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Aug 9, 2020

Coronavirus Hits André Rieu's Company Hard!

Corona hits André Rieu's company hard: 
"Since March we haven't earned a penny"

Like a true optimist, André Rieu (70) believes that he is only halfway through in his life. Corona has hit his company hard, but that doesn't get him down. A conversation, at home in Maastricht, about an unwanted oak tree, his Stradivarius and the Vrijthof.

From Algemeen Dagblad: by Alexander van Eenennaam: The sun shines bright, there is coffee with vlaai (Limburg pastry), we are sitting in his spacious, paradisiacal courtyard and yet André Rieu says: "Never buy a castle." He laughs about that, but the orchestra leader does not regret the purchase he made a quarter of a century ago together with his wife. He points off into the distance. “See those people walking there? Marjorie and I walked that path in 1994, it must have been around September. "Imagine us in that little castle," I said to her. She replied: "Then you still have to sell a lot of records."

The fact that the king of the waltz owns his own castle in Maastricht is a fact invariably well received by the American press, where fairy tales in line with the American Dream are just as enjoyable as Rieu does this afternoon with his gooseberries, meringue and whipped cream vlaai.

The hefty slices come from the local bakery in Maastricht, they are Rieu's favorite. "Here they also call it the André Rieu cake, "he says while poking another piece of meringue with his pastry fork. "You know what they are, kroonsele?" He asks rhetorically. “Gooseberries. The sourness  in combination with the cream and fluffed egg whites, they really pick you up."

It is no coincidence that we are at home with André Rieu.  he performs with his orchestra for three weeks every summer in the center of his hometown Maastricht.   he then fills the Vrijthof with fans of his waltz music for more than ten evenings . Logically, the immense square will remain empty this year, and Rieu spends more time at home than he would like, no matter how fairytale his shelter may be.


"I started baking day one of the corona time," he says. “We played our first concert of our US tour in Tampa, Florida, and right during intermission, Trump addressed the country and told people to stop going to massive events. Then I knew enough. Three of my employees have been busy the entire night to book tickets. We immediately had to return with 110 people. On my first day at home I made cream puffs. Have a look," he says, while searching for the photos on his smart phone.

“I liked to watch soccer, but that was no longer on. And if I have to watch what my wife likes on TV, we would long be separated. I started watching videos on YouTube, there I came across the videos of Mr. Cees Holtkamp. ""

The Amsterdam baker has made a series of baking films which inspired Rieu. “I baked something almost every day. My son Pierre and the grandchildren live a short distance away. And so I walked with my bakings to their house every day, because of the corona I was only allowed to give them through the window. Yet that was a daily moment of happiness. No, I haven't tried gooseberries with foam yet, but it will come. It's fairly easy."

You are forced to stay home, but so are all the people in your company.

“Yes, 120 permanent employees. Who can do almost nothing at the moment. I welcome the government's support and hope that it will continue through the fall. ""

And if not?

“Then I probably will not survive it in the end. Everyone understands that I cannot keep paying all my people while nothing is being earned. We haven't earned a penny since March. ""

Does that keep you awake at night?

“No, because I always sleep well and am an optimist. I was born on a Sunday, and it comes from that, I think. But during the day I sometimes wonder how this will continue. I still have some meat on the bones, that's why we can still sit here and eat a cake, but it is going the wrong direction at a tremendous speed. If this continues for another year, then I will be bankrupt. And 95 percent of all entertainment companies along with me."

Why don't you perform on a smaller scale, solo if necessary?

“That is not an option. And not fair to my orchestra. We all will go on together or not at all. And if we have to close down, afterwards we will still go on. I always say that I will live to be 140 years old, I mean that too. I'm 70 now, so I'm halfway through. So now I think: well, it has been a tough year, but there are 69 more years to come."

While Rieu speaks, the bell of the St. Peter's Church strikes half past three. The church is located opposite "Huis De Torentjes", which is the official name of Rieu's National Monument.

You said that you and your wife dreamed of this castle 26 years ago. How did you manage to buy it?

“As a child I fantasized about it when I read about Castle Molensloot
in the Tintin comics. I mentioned the comment my wife made during 
that walk that I still had a lots of records to sell. Well, the next year I 
sold a million of my "Strauss and Co" album. Since then nobody has 
been able to match me in the Netherlands. That was 1995, I played in the Amsterdam Arena during  halftime of the Ajax - Bayern Munich match. With all those flags. I believe I sold 100,000 CDs the next day, After that year we were able to buy this castle."

