The Melkweg is one of the most well-known cultural centres within and outside the Netherlands, and is unique because of a programme that unites five artistic disciplines under one roof: music, dance/theatre, film, photography and media art. Concerts, dance events, theatrical and dance productions, films, media art presentations and photo exhibitions are staged in five halls and several small rooms.
The Melkweg, a non-profit organisation, was founded in 1970 when a Dutch theatre group discovered a deserted dairy factory in the centre of Amsterdam. Hard work, ambition and NLG 25,000 (about EUR 11,000) enabled the group to transform the factory into a meeting place, initially during the summer only. During the 1970s, the Melkweg became a household name and started developing more in terms of content, offering room for experiments relating to music, theatre, dance and film. The ground floor of the building now houses The Max (capacity of 1,500) and the Oude Zaal (capacity of 700), which are used primarily for concerts and events. The Photo Gallery and the Café-Restaurant are located on the Marnixstraat side, while the upper floor is occupied by the Cinema (90 seats), the Theaterzaal (112 seats), the Mediaroom. a foyer and the Tearoom. In May 2009, Melkweg opened a new, state-of-the-art theatre hall, together with neighbours Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam (City Theatre) and Toneelgroep Amsterdam. In this hall, the Rabozaal, Melkweg organizes programmes 60 days a year. Performances and concerts in the Rabozaal can be fully seated (1000 seats) or seated/standing (capacity of 1500).