New Moves 2022

Wellspring for talent

The opening of Studio Boekman fulfils a dream of Dutch National Opera & Ballet. A small theatre has immeasurable value for a ballet and opera house: it can serve as a haven for experiments that push the boundaries, a meeting point for performers and the public, a wellspring for diverse talent and an accessible space with a level-floor stage where young and old can discover the enchantment of opera and ballet.

New Moves 2022 | Photo: Khayla Fitzpatrick

Ian Castro

Studio Boekman is new but the room itself is not. The Boekmanzaal, adjoining the entrance lobby to Dutch National Opera & Ballet, was part of the City Hall and was mainly used for receptions and meetings. After a thorough refurbishment, from autumn 2023 the room will be fully equipped for a wide range of activities. New makers will be able to showcase their work here, Dutch National Ballet’s Junior Company and Dutch National Opera Studio will make regular use of the space, and our youth productions will introduce the very young to the magic of opera and ballet.

Ian Castro (Dutch National Opera Studio) | Photo: Milagro Elstak

Voorstelling Boekman (Theater na de Dam)

We will work with artistic and community partners to build bridges between the traditions of opera and ballet and a wide variety of art forms and cultures. We will also use this intimate space to put on work that is still in the process of development, with open rehearsals, masterclasses and lessons open to the public. The club evenings and late-night programmes also mean Amsterdam is getting an exciting new entertainment venue in Studio Boekman.

Boekman - Theater Na de Dam | Photo: Ben van Duin

The eponym: Emanuel Boekman

We are marking the transformation of this space from a reception room to a theatre by giving it a new name. The name maintains a reference to Jewish politician and scholar Emanuel Boekman, and at the same time recognises the historical significance of the land upon which the venue is built.

As the councillor responsible for education and the arts in Amsterdam (from 1931 to 1940), Boekman sought to give all the city’s inhabitants the opportunity to enjoy the arts. Emanuel Boekman had a considerable influence on the arts policies that came into effect in post-war Netherlands but he did not live to see the impact of his work. When German troops occupied the Netherlands in 1940, he and his wife chose suicide to escape the threat of the nazi regime.

The reference to Boekman is therefore also an acknowledgement by Dutch National Opera & Ballet of the Jewish heritage of the site on which our theatre is built: up until the Second World War, this district was home to a lively Jewish community.


Founding partners and donors

The refurbishment of Studio Boekman was made possible thanks to contributions from founding partners VandenEnde Foundation, Stichting Pieter Houbolt Fund, Drs. Cor van Zadelhoff Fund, the Province of Noord-Holland, Snippe Projecten B.V., Zadelhoff Cultural Fund, Hartwig Foundation, Don Quixote Foundation, private individuals, crowdfunding participants, funds, sponsors and other donors who wish to remain anonymous.

Bovenaanzicht voormalige Joodse buurt rond het Waterlooplein
Photo: Amsterdam City Archives
Top view of the former Jewish quarter around Waterlooplein