Why do you advise others not to buy a castle?

He laughs. “Because you first have to put 30 million in it which you won't see any more. Heating, the roof, foundations, walls, pipes, you name it. This property is built out of marl, very soft and brittle. There is no material which is worse."

And then it is also a national monument, which you may not just renovate.

“Funny that you should say that, because I had a lot of hassles with that. I was not allowed to fix it up. A little man came and looked, he said: only the affected bricks. But all those originally yellow bricks were black and I didn't want to turn my house into a checkerboard. He stood his ground. Yet I tackled it and made it beautiful. We don't live in Moscow here, do we? I'm still waiting for whoever is going to throw me in jail for it. It looks beautiful, doesn't it? I only want to get rid of that oak tree. ""

Let me guess: no permit?

“Well, I have requested one so many times. It's an old tree, maybe a hundred years old. But just a seedling and a piece of crap, it is totally lopsided. In addition, it is in the way of that chestnut tree, which would get a lot more space without that oak. But you really shouldn't remove such a tree without a permit."

Being at home a lot takes some getting used to for Rieu. Normally he travels the world, this year, in addition to the US, Chile and Israel were planned. He built a million-dollar company, which now is in dire straits for the second time. In 2008 he overextended himself by reconstructing the life-size Austrian castle "Schönbrunn" as a traveling set. Rieu literally thought very big and almost went


"We had 250 people on the set, but also another 250 to re-erect that castle every time. There was no profit in that. I ended up with a 30 million euro debts. During that time I did lie awake. I still remember the bank's visit very vividly. We sat in here and they looked around: what all can we seize? Fortunately, one of them said: let him play, that way he will at least earn something back. A year later I was 20 million in the positive. Nevertheless, it took the bank until 2018 to release me, which was disappointing to me. Even my Stradivarius had to ba pawned."

Which is worth millions?

“That's right. When I'm on the road, someone carries it in a suitcase so that I won't forget it. And every evening he goes upstairs with me to the bedroom. But does not lay in bed with me,  you know."

Who is allowed to touch that violin?

Nobody. Well, my wife is allowed to. But it is and remains a violin, which has to be played. I'm also just jump and dance with it on the Vrijthof. No, I won't drop it, I've been playing for 65 years and have never dropped a violin out of my hands.Whether it's worth ten Euros or millions."

You do not have to take the Stradivarius to the Vrijthof this year.

“That hurts. Every year we record the Vrijthof concert and show it as a film in more than 3000 cinemas in 60 countries. This year we cannot do that either, now we have made a cinema special with highlights from the past fifteen years. André van Duin presents and speaks with me about those moments. In the beginning you see images of empty streets and squares in Maastricht, while I play "Wishing you were somehow here again." Phew, those first ten minutes, I can't look at them. I get very emotional then."

Also because it is on your home turf?

“Yes, I was born in Maastricht, and as a Catholic kid there was this procession every year. I was in the church choir of the Sint Servaes, which is also on the Vrijthof. From the age of five to my eleven, then my voice broke. It's not only a huge loss for us. There are 120,000 people who live here, while 150,000 people spread over those three weeks come and visit my concerts every year. Last year, the municipality of Maastricht calculated that they stand to earn 30 million Euros from my concerts during that period. The hotels, restaurants, cafes are full, shops have triple turnovers. I was amazed, at such a high amounts. All that through music."

So you probably won't have to pay when you and your wife sit down on a terrace on the Vrijthof?

“Funny you should ask that. What do you think?''

I do not think so.

“Well, it does surprises me every time. I don't go there that often, because I hardly get any rest during the summer, but if I order a cup of coffee and a piece of vlaai after an interview: that will be 5 euro 50, Mr. Rieu. Isn't that incredible? Those entrepreneurs earn their money because of me. Feel free to write that down, they can put it in their pockets."

Have you started listening to different music in the corona time?

“I never listen to music. That sounds funny, doesn't it? Above all, I let others enjoy music. I don't know if I can say that yet, but next month we want to release an album with uplifting music, to bring joy. But listen myself? No. Not even in the car. I prefer it to be quiet. Silence is the most beautiful music there is.

Thanks to Ineke and Rob for the article 

And John's LONG Translation!!

