Child labor in the Netherlands?
The weekly Saturday blog by Jo Cortenraedt, chief editor Chapeau magazine
Saturday 6 May 2017:In what can a country be great? I think there are few other countries with so many rules as in the Netherlands. And so few countries with as many 'inspectors' as in the Netherlands. Because, naturally, those rules need to be controlled. And that's a big job.
In North Korea, everyone is his neighbor's inspector, and we are not quite so bad yet. But that the inspections occasionally go over the top, again proves the issue of so-called 'child labor law' which André Rieu would have allowed at his 2015 Vrijthof concerts.
I was there when a group of young Romanian pan flute players could play a few numbers during the successful concerts in Bucharest. The audience was enthusiastic, the musicians too, everyone was happy. So André Rieu spontaneously thought : "It would be nice if I ask them to play on the Vrijthof."
As always, the guest performers are well looked after, are not allowed to perform alone, but can also have a few beautiful days in a city where most of them have never been. Now again everyone is happy.
But then at that moment, the Calvinistic tricks of our society surface. No, those musicians did not come here for the fun, they were "exploited" as it were, and had to perform "child labor" in the eyes of the relevant inspector of the national labor inspection.
It is of course excellent that we fight child labor in the Netherlands. No starving children in quarries or in stifling sewing factories, as is happening, for example, in some Asian countries. But making music together, that's a party, and not work.
But the inspector in question was not to be appeased, and so a large penalty followed. With the result that André Rieu Productions has become a lot more cautious until the legal ramifications are completely cleared up. As a consequence, the Eijsden marching band Sainte Cécile, who performs every year at the Vrijthof in the evening around nine for about half an hour, has now only allowed musicians aged 18 and over to play for the last year. While that marching band is bursting with young members. But to avoid new fines, the risks are not taken. That means that young boys and girls from, for example, 17 years old, and love to play at the Vrijthof, cannot participate because of that overzealous inspector. While although at that age they are out enjoying themselves very well until well after midnight.
Now I hear you say that because of such inspectors, we can also forget about the World Music Competition in Kerkrade and the Oud Limburgs Schuttersfeast (Old Limburg Marksman competition), because just about every participating marching band, fanfare or marksman organization has--fortunately-- a lot of young members.
And now here is the point, there it is allowed because it's all about amateur music. While the concerts of André Rieu are being seen as being commercial. And apparently with culture, money cannot be earned. I detect a hint of jealousy here. Maybe André Rieu is perhaps too successful and should be reined in?
I think we in the Netherlands and as well as abroad should really try to help children who are seriously in jeopardy. For example, victims of child pornography. But also the many children who, even in our own country, are being abused. Let all the inspectors chase after those problems, and when they do, then they are really doing something useful. There is still a lot of work to be done in those areas.
But young people who happily make music, you leave them alone and allow them that pleasure. And only enforce the rules just as they were actually meant to be, namely to prevent serious and abusive situations. A festive musical evening does not belong in that category.
Thank You To John for the Article and the Translation of it!