Stopera in Amsterdam
The Stopera is a building complex in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, housing both the city hall of Amsterdam and the Muziektheater, the principal opera house in Amsterdam and the home of De Nederlandse Opera, Het Nationale Ballet, and the Holland Symfonia.
The name "Stopera" is a portmanteau of stadhuis (Dutch: "city hall") and opera.
The Stopera is located in the center of Amsterdam, between Waterlooplein square, the Amstel river and the Zwanenburgwal canal, on a piece of land called Vlooienburg which was reclaimed in the 16th century. The building is located on a bend of the river Amstel. The opera house building is shaped like a huge, massive block, with a curved front facing the city. Its glass facade provides panoramic views of the river from the curved interior foyers.
Next to the Stopera is the Joods Verzetsmonument, a 1988 monument to the Jewish victims of World War II. A remembrance of the Kristallnacht is held at the monument every year.
The construction of the Stopera was at least 60 years in the making. As far back as 1915 discussions were held about building a new opera house as well as a new city hall. Various sites were considered for the new city hall, until finally Waterlooplein square was chosen.
After a number of ups and downs lasting over 10 years, from a 1955 commission to come up with a proposal to the architectural firm of Berghoef and Vegter to a rejection of them in 1964, the city council finally held a competition in 1967 for a new design. Viennese architect Wilhelm Holzbauer emerged as the winner. However, plans for the new city hall were put on hold for several years. Similarly, the opera house plans were in flux.
In 1979, the architect proposed that the city hall and opera house should be combined into one complex, so that the Dutch National Ballet (Het Nationale Ballet), alongside the Netherlands Opera, would have a combined performance space.
Architect Cees Dam took over in 1980 when the Amsterdam city council approved the new design, which was followed by full national approval in 1981.
The Stopera was a controversial project that met with heavy protests, particularly from local counterculture and leftwing groups like the squatter movement and Provo movement. Riots broke out when construction began in 1982. The project went seriously over budget and ended up costing an additional 112 million guilders more than originally budgeted.
The Muziektheater officially opened on September 23, 1986; the new city hall opened two years later.
- Max van Rooy en Bas Roodnat De Stopera, een Amsterdamse geschiedenis (1986; Uitgeverij Rap), Dutch publication.