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International Music Resources by Country: Netherlands

International Music Resources offers an array of online and physical resources both freely available and/or offered by the George F. DeVine Music Library. The information included in these guides may serve as a starting point for the study and research of

Panoramic photo of a windmill in the Netherlands

Citation (1)

Map of the Netherlands

Netherlands map

Citation (2)

Garland Encyclopedia of World Music-Netherlands

Garland Encyclopedia of World Music Cover Art


Listen to Dutch Music!

Early Music from the Netherlands Album Art

A Musical Anthology of the Northern Netherlands Album Art

Living Folksongs and Dance-Tunes from the Netherlands Album Art

Flag of the Netherlands

Netherlands flag

Capital: Amsterdam

Official Language: Dutch

Population: 17,544,480

Area: 41,540

Climate: The climate is temperate: the average temperature in January is 3.3°C (38°F), while the average in July is 18.1°C (65°F).

Citation (3)

Opera in the Netherlands

Opera in the Netherlands

The present Kingdom of the Netherlands (familiarly but imprecisely called ‘Holland’) has existed as such since 1830; the region was formerly known as the United Provinces. For social and religious reasons, the country was slow to develop an operatic tradition, in spite of the fact that Amsterdam was an important commercial centre, with a strong music publishing industry which handled much Italian music.  An active figure in the late 18th century was Bartholomeus Ruloffs, composer, translator and arranger of many operas, especially from the French opéra comique repertory. 

While only sporadic attempts were made to establish Dutch opera in the early 19th century, one example being Johannes Bernardus van Bree’s Saffo (1834), there was keen interest in the latest German developments, and Tannhäuser was seen in Amsterdam before it reached Paris or London. The troupe at the Amsterdam Stadsschouwburg under J. E. de Vries undertook tours throughout the country. After World War I the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam played a significant role in operatic life, especially in Wagner productions.  The Zuid-Nederlandse Opera was active in the southern provinces until 1971. The company, of which Pierre Audi was appointed artistic director in 1988, is not only the focal point of the nation’s operatic life but also attracts considerable international attention for the quality of its productions. 

Citation (4)

Composer Highlight: Willem Pijper

Dutch composer Willem Pijper at the piano

Willem Pijper


He was, with Vermeulen, the most important composer in the Netherlands in the first half of the 20th century; his teaching and writing also made a significant impact. He grew up in a working-class Calvinist milieu in a village outside Utrecht. Already studying the organ, he left school in 1911 to enroll in the Utrecht Toonkunst Muziekschool, where he studied composition with Johan Wagenaar and the piano with Helena van Lunteren-Hansen. 

A radical new compositional style, confirmed in 1920 with Heer Halewijn and the Septet, made Pipjer leader of the Dutch musical avant garde. He represented the Netherlands at the founding of the ISCM in Salzburg, 1922; soon after, backed by Sem Dresden, he established the Dutch ISCM section. In 1923 he met the playwright Balthazar Verhagen, and new co-productions of Greek dramas resulted, beginning with De bacchanten. Following an earlier, unsuccessful attempt, Pipjer in 1930 became head of the Rotterdam Conservatory, a position he held until his death. Several of his former students joined the teaching staff, and together with the local conductor, Flipse, they made Rotterdam a centre for contemporary music. In 1932, supported by his wife, he moved to a luxurious house in Wassenaar, and two years later, following the triumphant Amsterdam première of the opera Halewijn, he was knighted.

Citation: Ryker, H.  Pijper, Willem. Grove Music Online. Retrieved 16 Feb. 2022, from


(1): "The Pano Dutch Landscape" by "Alfred Grupstra"


(3): Location, Climate, Language, Religion, Flag, Capital (The Netherlands), in Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Retrieved 16 February 2022 from 

(4): Davidson, M.  Netherlands, The. Grove Music Online. Retrieved 16 Feb. 2022, from