This chapter focuses on the cultural transformations in the large urban centres of the Low Countries by discussing the period between the 1561 landjuweel festival – a large rederijker competition – in Antwerp and the 1617 opening of the Nederduytsche Academie in Amsterdam. The theatrum derived its meaning from the Greek and Roman theatres that had been open infrastructures where all layers of society participated in drama festivals that celebrated the civic community. In Renaissance Europe, the idea of the theatre preceded the built theatre. This is suggestive of the strength of the theatrum metaphor in particular, and of the influence of humanist conceptions of knowledge in general. The theatrum first appeared as a material construct in 1594 in both North and South, but it would take until 1617 before the Nederduytsche Academie opened in Amsterdam. This was not only a public school, but it was also the first commercial playhouse in the Low Countries.