Castle Out of The Scaffolding
André Rieu earns more than ever before
Expensive restoration completed. A few years ago André Rieu avoided total bankruptcy, but now he is back fiddling in full swing. The gains of the Maastricht Waltz King have increased to roughly six million a year. That makes him one of the top earners in the Dutch showbiz. Nevertheless, sacrifices had to also be made. A portion of those millions was used to renovate his castle "Huis, de Torentjes" (House, the small Turrets) on a grand scale. Now it looks more attractive than ever.
More now than ever before André Rieu is the pride of the Netherlands in the music world. His agenda for 2015 is filled to the top with performances in places like Mexico, Sweden, Denmark, Romania, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, France, and Germany and of course he is not likely to forget the Vrijthof in Maastricht. Every year from all over the world, half a million people visit Rieu’s concerts there. So his concerts can be placed on the same level as those from big pop stars such as Elton John, Barbara Streisand, and teenage idol Justin Bieber.
And financially André Rieu is better off now. That was sorely needed, because six years ago he was on the brink of total bankruptcy. He had to borrow 34million Euros to stay afloat, mortgaging everything he owned in his business to the bank, including his very expensive Stradivarius and his name. With the repayment of his million Euros debt, all is well now, and since after he reorganized his company for the better, the violinist earns more now than ever before. He recently published his earnings for 2013, and that revealed a large profit of 5.7 million Euros. The year prior to 2013 his profits were 5 million Euros and the year prior to that 3.3 million. He has never earned more and to think this is all clear profit, even after paying all the taxes. To achieve this, Rieu really had to cut costs. So in the last few years he had to say good-bye to 21 employees, shrinking his workforce in three years from 115 to 94.
Previously the star violinist had a hand in doing the craziest things. For his performances in Europe an entourage of thirteen fully filled freight trucks followed him of which three hauled only the chandeliers and carpets. That was so as to create the proper ambiance in the concert halls. During his tour through America, a bus laden with only fitness equipment rode along. He also copied the Viennese castle "Schönbrunn. The dragging along of all those items not directly related to his music, took huge amounts of money, but that did not keep the violinist awake at night, because he never did it for the money. Under pressure from the impending bankruptcy, another critical look was taken at the spending pattern of the violinist and choices had to be made. The Rieu caravan primarily travelled around the world on borrowed money, and with the last one, he and his wife Marjorie financed that one with all their private possessions. They were buried under a mortgage of millions. He borrowed 2.5 million to build a new studio, and around his castle "de Torentjes" in Maastricht he purchased numerous building so as to create his own little neighborhood, including homes for his two sons.
Now that the last few years’ business has again been profitable, and Rieu is earning millions like water, money also became available for his greatest possession, his castle, for a drastic renovation. That is very necessary every few years since "Huis, de Torentjes" is almost 500 years old. It dates back to 1526. Up to the square tower on top of the roof, the castle was encased in scaffolding. A few years ago they discovered that part of the St. Peter’s mountain, where Rieu resides, was at one time part of the sandstone pits. During sewer works on André’s street, remnants of a tunnel and railway tracks, an underground sandstone wall, a gutter, building components and two fragments of a gravestone from 1734 were found.
In 2015 the castle again appears in a spick and span condition, fully restored to its former glory. Since the castle is a monument, all the old details must be maintained every hundred years or so, thereby not changing the outer appearance. Of course this was taken into account with this large scale renovation. It is expected that the millions will continue to flood into Rieu’s company for the next several years. And then to think that in the beginning of his career it took him years to land a record contract. The young André was successful and performed mostly in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, but no one wanted to release his music. "It took me seven years to land a record deal" he once said. The first record boss with whom he had an appointment, asked him; "What do you play? Waltzes? Then he made a sound as if he had to vomit. He really did that" André told. But I kept going back to the record companies and after seven years, someone finally listened. The last record boss saw something good there, since in the meantime André Rieu has sold over thirty million records and DVD’s worldwide.
Thanks to Ineke for the article and John’s ©translation