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With Broekmans & van Poppel, Amsterdam loses icon again

Until 31 December, classical music lovers can browse the unprecedented amount of sheet music, CDs and music books at Broekmans & van Poppel. The iconic shop, stately located next to Brasserie Keyzer and the Concertgebouw on Van Baerlestraat in Amsterdam, is closing its doors after 102 years. The family-run business will continue in Badhoevedorp, which already houses the central warehouse and administration. The shop in Utrecht does remain.

The decision was taken "with pain in the heart", says co-owner Wilfred Ganzinotti in the magazine InSouth, which revealed the news last Wednesday. The posh building will be converted into luxury flats, with two retail spaces on the ground floor. It is yet another impoverishment of both Amsterdam's retail offer and the varied street scene that makes the city so attractive to (too) many tourists.

'Unique appeal'

Just recently, Kajsa Ollongren, alderwoman for economy and arts & culture of the City of Amsterdam, among others, spoke of the 'unique appeal due to the rich offer of art and culture, the monumental canals and the various shops and restaurants', leading to a huge increase in visitors. It intends to take measures to 'guard the balance between residents, visitors and businesses'. The question is whether this is necessary: if the clear-cutting begun in the past decade continues, the flow of visitors will dry up by itself.

Marco Ganzinotti, also co-owner of Broekmans & van Poppel, emphasises that there is no question of an exorbitant rent increase, such as the one that forced the Mulder record shop on Ferdinand Bolstraat to close its doors a few years ago: 'We do have rent arrears of several months,' he says on the phone, 'but that is partly because people are buying more and more online. - And especially: illegal downloading'.

From A to B, plank and all

Whether customers will henceforth be willing to travel to Badhoevedorp, which many see as a B-location, is the question. The attractive walk from Concertgebouw to the shop before or after a concert is gone for good. 'But we do already have a loyal crowd in Badhoevedorp,' Ganzinotti objects. 'We naturally hope that others will also know how to find us there. If only because of our very extensive department second-hand editions. We have sheet music from publishers that have gone bankrupt in recent years, often for a bargain.' CD sales will be discontinued, though.

The publishing house Broekmans & van Poppel continues to exist as usual. Ganzinotti: 'Indeed, it is thanks to the sale of our own scores that we have been able to last so long on the Van Baerlestraat.' The move was well thought out: 'We will close our doors on 31 December and pack our entire stock in boxes, shelf and all, in a fortnight. In Badhoevedorp, everything will be offered in exactly the same way as in our current branch. It will be a race against time, but we can't afford to be closed any longer. Meanwhile, online sales will continue.'

A stressful undertaking, agrees Ganzinotti: 'But we had more than enough stress in the last period anyway.'

Good to know: flyers with information and directions are offered in the shop. The online sales continues. You can read the article by InZuid here



Thea Derks

Thea Derks studied English and Musicology. In 1996, she completed her studies in musicology cum laude at the University of Amsterdam. She specialises in contemporary music and in 2014 published the critically acclaimed biography 'Reinbert de Leeuw: man or melody'. Four years on, she completed 'An ox on the roof: modern music in vogevlucht', aimed especially at the interested layperson. You buy it here: In 2020, the 3rd edition of the Reinbertbio appeared,with 2 additional chapters describing the period 2014-2020. These also appeared separately as Final Chord.View Author posts

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