The Sydney Opera House, opened on 20 October 1973, and stands tall as an iconic symbol of Australian culture. Queen Elizabeth II officially opened it, emphasising the power of human creativity.
The Sydney Symphony Orchestra performed at the official opening, under the direction of Dutchman Willem van Otterloo. The orchestra’s performance at the Opera House marked a significant moment in the cultural history of Australia and highlighted the Opera House’s role as a venue for world-class musical performances.
The opening of the Opera House
The Sydney Symphony Orchestra was among the artists and groups who participated in the opening celebrations, contributing to the historic occasion.
The Dutch also played a small role in this success story
While of course the Danish architect Jørn Oberg Utzon designed the Sydney Opera House in Australia. There are also Dutch stories to tell around this famous landmark. Dutch emigrant Dutch Dusseldorp’s company Civil & Civic build the first stage of the Sydney Opera House. In 2000 the Dutch company Philips Lightning provided the technical implementation of the lighting display of the Sydney Opera House. At two occasions the Opera House turned orange during the state visits in 2006 and 2016.
In 1945 Dutch born Henk and Dick Dusseldorp secured jobs at Bredero’s Bouwbedrijf, a Dutch housebuilder established in the 1870s. By 1947 Dick had been promoted to Construction Manager. In March 1951 Bredero’s sent him to Australia to seek out business opportunities. He identified a project to build workers’ housing in the Snowy Mountains Scheme, the largest infrastructure project to have been attempted in Australia.
In 1957 he established Civil & Civic, as a subsidiary of Bredero’s. The success of which was based on the principle that the designer should be employed by the contractor rather than the other way round. In that year he won the contract to build the first stage of the Sydney Opera House. The Sydney Opera House brought huge prestige, along with the equally huge challenges of building a unique and difficult structure on a point of reclaimed land.
Civil & Civic
Civil & Civic was the main contractor for the construction of the Sydney Opera House from 1959 to 1963. They were responsible for the construction of the podium, which is the base of the building. The podium is made of reinforced concrete and is supported by 580 piles that were driven into the ground.
Civil & Civic faced a number of challenges during the construction of the podium. The site was located on reclaimed land, which was prone to flooding. The soil was also very soft, which made it difficult to drive the piles. In addition, the design of the podium was constantly changing, which made it difficult to plan the construction.
Despite the challenges, Civil & Civic completed the construction of the podium on time and within budget. The podium was officially opened in February 1963.
The construction of the rest of the Sydney Opera House was completed by another contractor, M. R. Hornibrook. However, Civil & Civic continued to be involved in the project, providing engineering and construction management services.
Below are pictures of the Sydney before the Opera House was build.
There was of course controversy surrounding the deign and building of the Opera House
Philips Lightning implemented the lightning display
In 2000 Dutch company Philips Lightning provided the technical implementation of the lighting display of the Sydney Opera House.
For this they provided the light fixtures, including 12,000 moving lights, 2,000 colour changers, and 1,000 spotlights. They designed and installed the control system that synchronised the lights with the music and the visuals.
They trained the operators of the lighting system and provided technical support during the opening ceremony and the rest of the Olympic Games.
The lighting system was a complex and sophisticated piece of technology, and Philips played a key role in making it work. The system was able to create a variety of effects, including changing colours, creating patterns, and projecting images. It was also able to synchronise the lights with the music and the visuals, which created a truly magical effect.
The lighting system was a major success, and it helped to make the Sydney Olympics one of the most memorable in history. It also helped to showcase the capabilities of Philips’ lighting technology.
Sydney Opera House turned orange
His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima paid a state visit to Australia from Monday 31 October to Friday 4 November 2016. At the occasion the Sydney Opera House was coloured in orange.