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A rich history


Françoise Adret

Françoise Adret is head of the Ballet of De Nederlandse Opera (1947-1959).


Ballet der Lage Landen

Mascha ter Weeme founds the Ballet der Lage Landen (1948-1959).


Van Manen's first choreography

The first work choreographed by Hans van Manen is performed at the Revue Ramses Shaffy in Amsterdam. To date, he has created 120 ballets.


Van Dantzig's first choreography

Rudi van Dantzig choreographs his first work: Nachteiland. He creates the work for Gaskell’s Nederlands Ballet.



Merger of the Ballet of the Nederlandse Opera and the Ballet der Lage Landen, to form the Amsterdams Ballet.


Dutch National Ballet

Dutch National Ballet is founded on 31 August 1961 through a merger of the Nederlands Ballet (Sonia Gaskell) and the Amsterdams Ballet (Mascha ter Weeme). This puts an end to the ‘ballet war’.


Olga de Haas

At the age of nineteen, Olga de Haas (1944-1978) is promoted to principal. The promising star and audience darling rose to become a legendary Dutch ballerina. She died on 1 September 1978 at the age of 34.


Nederlands Ballet Orkest

The foundation of the Nederlands Balletorkest, especially for accompanying Dutch National Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater.


Van Dantzig & Kaesen

Resident choreographers Rudi van Dantzig and Robert Kaesen join Sonia Gaskell as directors of the company.


Romeo en Julia

The premiere of Van Dantzig’s Romeo and Juliet takes place on 16 February. His ballet is still in the company’s repertoire today.


Rudolf Nurejev

Rudolf Nureyev makes his debut as a guest artist with Dutch National Ballet on Christmas Day.


Rudi van Dantzig

Rudi van Dantzig continues to expand Dutch National Ballet along the lines of his predecessor. Since his appointment as director, the company has distinguished itself with its own distinctive versions of works from the classical repertoire.


Alexandra Radius

Alexandra Radius and her husband Han Ebbelaar join the company as principals. The couple will become the most famous dance duo of the Netherlands.



Hans van Manen, who directed Nederlands Dans Theater from 1961 to 1971, creates his first work for Dutch National Ballet as a freelance choreographer: Twilight.


The three Van's

In the 1970’s and 80’s, the three Van’s – Rudi van Dantzig, Hans van Manen and Toer van Schayk turn out to be an artistic gold mine. With their works, Dutch National Ballet makes its name internationally for its daring contemporary repertoire.


First videoballet

Van Manen’s ballet Live, combined in a double bill with Van Dantzig’s Life, is the first video ballet in the Netherlands. The premiere takes place in Koninklijk Theater Carré.


World premiere The Sleeping Beauty

The world premiere of Sir Peter Wright’s version of The Sleeping Beauty. It is the most successful work in the history of the company.


Silver jubilee

The company celebrates its silver jubilee in the Stadsschouwburg, marking the transition to its new quarters on the Waterlooplein: The Amsterdam Music Theatre. The ‘house’ is shared with De Nederlandse Opera and the Town Hall.


The Muziektheater opens

In 1986 the Muziektheater (Music Theatre) on Waterloo Square is opened.



The company commissions Gerardjan Rijnders, an avant-garde stage director, to create Bacchanten. The work is premiered in Theater Carré.


Van Dantzig's Swan Lake

Swan Lake in Rudi van Dantzigs version premieres. This 'ballet of ballets' in his interpretation proves a milestone in Dutch dance history.


Wayne Eagling

Wayne Eagling (1950), an ex-principal with The Royal Ballet, in England, puts the emphasis on technical perfection and raises Dutch National Ballet’s level to even greater heights.


Nutcracker & Mouse King

Nutcracker & Mouse King, the brainchild of Wayne Eagling and Toer van Schayk, based on the original by Marius Petipa, is premiered on 13 December. The production is still drawing full houses today.


Holland Symfonia

On 1 January 2002, Het Nederlands Balletorkest and the Noordhollands Philharmonisch Orkest merge to form the new Holland Symfonia, which takes over all the regular accompaniment tasks. The orchestra is currently led by Matthew Rowe.


Ted Brandsen

The current director, Ted Brandsen (1954), was a dancer with Dutch National Ballet until 1991, becoming artistic director in 2003. Brandsen raises technical levels and starts an intensive collaboration with the National Ballet Academy.


Krzysztof Pastor

Krzysztof Pastor is appointed resident choreographer. The ex-dancer with Dutch National Ballet is also appointed artistic director of the ballet company of the Polish Opera in 2009.


Hans van Manen returns

In 2005, Hans van Manen returns to Dutch National Ballet as a resident choreographer, after having left the company in 1987.


Hans van Manen Festival

To celebrate the 75th birthday of choreographer Hans van Manen (1932), Dutch National Ballet organises the ‘Hans van Manen Festival’: three weeks of Dutch dance performed by many leading ensembles and artists from the Netherlands and abroad.


Order of the Netherlands Lion

In 2007, Van Manen was pinned and hung with the decorations of the Commander in the Order of the Netherlands Lion. Fifteen years earlier, in 1992, he had already been made an Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau.


Merger of the three organisations

On 31 December 2012, The Amsterdam Music Theatre, De Nederlandse Opera and Dutch National Ballet sign the agreement that will lead to a legal merger of the three art institutions.


Rudi van Dantzig dies

After a long illness, Rudi van Dantzig dies on 19 January 2012.


Hans van Manen 80 years

On the occasion of Hans van Manen’s 80th birthday, there is gala for the ‘Mondriaan of dance’.


'Benois' for Cinderella

Christopher Wheeldon receives a ‘Benois’ for Cinderella. Hans van Manen receives the ‘Benois de la Danse’ for Variations for Two Couples. This award is often referred to as the ‘Oscar of dance’.


Junior Company

The Junior Company starts up on 1 August. This collaboration between the company and the National Ballet Academy trains talented young dancers between the ages of 18 and 21 and gives them the opportunity to move up into the ranks of Dutch National Ballet. Christopher Powney, as artistic director of the Ballet Academy at that time, assisted in establishing the Junior Company.


Els van der Plas

The new organisation kicks off on 1 January, but without a common name for the moment. Els van der Plas is the managing director, Ted Brandsen is the director of ballet and Pierre Audi is the director of opera.


Dutch National Opera & Ballet

From 17 February, Dutch National Ballet, De Nederlandse Opera and The Musictheatre Amsterdam become one organisation. The name Dutch National Ballet stays the same, De Nederlandse Opera becomes Dutch National Opera and the theatre is called Dutch National Opera & Ballet.


Rachel Beaujean appointed as Associate Artistic Director

On 1 September, Rachel Beaujean was appointed by the management as Associate Artistic Director. During the Dutch National Ballet Gala, she was also appointed ‘Officier In de Orde van Oranje-Nassau’. The Amsterdam alderman Eric van der Burg presented the award to Rachel.