When you think about Dutch music you might think about accordions, draaiorgels and other instruments that go well with the typically Dutch klompendans: dancing on wooden shoes. Although you can still find draaiorgels in cities with lots of tourists, the Dutch associate accordions with everything but Dutch music and when you turn on the radio you don’t hear that much Dutch anyway. And when it comes to a klompendans; hardly anyone has wooden shoes these day, and those who have them don’t use them for dancing. Do you want to learn more about our music?
Ever since the Golden Age (17th century), when the Dutch roamed the oceans, they had to speak other languages quickly and communicate with hand and feet. This lead to an international attitude towards almost everything, including music. There are quite some bands and artist who only sing in English. That doesn’t mean that Dutch music isn’t appreciated. In fact there are several names to indicate what kind of sound you can expect, whatever the language it is sung in.
The Palingsound is typical for the village of Volendam and although many of the Palingsound singers sing in Dutch, The Cats, who sang in English, were one of the first who had this sound.
This type of music, and especially when sung in Dutch, isn’t heard on every radio station.
Dutch dance music on the other hand is worldwide known. Many Dutch DJs hardly see Dutch soil as they travel from one festival to another and fly from place to place for concerts and festivities. You can find a lot of Dutch DJs, even ‘our own’ Jeroen van de Velden, in Ibiza during summer. Since the best DJ in the world contest started in 1997, it has been dominated by DJs like Armin van Buuren, Tiësto, Hardwell and Martin Garrix. Do you think furious sounds and beats are in our blood?
When it comes to songs sang in Dutch there are roughly three groups: you either love it, hate it or quietly appreciate it without telling about it. The latter seems to be the case when a whole crowd of people sings along out loud to Marco Borsato’s Dromen zijn bedrog and everybody denying they know the song or the artist.
Somehow having an international sound and therefore singing in English is always appreciated more than singing in Dutch. Bands and singers who have been able to overcome the quiet appreciation have some unique features: Think of Bløf, who travelled around the world to work together with artists from different backgrounds and they made a track with The Counting Crows. Another example are The Toppers, a cooperation of several singers, who sell out the biggest venue several times each year. Their shows, always themed, with dancers, outrageous decorations and glitter and glamour are over the top, but people from all over the country and beyond the borders get together for these shows. It is said you don’t get in if you aren’t dressed up.
Next to the Palingsound and the dance music there are Nederpop and Nederhop that cover almost every type of music and every artist in the Netherlands, apart from classical music. The nice thing about that is that artists aren’t put into a fixed genre which gives them freedom to do whatever they like. Apart from some punk influences in the past, rock has always influenced this ‘genre’. Some internationally known artists are: Waylon and Ilse DeLange (both known Eurovision) who prefer country music, Anouk (also Eurovision) and Kane are more into Rock and Within Temptation and Di-Rect cover most of the underground scene from punk to grunt and metal.
Nederhop, Dutch hiphop and rap, is known for its carefree vibe. While most rap music often has a blaming and ‘I’m-in-misery’ character that involves a lot of swearing, Dutch pop-rap is often about everyday life and events and it’s easy to relate to.
Of course the Dutch sing about tragedy, romances and unanswered love, but whether it is typically Dutch or not to sing about everyday life like the weather, they sure love to sing about subjects that sound strange at first. Cycling, walking around in a beehive or about a bike’s luggage carrier isn’t considered weird at all and especially those are sung along by almost everybody.
Another feature you often see among Dutch artists is that they don’t necessarily stick to one genre like Kensington (a rock band) performing with Armin van Buuren. Di-Rect used to be a punk band, but play rock nowadays and they also performed with Wibi Soerjadi who is a piano virtuose.
You could say that Dutch music is like the people living in The Netherlands; diverse and internationally orientated, unconventional but down to earth and switching from one genre to another, just because they can