multiple stages, theatre shows, and comedy.”
“This gives us many opportunities to hold different types of events, such as indoor festivals with multiple stages, theatre shows, and comedy.”
The main 16,426-cap arena at the Ahoy, now 52 years old, has a busy year in store, with Cirque du Soleil’s OVO, Drag RaceHolland host Fred Van Leer’sFred & Friends, and the North Sea Jazz Festival all coming up. Tenacious D and Hans Zimmer are among the events that have recently taken place in the same room, while the RTM Stage now anticipates Rauw Alejandro, and others.
Amsterdam’s AFAS Live – once the Heineken Music Hall –whose Black Box main room can contain up to 6,000, welcomes 600,000 visitors a year to Johan Cruijff Boulevard in the south-east of the city. On the schedule for summer and autumn 2023 at the Live Nation-operated venue are Hozier, Bi-2, Joji and UK comedian Jimmy Carr, with Pantera, Jack Johnson, Angèle, Rosalía, and Avril Lavigne among the visitors already this year.