Aug 8, 2020

Franks Steijns still crazy about "musical karate"


City carillonneur Franks Steijns still crazy about "musical karate"

Frank Steijns is celebrating his 25th anniversary this year as the city carillonneur of Heerlen. The versatile musician, known from Rieu's Johann Strauss Orchestra, is crazy about his Heerlen "heavy metal" - over 10,000 kilos of bronze bells - high up in the church tower.

"de Limburger," by Kim Noach: Anyone walking through the center of Heerlen on a summer day should not be surprised to hear all of a sudden "Nothing Else Matters" by Metallica from the bell tower of the Pancratius Church. City carillonneur Frank Steijns (49) from Maastricht has the popular rock song in his repertoire, along classics such as "Glück Auf."

This year, the musician is celebrating his 25th anniversary as the city carillonneur of Heerlen, Last year he celebrated a quarter of a century in the same profession in the city of Weert and in 2022 he will again be celebrating a silver party, but then in Maastricht. The festival is will be celebrated in Heerlen with a whole series of concerts (see below).

Heavy Metal

Steijns took over the position as city carillonneur from his father Mathieu who had been playing the carillon in Maastricht and Heerlen since the 1960s. “I remember that as a five-year-old boy I witnessed my father playing the new Servaas carillon. The fact that the entire city can hear you, made a big impression. I was so proud of my father. "I want to do that too," I told him enthusiastically. His answer: "Either you complete your education, or you stay away from it." Steijns smiles: "Yes, he was serious when it was about music."

The paternal advice did not fall on deaf ears. Steijns junior is studied at the Royal Carillon School in Mechelen, where he graduated summa cum laude in 1991. At the age of 23 he made his debut in Heerlen - at that time he was the youngest carillonneur in the world. “My father played everything from the classical genre, I also added pop songs such as Marco Borsato's "Most Dreams Are Deception," a big hit at the time. But I also play Metallica.” With a grin: "There is more than 10,000 kilos of bronze in that tower, that's heavy metal too isn't it?"


Anyone who wants to hear Steijns live just once, can have fun in August with a diverse number of concerts from classical to pop and jazz. His goal is to show the versatility of the instrument. “The Heerlen carillon is an undiscovered pearl, the Stradivarius of the carillons. And I really mean that."

He explains that the 49 bells have hung in the church tower since 1964 and were made by Royal Eijsbouts from Asten, who are known as "the crème de la crème" in the world of bell founders. The carillon was paid for by DSM at the time, Steijns happens to know. “During the heyday of the mines, there was sufficient money to go for quality. That is why there is still beautiful thick bronze works in the church tower. Today such a thing is unaffordable due to the price of bronze. The quality is reflected in the sound. How would I describe that? A warm, full sound, romantic. Not so "pingly."

The carillon was restored in 2011. Steijns: “We have replaced the old steel cables which connect the clocks to the keyboard with light but super strong Dyneema cables. Yes, also from DSM. ” 

Concerts to celebrate Steijn's anniversary 

In collaboration with "Parkstad Limburg Theaters," Frank Steijns will be celebrating his silver jubilee in August with a series of concerts in which the city carillonneur is assisted by various artists. 

- Sunday 9 August, 3 pm: violinist Enzo Kok and clarinetist Emil Szarkowicz 

- Tuesday 11 August, 11.00 am: Carboniferous singer and guitarist Rim Steijvers and flutist Iris van Cleef 

- Tuesday 11 August, 7 pm: Koen van Assche plays Beethoven (city carillonneur of, among others, Antwerp) 

- Thursday 13 August, 7 pm: App Your Song, concert filled with requests

- Saturday, August 15, 7 p.m.: singer Tamara Hoekwater and guitarist Pieter Vermeulen (both ex-Volumia) play jazz 

- Sunday August 16, 3 pm: Bronze-green Carillon with accordionist Carlo Plaum 

- Tuesday 18 August, 7 pm: youngest carillonneur in the world Elien Van den Broeck from Belgium 

- Saturday 22 August, 1 pm: Steijns will play Johann Sebastian Bach 

- Wednesday 26 August, 7 p.m .: three sopranos from Strauss Orkest Rieu (Madieke Marjon, Christina Petrou and Joline Soomers) sing pop and classics 

- Saturday 29 August, 7 pm: Canto Ostinato meets jazz with Jeroen van Veen and Mike del Ferro

Thanks to John for his translation.

