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It’s hardly surprising that Dutch singers often croon about Holland, but did you know that several foreign artists have also waxed lyrical about the lowlands? Below is a small yet by no means exhaustive overview of foreign songs about the Netherlands.
(Tulpen uit) Amsterdam
Most Dutch people know the words of the famous song, “Tulpen uit Amsterdam” (“Tulips from Amsterdam”), by heart – but even those totally unfamiliar with the Dutch language can still enjoy this little gem in a number of other versions. Max Bygraves for example, had a hit with “Tulips from Amsterdam” back in 1958, whilst German singer, Axel Fischer, sang “Traum von Amsterdam” in 2008, and Danish singer, Poul Krebs, translated the song into “Vejen til Amsterdam“. In fact Amsterdam is referred to in many foreign songs – French singer, Jacques Brel, sang about Amsterdam in 1964, and this particular number has since been covered by among others, David Bowie, Janis Ian and Coldplay.
Rotterdam, Holland and Netherlands
Amsterdam is by no means the only Dutch inspiration for foreign artists – indeed plenty of other Dutch cities, as well as Holland itself, are regular themes. British pop group, the Beautiful South, sang about Rotterdam in 1996, American rock band, Neutral Milk Hotel, released a song in 1998 called “Holland, 1945” (which referred to the fate of Anne Frank and her family), and American singer-songwriter, Dan Fogelberg, sang about “Nether Lands” in 1977. And windmills have long been a favoured foreign song topic, as in the dreamy Bing Crosby number, “Little Dutch Mill” in 1934. Even Dutch playschools got a mention in the jazz song, “In A Little Dutch Kindergarten. (Down By The Zuider Zee)”, by American singer, Jan Garber, in the 1930s!
Prefer to read this article in Dutch? Then why not visit our sister blog, Heimwee.info, specifically intended for Dutch emigrants abroad?