Scapino op de Frans Halsschool

1940 - 1950


After five years of war, there is peace again in the Netherlands. What the country needs is proactive and courageous people with initiative to get society up and running again. A wonderful example of someone who is proactive, decisive and empathic is ballet teacher Hans Snoek. She is one of the founders of Scapino Ballet in 1946. Her dance company helps children to escape from a world full of fear. They can start believing in a new reality without war.
  • Hans Snoek (foto Jac. de Nijs / Anefo - Nationaal Archief)

    Hans Snoek

    Founder and artistic director
  • Gouden Zwaan

    Scapino’s debut

    After the war, twelve dancers are putting on their pointe shoes again. Led by the colourful Hans Snoek, they perform for pupils of the Dongeschool in Amsterdam. The dancers decide to set up a dance company when they receive so much praise for their work. This dance company is called Scapino and is aimed at children. Its first performance is held in the Royal Theatre of Carré in Amsterdam with a series of free morning shows sponsored by Dutch newspaper Het Parool.
  • Het Papierennoodballet - 1946

    The Paper Shortage Ballet

    After the war, there is a major shortage of paper. A fundraiser in which children pick up used paper, becomes the source of inspiration for Scapino’s new show: The Paper Shortage Ballet (Het Papierennoodballet). The children who collected a lot of papier in the fundraiser are invited to see the show for free.
  • Leden van Stichting De Vijf Kunsten (+/- 1945) | Nicolaas Wijnberg staat vierde van links (fotograaf onbekend)

    Nicolaas Wijnberg

  • Leden van Stichting De Vijf Kunsten (+/- 1945) | Nicolaas Wijnberg staat vierde van links (fotograaf onbekend)

    Hans van Norden

  • pasja_en_de_beer_fotograaf-maria-austria.jpg

    The first steps abroad

    In the summer of 1947, Scapino performs abroad for the first time. The fairytale-like performance The Pasha and the Bear (De Pasja and de Beer) is on stage at an international children’s festival in Prague. It will be put on stage again many times from then on.
  • Leden van Stichting De Vijf Kunsten (+/- 1945) | Nicolaas Wijnberg staat vierde van links (fotograaf onbekend)

    Lex van Delden


Royal visit

During the season of 1948/1949 Scapino plays two performances: The Cricket and the Ant (De Krekel en the Mier) and The journey of Jan Klaasen (Jan Klaassen op Reis). Thousands of children come to admire these fairytales. The Dutch Queen Juliana visits the show with her daughters, the three princesses Beatrix, Irene and Margriet.

De Krekel en de Mier | choreografie Hans Snoek (fotograaf onbekend)
Scapino Dansakademie

1950 - 1960


Scapino knows how to enchant children – with fairytale-like dance performances full of colourful costumes and dazzling decors. Well-known visual artists from different disciplines join the ballet company. Slowly but surely, the imaginary and story-telling nature of the performances becomes more abstract and more personal. This way of modernising dance performances is important for the future of Scapino.

  • Knipsel uit Het Parool (6 mei 1950) | De kast van de oude Chinees, deel 1 | getekend door Henk Högemann

    5 years of Scapino!

    Scapino celebrates its fifth anniversary. The ballet company is very successful, which means: 100,000 children enjoyed the performances, loved the fairytales and were introduced to ballet in this way. Less successful is the fact that the dancers barely made an income from their work. They are driven by idealism: making beautiful shows for young people.

Scapino on television

At the end of the 1940s the phenomenon of television is introduced in the Netherlands. Philips starts with the first experimental television broadcasts. In 1950 a dance show by Scapino is to be admired on television for the first time. During the recordings, Hans Snoek meets her future husband Erik de Vries, who is one of the pioneers at Philips.

Photos by Huub de Mul

  • Er was eens... | choreografie Albert Mol (foto Henk Jonker)

    Once upon a time...

    The show Once upon a time…(Er was eens…) premiers in the former City Theater in Amsterdam with Alex Faassen jr. as the iconic Scapino character. No less than 1,700 children join the show. The author of this ballet fairytale is Hans Snoek and the choreographer is Albert Mol. [Photo Henk Jonker]
  • De Prinses op de Erwt | choreografie Jan Rebel (foto E. van Wijk)

    The Princess and the Pea

    The performance The Princess and the Pea (Prinses op de Erwt) is put on stage. Dutch poet Bert Voeten writes the script. Jan Rebel takes care of the choreography. The decors are made by Hermanus Berserik. The dance performance is based on a small story, but it is met with major interest. It attracts big crowds – also at the Lincoln Centre in the US. [Photo E. van Wijk]


On 1 February 1954 there is a fire in the former warehouse and depot of the Weesperpoort railway station in Amsterdam, Scapino’s rehearsal room. Decors, costumes and props of 32 ballet shows go up in flames. Scapino also looses its space for rehearsals and teaching ballet classes. The insurance does not fully cover the damages, which threathens to be the end of Scapino.

[photo Stadsarchief Amsterdam]

Brand in het Weesperpoortstation (foto Stadsarchief Amsterdam / G.L.W. Oppenheim)
  • Affiche voor de grote Scapino Loterij in 1954

    Scapino is rescued!

    Schoolchildren start collecting money for Scapino which is heavily damaged by the fire. Together with the revenues from a lottery and the support from the municipality of Amsterdam and the Dutch government Scapino survives the financial catastrophe. We use the money to give two of our most famous ballets a new look.
  • Een overzicht van de ontvangen steun (17 maart 1954)
  • Kinderen bij het jubileumboek met voorstellingsmaquette (fotograaf onbekend)

    10 years of Scapino!