Jul 14, 2020

André Rieu With friend André van Duin

With friend André van Duin, the Waltz King reminisces about his rich career.

André Rieu "VIENNA was my worst concert"

From "de Telegraaf": Setbacks, disappointments and even opposition ... ANDRÉ RIEU has been affected by it across the entire world. With ANDRÉ VAN DUIN he’s currently making a cinema production where he looks back at FIFTEEN YEARS OF VRIJTHOF CONCERTS. And looking back he does, with his comedian friend while on a Maastricht terrace awaiting his comeback on the stage ...

Setbacks always made you stronger you say.
"We have never avoided major challenges. Australia was of course a gigantic adventure. Whenever you see a program on TV in which customs turns all your suitcases inside out because they are afraid of non-native fungi, plants and food which tourists take with them - you can imagine what can happen when you see a complete Schönbrunn Palace in 250 containers arrive. In one of the boxes a snail was found and promptly, nothing else was cleared. Everything was gone through looking for more snails. And what turned out later? Fortunately, it was an Australian snail which had crawled between them so we were able to continue. At that moment you go crazy, but later you laugh about it.”

Which was the worst?
"Strangely enough, Vienna. There we were going to perform at the Michaelerplatz, near the Hofburg. But what we experienced there with the bureaucracy, that surpassed everything. Before that, Schönbrunn went well, and after that this concert would be performed in the city center. But the Austrians thought: "What does he think he can do?" It was all about lamp posts, manhole covers and fire hydrants. And nothing was allowed and nothing was could be done. Fortunately we had help from ZDF, the German TV who would mediate to get all the permits. We ran into a wall of opposition. When we asked our contact person how things were going, he just said optimistically: "Wien läuft!" (Vienna moves) That is still a great expression in our company, when things go wrong. "Hahaha. Wien läuft!" Actually it all turned out well in the end. During the concert I ironically thank all the Viennese officials in the districts for their incredible cooperation. Then you hear a laugh rolling from the first row to all rows behind it. That was so recognizable for everyone, apparently…”

But you receive a lot in return.
"In the sense of audiences reactions, yes. Beautiful letters from people who sometimes save for years to be able to attend a concert somewhere. This year we expected more than a hundred nationalities on the Vrijthof. It is therefore very regrettable that some people who had booked airline tickets and hotels will have to wait for a year now, hoping that they will still succeed. That is why I am happy with the Cinema Production which we have now recorded with ANDRÉ VAN DUIN and can be seen on August 20th. These are the highlights of fifteen years of Vrijthof concerts, narrated together with André, in an excellent image and sound quality.”

For yet one more reason, this has been a difficult year for you, André
"Yes, as people know, my husband MARTIN died in January. No one had any idea what was in store for them shortly after that. Suddenly corona reared and that of course also turned things upside down. I was very happy at that time that I had decided not to move at the last minute. The house on the canal was almost sold and I would have gone to a nice apartment. But now at least I have been able to spend those weeks in my familiar surroundings. And yes, I also went back to work. All of Holland Bakes, and with JANNIE VAN DER HEIJDEN I will go sailing again. Three episodes "Thinking of Holland" are now finished. We recorded on the river Vecht in Friesland, and here in Limburg in Thorn. It is so beautiful there! It is a wonderful program to be doing and it also leads to distractions. Just like this, a wonderful day in Maastricht!”

Are you two friends?
André Rieu: “Obviously, there is a lot of distance between our residences, and I am normally away a lot. But we always keep in touch. I also really sympathized with André when Martin passed. Yes, then I did let him know I was there for him. ”
André van Duin: “Very sweet, yes. We have known each other for a long time, I performed with André and his orchestra as "Mr. Wijdbeens." That resulted in a few collaborations and I also stood here on the Vrijthof as myself and sang Het Dorp. (The Village) We clicked immediately. ”
Rieu: "We have the same humor."
Van Duin: "And he even plays the violin along with that too!"

How did the friendship with Anthony Hopkins fair? The Silence of the Lambs movie star who had written a waltz?
"Yes, and we recorded and performed that in front of him. I don't know how things are now. He is quite a unique individual. At some point we had a very profound contact. What I always found weird was that he had a new phone number every week.” "What is that for?" I once asked, he said he had been doing that ever since there were cell phones. Then, in an interview, I said somewhere that he had tears in his eyes when he heard his own waltz. But according to him that was not the case: he never had tears in his eyes. After that it was done, I believe. Well, then that is that.

