HOLLAND – Utrecht candidate for 2018 European Brass Band Championships
The Executive Committee of the European Brass Band Association (EBBA) recently visited Utrecht in The Netherlands at the invitation of the Utrecht Convention Bureau, which presented its candidature for the
2018 EBBA Championships.
The working visit of the EBBA delegation started with the official reception by Alderman for Culture Frits Lintmeijer at the Utrecht city hall, followed by a visit to the Station Area Information Centre, where Managing Director Nanette Ris of Vredenburg Music Centre presented the new “Muziekpaleis” (Music Palace) to the party.
The complex is to open its doors in early 2014 and will have 7,500 seats divided into 5 halls, with the symphony hall (1,700 seats) as the intended main location for the championship.
Prior to the delegation’s internal meeting in the Dom Tower (the ultimate symbol of Utrecht), the visit concluded with a cruise of the Utrecht canals, where Toerisme Utrecht Managing Director Ronald Trum spoke about the options for staging music festivals at various locations throughout the city when the brass band championship takes place.
‘Utrecht is the perfect location for a large cultural event such as the European Brass Band Championships,’ said Utrecht Marketing Manager Michiel van der Schaaf. ‘The city is located centrally in the Netherlands and Western Europe, is easily accessible and has a good price/quality ratio. In addition, Utrecht has a long musical tradition with many choirs, orchestras and high-profile events, such as the Internationaal Kamermuziekfestival (International Chamber Music Festival) and the Festival Oude Muziek (Festival of Old Music).’
And Utrecht has been involved in woodwind events for a considerable period of time: ‘There is the Nationaal Brassbandfestival (National Brass Band Festival) that drew all of the leading bands to the Netherlands during the 1980s and 1990s and which enjoyed a splendid reputation all over Europe. In addition, Utrecht has the proper infrastructure in which the conservatorium, the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten (School of Fine Art) and the Kunstfactor sector institute play an important role. And then there are the Utrecht brass icons, such as Colin Benders (Kyteman) and the various innovative projects, where the New Cool Collective was recently welcomed as a guest.’
‘With the new music palace, Utrecht will have a culture complex of international allure,’ according to Van der Schaaf. ‘This suits our ambition to become the European Capital of Culture in 2018, but apart from this, it functions as a stepping stone for other developments, such as developing Utrecht into an important centre of European amateur music. By attracting more musical organisations and championships and by developing new concepts and events, proper cultural education and development of talents, we intend to make considerable headway in this in the short-term, with as many other parties as possible in the city and sector.’
The EBBA visit was also made possible thanks to Rederij Schuttevaer shipping company and the Utrecht Apollo Hotel.