    Reason to celebrate: Scapino’s tenth anniversary! An anniversary show is performed in Royal Theatre Carré in Amsterdam. Well-known Dutch children’s writer Annie M.G. Schmidt creates a song for this special occasion.
  • Repetitie met Hans van Manen (fotograaf onbekend)

    Hans van Manen creates Swing

    The famous Dutch choreographer Hans van Manen (1932) created various ballets for Scapino. One of his first works is Swing, which is part of the performance Danced Portaits (Gedanste Portretten) combining the work of six choreographers.
  • De Wonderfluit geschreven door Henk Dragstra | choreografie Jan Rebel en Hans Snoek (foto Hans van den Busken)

    Story contest

    Participation of the audience avant la lettre: Scapino asks children to come up with a story for a dance performance. Many children are excited to take part. Henk Dragstra wins with his fairytale The Miraculous Flute (De Wonderfluit), to which Hans Snoek and Jan Rebel create the choreography. [photo Hans van den Busken]

The Scapino Dance Academy

The Scapino Dance Acadamy opens its doors. Pupils take regular school subjects here and at the same time they are trained to become professional dancers. This is unique in the Netherlands. In the first few years, the Scapino Dance Academy is located in the attic of the Shelter for Workers (accommodation for unmarried workors) on Marnixstraat in Amsterdam. Scapino dancer Karel Poons is in charge of the day-to-day management of the Academy. Scapino Dance Academy merges with the National Ballet Academy in 1988.

Een groep mensen zwaaiend voor een vliegtuig

1960 - 1970

'I like to be in America'

It’s an era of freedom – in the widest sense of the word. Modern dance is on the rise and the spirit of that time is revolutionary; breaking with traditions from the past. Major musicals on Broadway are turned into films. Jazz dance and jazz music are welcomed with open arms. Scapino is also inspired by all of this. America doesn’t only come to Scapino, but Scapino also goes to America: to perform in the White House. The world meets Scapino Ballet!  


15 years of Scapino!

Scapino celebrates its fifteenth anniversary! Since it was founded, Scapino has performed thousands of dance shows for as many as three million children. Reason to celebrate! Jan Rebel creates the anniversary performance: John’s first day of school (Jantjes eerste schooldag).

photo Hans van den Busken

Jantjes eerste schooldag | choreografie Jan Rebel (foto Hans van den Busken)

Scapino opens the Children's Book Week

On 5 November 1962 the seventh Children’s Book Week starts. Scapino has the honour of performing at the opening in a full Theater Carré in Amsterdam. Pinokkio by choreographer Albert Mol is performed with music by Cor Lemaire for an audience of enthousiastic children.

  • Scapino treedt op in het Witte Huis (foto Robert L. Knusden)

    Scapino in The White House

    A special performance is planned during the US tour at the end of 1963. Namely, in the ballroom of The White House in Washington. However, the performance is cancelled because President Kennedy is murdered. On the special request of the new first lady Lady Bird Johnson (wife of Lyndon B. Johnson, vice president of the US) Scapino extends the tour to still be able to perform at The White House. [photo Robert L. Knusden]
  • Het meisje met de zwavelstokjes | choreografie Jan Rebel (foto Jac. B. Rieder)

    The Golden Key

    At the end of November, Scapino has two premieres: The Little Girl with the Matchsticks (Het meisje met de zwavelstokjes) and The Golden Key (De Gouden Sleutel). These two ballets by choreographers Richard Glasstone and Jan Rebel are commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Arts and Sciences. [photo Jac. B. Rieder]
  • Affiche voor de 'speciale feestvoorstellingen' op 7 en 8 oktober 1965

    20 years of Scapino!

    On 7 October 1965 Scapino celebrates its twentieth anniversary. The by now classic Scapino fairytale The Pasha and the Bear (De Pasja en de Beer) is performed in Amsterdam’s City Theater. Scapino looks back on twenty eventful years in which a lot has been achieved. Despite all kinds of setbacks Scapino continuous to grow and flourish.
  • Straatspelletjes | film van Hans van den Busken (foto Sander Faassen)

    Van den Busken creates Street Games

    Dance photographer and film director Hans van den Busken creates the dance film Street Games (Straatspelletjes). This is based on the choreography by Walter Gore made in 1965 for a Scapino Ballet performance. To improve his skills in capturing dance on camera, Van den Busken even takes ballet lessons at Scapino for a while. [photo Sander Faassen]
  • Scapino voor de klas (foto Coen Heer]

    Scapino at school

    While Hans Snoek is Creative Director, Scapino focusses mainly on children as their audience. Scapino performs in theaters, but also at schools. By giving dance demonstrations in schools, they give even more children a taste of ballet dancing. [photo Coen Heer]
  • Omslag van Het uur van de Scapinezen | An Rutgers van der Loeff

    A detective story

    Dutch children’s book author An Rutgers van der Loeff writes a true detective story about ballet for the Children’s Book Week of 1968. Scapino plays a major role in the book The hour of the Scapinese (Het uur van de Scapinezen): an untrue story with a lot of truth in it.


With this timeline, Scapino Ballet Rotterdam wants to paint a picture of its 75th anniversary. We do not have the ambition, nor the means to be complete. In the unlikely event that you discover an error or see a major omission, please contact us.

Scapino Ballet Rotterdam has done its utmost to trace the sources and rights holders of the visual material that is used. If, nevertheless, images are shown of which you are the (co-)owner and for the use of which you have not given permission, you can contact us.

Photography chapters: Hans van den Busken (1950s), Jorge Fatauros (1980s), Hans Gerritsen (1990s), Joris Jan Bos (1900s), Eric Fecken (1910s). The photographers of the other photos are unknown.

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