And in quick succession two hundred-year-old fans passed away.
“Yes, VERA LYNN of whom we always play "Land of Hope and Glory" while in England, which causes every hall to immediately turn upside down. Great that I was able to meet her. And of course you mean my oldest fan in Maastricht, SISTER LEONA. She was 105 years old. This nun already came to the Hieringbiete (Herring bites) on Ash Wednesday more than 25 years ago, the day after Carnival. There is where I always played in the Staargebouw. That was not allowed to do by Mother Superior, but she did it anyway. So she was already 75 years old at that time, but when she returned to the monastery - located here just behind the Vrijthof - and she heard where Sister Leona had been, then came the command: "To bed!" When she turned 100, she sat in the first row. And after that we danced on the square every year. She passed away this year, also a special woman.”

You certainly have never been in Maastricht for as long as you have now?
"All in one stretch, yes, that was long ago. But we are here quite frequently though" No matter how we travel around, we always plan to never be gone for more than three weeks. The orchestra members have partners, families and children. Being away for longer would not be good. Sometimes it is quite a puzzle, but this way it works out best. And now we are still here for a while. We miss performing together, because it is not just work of course, but a passion. We make the best of it, and we continue to hope.”

Thanks to John for the Translation and Ruud and Ineke for the article

Jul 11, 2020

André Writes a Letter To His Sixteen-Year-Old Self.

From "de Limburger Plus" 
Every week, a famous Limburger writes a letter to his sixteen-year-old self. This week: Violinist and orchestra leader André Rieu (70)

André Rieu looks back: "Skipping class with David Moszkowicz
 and eating ice cream at the V&D"

Hey, André of sixteen! Wake up! You're just sitting there dreaming in that classroom, about Edith and Ankie and all those other pretty girls. You don't feel like gym class again, so what do you do? You skip class with David Moszkowicz and together you are going to eat ice cream in the lunchroom of V&D(Large department store) in the Grote Straat. David treats and in return may copy your homework. When the ice cream is gone and the homework is finished, you talk about the future.

David wants to become a lawyer, just like his father Max. You say; "No, I'm not going to do it exactly like my father. I have been playing the violin since I was five and after the gymnasium I definitely want to go to the conservatory. That's all okay, but then afterwards I want something else. I'm going to start my own orchestra. And you know, I already have come up with a plan: I will start my own company! ”

David says, "An enterprise? As a violinist? You're crazy man, how are you going to do that? ”

"Well, for starters, with my plan I'm going to the Dragons' Den." (I've had future looking dreams in my life. Commercial television didn't really exist in the mid-1960s). "Oh yes, tight plan!" Says David. "And what do you say then?"

"Hello dear Dragons. I am André Rieu, I am a violinist and I want to start my own orchestra. I'm thinking about sixty person strong. With that I am going to tour all over the world. I understand that I cannot organize this entirely on my own, so I'm also going to start a production office. While on tour I also need some people, so in total I'll employ one hundred and forty people on a permanent basis. In order for things to run smoothly, I need everything in quadruplicate, so I have a whole set in Australia, another in South America, and two more on the way in container ships. And to have an extra nice decor, I recreate Schloss Schönbrunn in its original size and take it in triplicate around the world. During the summer I want to play at the Vrijthof with my orchestra, I build a big stage there, put up light poles and sound towers, and when people come from all over the world, about a hundred thousand, I've regained my costs and I also have some left over. But I do need a starting capital. Would the Dragons like to help me with that? ” David says: "Those Dragons will unanimously declare you crazy and inquire about your business plan."

"What is that?"

"Listen, if you don't even know what a business plan is, how do you expect to run a successful business?"

"Believe me, I feel it is going to work!"

"Take it from me, as your future lawyer - because I feel it in my bones that you will be needing them - those Dragons are not going to believe and invest in you."

"Doesn't matter, then we'll do without investors. My plan will work!”

Your road won't be that simple,

Little André of 16, you are a dreamer. But above all, stay like that and  you will make a lot of people happy with just that.

