Usually, when we talk about visiting a country we tend to focus on what to see. The city of Amsterdam is a great place for sight-seeing too, however along with that you are also likely to hear some sounds that belong within this city. So below is a general guide on what you need to keep your ears open for while in Amsterdam.
Ding-dong of bells
Since medieval times bells were used to alert people of upcoming storms, wars and various other kinds of events. Later, huge bells were built and mounted into buildings, making them a status symbol. Amsterdam is home to many churches and also has many ancient carillons.
Barrel organs have always been popular in Amsterdam. Their history dates back to 1875, when a partially blind man, Leon Warnies started a company of his own that would rent barrel organs out. This was when the trend of using barrel organs started. People from all across the city would play the organ and crowds would gather on the streets to enjoy the music.
Although, currently there is hardly three barrel organs present in the city, they are still played twice a day at some popular spots for 10 minutes. The last Saturday of October is celebrated as the Annual Barrel Organ Festival when this organ is played throughout the day, as people enjoy the music and dance on a few beats, living the century old tradition.
Talented street performers are scattered all across the city of Amsterdam and they are a popular tourist attraction for many. Soulful singers and young bboyers put up an entertaining show with some really catchy tunes that attract people from everywhere.
Splashing of water
When visiting the city a canal boat trip is a must. So while on a boat, shut your eyes to really tune in to the water’s lapping and splashing. There are also many benches and terraces on the canals where you can sit and relax with the sound of water. If you’re lucky you may run into The Music Boat man. Reinier Sijpkens, as he is also known, travels around the world making magic and music for children. At home in the Netherlands, he haunts the canals of Amsterdam playing trumpets, barrel-organ in a dancing painted boat, mostly classical music, a happy man, who enjoys performing by surprise or admission for people on the bridges and the waterside.
The Netherlands is a country rich in wildlife and birds are very common even in the cities. Whether it’s pidgeon’s on Dam square, finches in Vondelpark or sparrows on a terrace trying to pinch some of your ‘borrelhapjes’, birds can be found everywhere along with their own distinctive sounds.
The Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ is your best bet for a formal musical treat. Places like Paradiso, The Heineken Music Hall, Bimhuis and the Melkweg are popular places that tourists and locals alike head to for some formal music by big stars.
If you want to fully immerse yourself in Dutch music, load up your iPod Dutch music by artists. Fancy some Armin van Buuren, Anouk, Gers Pardoel or go all out with André Hazes or Frans Bauer?