Concert attendance higher than ever

© Hollandse Hoogte / EyeEm GmbH
Classical and pop concerts at performing arts venues across the Netherlands attracted a total audience of nearly 9.7 million in 2018. This is nearly 6 percent more than in the previous year. Concert attendance has never been higher. Eighty percent was on account of pop concerts. The number of musical performances has risen as well. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of new annual figures.

Performing arts attendance (x million)
 MusicMusic theatreCabaretTheatreOther performing artsDanceLiterary
20088.224.572.732.251.750.780.01
20098.623.812.472.501.450.660.06
20107.903.572.392.591.920.760.03
20117.933.452.482.582.060.700.00
20127.592.852.122.441.480.570.01
20138.262.402.282.551.480.700.01
20148.092.432.042.271.770.740.02
20158.462.632.142.301.790.820.03
2016*8.752.832.221.981.500.760.05
2017*9.143.032.281.851.430.700.04
2018*9.653.282.381.871.120.680.06
Source: CBS, VSCD, VNPF
*Provisional figures

Dutch venues for performing arts attracted 19 million (+3 percent) visitors in 2018. A total of 53.7 thousand performances and concerts were held. This is 2 percent up on the previous year, but still 8 percent down on the record year 2008.

Concerts more popular than other performing arts combined

Of all types of performing arts, classical and pop music were the most popular genres in 2018. Over 20 thousand concerts were performed, constituting a 38 percent share in all cultural offerings.

For the first time, concert attendance (nearly 9.7 million) was higher than performance attendance in all other genres combined (slightly under 9.4 million).

Performing arts in the Netherlands (2008=100)
 Music (attendance)Music (number of concerts)Other performing arts (number of performances)Other performing arts (attendance)
200698.6596.2693.1990.67
2007102.5396.6299.6290.21
2008100.00100.00100.00100.00
2009104.95113.2994.0890.75
201096.1196.4595.9993.19
201196.4998.92102.6293.38
201292.3694.0094.4978.48
2013100.5095.5283.1078.08
201498.4994.2286.7676.74
2015102.9696.9985.9880.44
2016*106.50106.2581.1377.32
2017*111.22106.2682.9877.25
2018*117.45107.4685.0377.75
Source: CBS, VSCD, VNPF
*Provisional figures

Pop music draws largest crowds at venues

The lion’s share of concert attendance in 2018 comprised visits to pop concerts. In total, there were 15.5 thousand pop concerts which attracted altogether 7.7 million visitors. Relative to one year previously, attendance at pop concerts was up by nearly 6 percent.

The number of visitors attending the 4.8 thousand classical music concerts increased by 5 percent to more than 1.9 million.

Performing arts in the Netherlands, music, 2018 (%)
  Pop music Classical music
Concerts15.514.79
Attendance7692.051958.04
Source: CBS, VSCD, VNPF
*Provisional figures

More musical performances

In 2018, nearly 3.8 thousand performances of musicals were scheduled, over 500 (16 percent) up on the previous year. At 158 thousand visits, musical attendance rose less rapidly (+7 percent).

As a result, the average number of visitors per musical performance dropped slightly, from 735 to 674.

Fewer dance and theatre performances

In nearly all types of performing arts, both the number of shows and the number of visits increased in 2018. The number of dance and theatre performances fell by more than 4 percent. In the span of a decade, the offering of theatre performances dropped by 35 percent, from 16.9 thousand (2008) to 10.9 thousand (2018). Visitor numbers increased among all performing arts disciplines except for dance, which saw a decline of 3 percent relative to the previous year.

Theatre also became less popular over this period. In 2008, attendance stood at 2.2 million visits, versus 1.9 million last year. However, a slight increase can be seen in terms of attendance relative to 2017 (24 thousand). In 2018, an average theatre performance therefore drew 10 visitors more than in 2017 and even 39 more than in 2008.

Performing arts in the Netherlands (x 1,000)
 MusicTheatreCabaretMusic theatreOther performing artsDanceLiterary
200818.8916.868.476.884.222.790.08
200921.4016.097.505.843.723.380.43
201018.2217.267.325.644.632.460.40
201118.6818.658.265.734.852.780.05
201217.7617.377.535.064.872.230.08
201318.0414.127.854.463.792.300.15
201417.8013.177.604.635.902.390.41
201518.3213.627.504.755.162.320.44
2016*20.0711.917.544.754.792.370.52
2017*20.0711.397.845.324.982.550.54
2018*20.3010.878.056.265.242.430.55
Source: CBS, VSCD, VNPF
*Provisional figures

One-fifth of all performances and concerts take place in Amsterdam

With a high concentration of shows and visits, Amsterdam is the centre of professional performing arts: nearly one in five performances in the Netherlands are given in the capital. In 2018, 10.3 thousand performances were hosted in Amsterdam. They attracted over 5.6 million visitors, representing a 30 percent share in the country’s total. Of all pop music concerts, 39 percent took place in Amsterdam. The capital boasts several large venues, which accounted for one-quarter of all nationwide pop concert visits in 2018.