Thanks to Ineke for the article and John's Translation

André Rieu With Cinema Events

André Rieu With Cinema Events

From broadcasting station MAX's TV guide, by Eric van OnnaSince the traditional summer concerts by André Rieu on the Maastricht Vrijthof Square have been canceled, his team is working on a special event, exclusively for the cinemas. Now that fans can no longer go to Maastricht, André is bringing  Maastricht to the cinema. With the most beautiful moments of the Vrijthof from the past fifteen years presented by none other than André van Duin. The cinema event will take place on August 20th and can be seen for two weeks all over the country.

That cinema event is like rowing with the oars you have.
"It is, but it is a wonderful project for the cinemas in which the visitors, just like on the Vrijthof, can sing enthusiastically along and dance."

Do you lie awake now that you can't give concerts right now?
"No, I do not lie awake, because I also know that this will last for a long time."  

 You are responsible for 136 people who you have in permanent employment.
 "These people are already a great part of my life and together we already have experienced a lot together, good times and bad times. And about that responsibility: "I am an entrepreneur, and I'm there for them."

Do you have any long-term plans?
"I can't plan anything; that one and a half meters, I can't do a thing with that. I can't play just a little bit. My shows are great and compelling. When things are done half way, that doesn't work."

Will we see you perform again for crowded halls and bulging stadiums
"Oh yes, and it will happen sooner than you think. If no new contamination peaks arise, then is it going to be okay." The virus shows how vulnerable we as humans are." Yes and how!. Our entire life is nowadays fragile. Not only corona, but look at all those serious hacking attempts. If there soon happens to be a large power plant hack, then Europe or even the world will be without  power then you'll see what will happen."

Does music give you comfort during this period ??
"Oh yes, I live for the music."

"I say: we forget this year and afterwards we again go happily along"

So I shouldn't come to you with a question like: ever thought about stopping?
"No, I wouldn't do that, haha. I say, "We forget this year and then we again go happily along. I'm seventy now, me - I will be 140, so we're still going seventy years."

Why won't you try for eternal life?
"I'm just too old for that. But I happened to read something recently about the British researcher Aubrey de Gray, who says the man or woman who will become a thousand years old on earth is already walking around."

Are you aware of your own vulnerability?
"No, not at all, otherwise it could not be living the way I live now. I exercise three times a week. And then it is just not a little walk but heavy strength training with a personal coach. I now managed to get three quarters of my orchestra into sports. I didn't have to force any of them into it, but my personal coach goes everywhere with us. My orchestra members saw that and a lot of people then thought:" I'm going to do that too."

Do you now during this time have more time for other things?
"Our last concert was 18 March in America and then we had to head home head over heels. From that moment on I now bake cakes every day. I am now a baker."

Do we now have a new candidate for "All of the Netherlands bakes?
"Well no, but you know, baking is a very very positive thing. Of course I do not eat all those cakes myself. Fortunately, the grandchildren live fifty meters away from me and the neighbors enjoy them too."

What is your favorite cake?
"Paris Brest is my favorite. The base is choux pastry filled with praline cream. "

What are your dreams?
"My main dream is that we can quickly again make music, travel around the world to make people happy again."

Are you a dreamer or someone who wants to get to the heart of the matter very quickly?
"Originally I am a dreamer, but now my company is so big that I can no longer dream alone. But I'm still someone who first does and then only thinks: what does it cost?"

You just said you want to become 140 years old, but how long will you be performing?
"Well, that is what I said. Until I reach 140!"

Are you serious about that?
"Yes, I am very serious about that."

Soon the world will be corona free, which will be the first stadium you want to see, packed with very enthusiastic and dancing fans?
"The very first thing I am going to do here is walk on the streets in Maastricht and hug everyone. I find it so sad, that rotten one and a half meters, that's so unnatural."

Thanks To John For His Translation and Ineke For The Article

Jul 8, 2020

André Rieu: Maastricht Is Heaven!

 André Rieu: Maastricht Is Heaven! 

