ESOF '20 - Amsterdam

European Student Orchestra Festival

Amsterdam – The Netherlands

29th of June – 3rd of July 2020

Note 25/03/2020: ESOF is assessing the COVID-19 impact on this project and will soon release an update.

After the huge success of the recent editions of the European Student Orchestra Festival, we already can announce a new festival for symphony orchestras to be organised in Amsterdam in July 2020. This edition will be held in close collaboration with the University of Amsterdam and the Vrije Universiteit van Amsterdam. Both their orchestras, the UvA-Orkest J.Pzn Sweelinck orchestra and the VU-orkest, will be the main drivers of the festivalWe are delighted to see the continuation of the festival in different European countries. Stay tuned for more information.

Welcome to Amsterdam

From the 29th of June till the 3rd of July 2019 ten student orchestras will gather in Amsterdam, the Netherlands to participate in the fifth symphonic edition of this Festival. Each night, a concert will be held by three of the orchestras in a terrific concert hall, the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ.

For four days you rehearse, perform, dance, party together with like-minded students. For four days you will get the chance to eat, breathe and live classical music. Amsterdam will be the stage of this exciting week. When not rehearsing or listening to a concert, you will have more than enough time to discover the beautiful canals and parks, learn about the city history and experience its famous night-life.

For ESOF 2020 two of the main student orchestras in the Netherlands, connected to the University of Amsterdam and the VU University Amsterdam, have joined forces to host the festival. We are looking forward to see you here!

Arrangements and Activities

Of course, we will arrange a place to sleep, to eat, and most importantly to practice. All orchestras will perform a concert. But there is more to life than practice and sleep, and we will offer social and cultural activities to get to know the city and the other students participating – after all this is about music, but also about getting to know other students from different places.


195 euro per person*

*A deposit of 10 persons will be due upon registration


  • Four nights in youth hostel/hotel (room distribution according to availability)

  • Full board

  • Access to all ESOF concerts

  • Access to all group planned activities

  • Use of rehearsal room and concert hall (for dress rehearsal and concert)

  • Public transport in Amsterdam

Does not include:

  • Transportation to and from Amsterdam

Concert requirements and logistics:

  • Max 45 minutes of music

  • No solo concerto

  • ESOF will provide a basic set of large percussion instruments

  • ESOF will provide music stands and chairs

  • Double basses will be available for rent


  • One rehearsal and a dress rehearsal in the concert hall will be foreseen

  • ESOF will provide a basic set of large percussion instruments

  • ESOF will provide music stands and chairs

  • Double basses will be available for rent

Eloise Davis

Ever since I was young, I remember going to my mother’s rehearsals and enjoying the sound and the atmosphere that the orchestra created in that magical space. I lived in England until I was seven years old and took piano lessons at my school. When I moved to Holland, the waiting list for piano lessons was too long at the local music school, and so I decided to pick up the trumpet. This was one of the best decisions of my life! I started at the local brass band after a few years, but quickly moved on to the Amersfoort Youth Orchestra where I learned to play the trumpet in a whole other way. I went on my first tour with a student orchestra when I was just sixteen and revealed in the freedom and happiness it brought me. Soon after, I became a member of the VU-Orchestra in Amsterdam. Working for two years on the board of the orchestra has taught me many things which I don’t think I could have learnt anywhere else. I am currently finishing my bachelor of Art and Economics at the University of the Arts Utrecht, by doing an internship at the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble (Dutch Wind Ensemble). I am very looking forward to ESOF 2020 and hope to meet many inspiring musicians and learn new things about different cultures in one of the most beautiful cities in the world: Amsterdam.

Thomas van Zijl

Music has always been around me. I remember listening mesmerised to my family members practicing their instruments when I was younger. As a child, I discovered the violin early on, which was a perfect hit. I can’t fully grasp what that choice has brought me in life. Participating in the Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands opened a whole new world to me where people are connected and evolve together in musicality, love and wisdom. When I started to study medicine in Amsterdam, I joined the big family of the student orchestras, initially the VU-Orkest and later I participated in other orchestras, among them the Dutch Student Orchestra, Dutch Student Chamber Orchestra and Sweelinck Orchestra. ESOF 2020 is a great project where students around Europe from different cultures get together in music to bring a positive vibe into the world. 

Dion Stevers

Ever since I discovered the cello, music grew out to be what everything revolves around in my life. After joining the Sweelinck orchestra and participating in the Dutch Student Orchestra, which I still consider as a utopia between the concerns of daily life, I knew that the world of student orchestras was my new home. ESOF 2020 is a great new challenge to make other student musicians feel the same and bring them together. Recently I finished my bachelors Psychobiology which I dedicated to the brain and how it processes music. Now I am studying Music Sciences and Chinese.

Niek Bollemeijer

During my high school years I heard the school orchestra play and quickly wanted to be part of it. I was given a trombone to practice with and that was one of the best things that has happened to me. While studying in Amsterdam, I began to play the trombone in the UvA-Orchestra J.Pzn Sweelinck, of which I later was to be president for a year. Playing in the orchestra has brought me many beautiful things, participating in ESOF 15 and 17 chief among them. Nowadays, when I’m not studying physics and astronomy, I’m busy organising ESOF 2020 and looking forward to seeing it realised!

If you have any questions regarding the festival or the application procedure, don’t hesitate to contact us at

If we all end up in prison one day for illegal music downloads, I can only hope that they divide us by music genres.