Chapeau magazine, July–August 2020: For the last 15 years July has been the month in which André Rieu gave his successful concerts on the Vrijthof in Maastricht. Corona has spoiled that for this year. Nevertheless, the world famous orchestra conductor (with CHAPEAU magazine) again returns to the Vrijthof and the rest of the center to speak about his city. The tour is made with journalist Jo Cortenraedt, cameraman Ben Brack and photographer Marcel van Hoorn. In the summer edition of Chapeau Magazine, which will be in stores effective July 1, the most eye-catching parts of the interview, including the tour of the city, will appear. L1 TV will then broadcast "The Week of André Rieu" from 6 to 10 July in a number of special episodes of the program “Limbourgeois”. Each evening, another part of the interview will be aired, as well as the walk through the center of Maastricht. On July 15 and 18, L1 will broadcast a 55-minute compilation with highlights of the Vrijthof concerts of recent years. These episodes can later not only be viewed online at L1, but also on the websites of Maastricht Marketing and the Chapeau Magazine. The social media of the organizations involved, will also be linked to the program during that period. Thanks to this collaboration, a large audience will be reached in Limburg and beyond, and André Rieu is again fully present in Maastricht this year, although in a different way.

Maastricht Celebrates André Rieu In July 

July is now traditionally André Rieu's month in Maastricht. Over the past 15 years, the world-renowned orchestra leader has given over a hundred concerts in his home town, attended by hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world. Unfortunately, due to corona, the 12 planned concerts cannot take place this summer. But Maastricht Marketing still wants André Rieu's "spirit" to roam the city again this year. For this purpose, Chapeau Magazine looked at the multimedia possibilities. 

A large interview with André Rieu was chosen, as well as a walking tour with him through his beloved places in Maastricht. Never before has the most famous resident of the city told so much about his own roots and why he tells on all international stages that he comes from "the most beautiful city" in the world.

To stand in the middle on the Vrijthof is for André Rieu now quite emotional. Normally the large square in the middle of the city is seen to be full with chairs and the stage for his orchestra. Now it's empty. "That gives a feeling of sadness, but that's the way it is. We hope for sure to be here again next year. Such a whole period without performances, I miss it very much. I bake pies at home and keep busy with the grandchildren, but I want to go again that time. I'm sure I'll never retire." In all his performances, from Melbourne to Sao Paulo, Rieu says he is from the most beautiful city in the world, "my hometown, Maastricht." I really mean that too. Everything I say on stage, I mean, because the people take it that precise. When you don't mean what you say, you can't sustain that for forty years. I find Maastricht to be awesome, I was born here. It is a unique city. My success started with the "Heringe Biete." That could only have started in Maastricht, it has to do with a certain atmosphere. Now take the “Preuvenement”. They try to copy that everywhere, but it fails. It is due to the special situation here on the square, the mentality, there is something." 

The Vrijthof can actually charm him. "Where do you get this? All those terraces around it. And the square itself is empty. In most squares there are statues, not here, that's fine. The plane trees, the atmosphere, everything. I am extremely proud to be a Maastricht resident. As a child, I was a member of the St. Servaas Basilica choir from the age of six to eleven, when my voice broke. I was always allowed in to the procession. The Vrijthof is home for me. The church services were a kind of theatre for me. I was hooked on that. At Easter for example, when the sun shone through those stained glass windows. We were standing in the choir loft, and all those priests in their vestments, ten here, ten there, the incense. Pure theater. That definitely inspired me, it is in my blood. When I'm at the Vrijthof during my concerts for example and I let those dancers all come up, that has to be nice all together. That comes from then”. The buildings according to his taste, are very special, not only the churches, but also the theater and the museum. "All those people who come from abroad to my concerts, can't believe their eyes. They have already seen the Vrijthof more than once on all those DVDs and in the TV shows. When, after so many  years they are standing there themselves, that's one great experience, they're in ecstasy. When Anthony Hopkins was here - not quite an unknown - he said, "Ah, finally." For many people this square is a dream which came true. Many of my concert visitors immediately stay here for a whole week, to really to get to know the city."

Andre Rieu doesn't think it's getting too crowded in Maastricht with tourism. "No, that we should not really exaggerate that. When you look a little around yourself in the world, then Maastricht is still quite peaceful. You cannot compare it to Venice. There, I believe live about 55,000 people, while there are many millions of tourists visiting. In Maastricht here they really don't come with those numbers. And let's be honest, our concert series also bring in some
money for the city. Just like with the TEFAF, the hotels are full and the shops are busy. Many entrepreneurs are grateful to me. There are, of course, people who complain. But I think Maastricht is a very quiet town, where you can live and stay and linger." According to him, the charm of Maastricht also has something to do with the language. "In the past Maastricht residents spoke French. When I was studying at the conservatory in Liège, next to it was a music store. So the residents of Liège and Maastricht could very easily converse. That, sorry to say, is no longer so. But it is also not the reason that Maastricht has been visited a lot lately by people from outside. It has always been an international open city. It also has something to do with the history of what has happened here. The Spaniards, the French, you name it."

Rieu loves the presence of many foreign students. "All those youngsters with their different languages, they make the city extra lively. Of course there are people who do not like it, who are afraid that “their Maastricht” will be taken away. But I don’t see it that way. These young students would love to come here, wouldn't you come to a city like that? No, it is only good. We also notice with the concerts that many young people attend. The idea is that only seniors attend, but that is not the case at all. Especially in recent years you see more and more younger people in the concerts, in fact all over the world. We are apparently creating a new audience. Currently I am seventy, but as you know I would like to become 140, so I have to assure a young audience, otherwise my fans pass away beneath my feet. Those young people oblige me to keep on playing." Walking via the Bredestraat (Wide street) to the Onze Lieve Vrouweplein (Our Dear Lady Square) André still remembers the mini concert he gave several years ago for broadcaster MAX. (2016: See ). "This square is just like Paris. It is so romantic! It was so much fun at that mini concert. Of course we played the song “Oh Sterre der Zee” (Oh, Star of the Sea). That was pure nostalgia. Although I did not sing in the choir of this basilica, that does not matter. I think it is important that children join a choir to sing. You learn a lot, also in terms of social contact." 

‘t KNIJPKE (the little pub)
Seldom he sits on a terrace in the city center. "When I sit on a terrace with my wife Marjorie, I am quickly recognized and then you have to pose for pictures. That is not always fun. The Maastricht residents leave me most of the time alone, but I also understand that foreign tourists like to take their chance. Of course." André Rieu considers Maastricht "not to be Dutch”. "I understand very well that the people from above the rivers view us as "foreigners”. And that is actually true." We walk along the St. Bernardusstraat and stop in front of a building where the café “’t Knijpke” was formerly located. “Here was one of my first performances. That must have been some 45 years ago. Owner Jef Vliegen had advertised for us and it was fully booked for three nights. Wonderful, in that cheese cellar, next to the fireplace."

We walk beneath the Helpoort to the Jeker river and the Pater Vink-tower. “During my youth I lived here in the Begijnenstraat. Very idyllic. We used to climb on the ancient city wall. Now there is a fence around it, but it is still very beautiful. This is one of my favorite places. A city with an old historic center just has something more. Your roots are important. I would not like to move frequently. I think it is important to have your own roots somewhere. I don’t consider moving to another city. My fans say: "Maastricht is Heaven." Also since the city is relatively small with 120.000 residents. Then you can keep the human size. That does not happen in a city of 10 million people. Much too big, I don't like that. In Maastricht everything is within reach. It does not take an hour to go from one side of the city to the other”. 

At the long city wall, Rieu walks along the old canons. "The first wall. Impressive how the early residents defended the city. Maastricht was a popular fortified city, there was a lot of fighting. Not too far from here the well-known French musketeer D’Artagnan perished. He ate his last breakfast in my castle which was owned at that time by a count. Besides, I find those houses here on top of this wall really beautiful."

We take the stairs to get on the High Bridge, where the view of the city center as well as the Wyck quarter perfect is. “Yes, Mother Meuse along with the old bridge (St. Servaas bridge) is a silhouette which we have often used in our own video- and TV recordings. A river makes a city more beautiful. In earlier days Wyck was almost abroad, ha, ha. Anyway, the residents of the city center did not come to Wyck that often. But back then I performed often in the "Hotel Maastricht" which is now called Crowne Plaza. This area has developed nicely, with all nice small shops and restaurants.” Not only Wyck is lively, he also notices how the area around the Boschstraat is taking shape. “That is a beautiful street, which looked rather unkempt in the past. But now you can see a lot of improvements, like the former Sphinx factory and the Bassin (historic inner harbor). Now you have a lot more connection from that side of the city with the rest. So… Maastricht is becoming all the more beautiful. And it is already so beautiful!!

Thanks to John and Ineke for the translation




Pierre and André September 30, 2016 Maastricht












Photo Taken at Mexico City Concert ~ September 2013




"Hello to all my fans on The Harmony Parlor!"

Soundcheck in Maastricht 2013 (RTL Photo)

Maastricht 2012 ~ "André on The Theater Steps" by Bee

Maastricht 2012 ~ "André and Pierre on The Theater Steps" by Bee