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Dutch Military Tattoo – A Year Gone By

The 2014 finale with bikes far left and New Guard America front left.

The 2014 finale with bikes far left and New Guard America front left.

About this time last year I was writing about attending the Netherlands Military Tattoo because it was the first big event we attended after settling into our new home, school, work schedules and such. The most exciting aspect of the performance I knew about going into the tattoo was the Military Dutch Bicycle Band–and they certainly did not disappoint–and there was so much more.

Because of the theme last year “...it looked for a moment like Les Miserables was getting ready to start, but it was a re-enactment set to music of the landing of Wilem I in his Netherlands kingdom 200 Years ago.

With a year under my belt and the recently attended Prinsjesdag, different items stand out to me as I consider the taptoe (in  Dutch) this year. 1) The police are always included. There is a national police force with horses, bands, and honor guards. So when you visit the ticketing page you see the discount options for Dutch active military, veterans, and police. 2) The international component of the extravaganza is impressive. The rifle drill team New Guard America and Oman’s Police band were special additions last year that added flavor just as this year’s groups no doubt will. 3) There is always so much to celebrate. I didn’t know much about the arrival of King Willem the First, but this year the themes include the 70th Anniversary of WWII Liberation, 350 yrs of the Dutch Marine Corps, and 200 years of the National Medal of Military Courage (Order of Willem).

Drum Corps will play an important part in the 2015 show, and as a former percussionist (youtube here) I wish we could attend. Alas, much changes after a year of settling in. We have Athletic Booster responsibilities, Cross Country, Basketball, and a Boy Scouts overnight event this weekend. Still, I wish the 900+ participants of the tattoo (including the Quantico Marine Corps Band from Virginia USA) all the best.

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Kristin King is an author living the expat life in the Netherlands with her family.

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Posted by on September 26, 2015 in Living in Holland

 

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Holland Military Tattoo – It’s Not What You’re Thinking

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 1.38.41 PMA military tattoo is not what you’re thinking…unless you’re thinking of a huge show featuring military bands…then it IS what you’re thinking. It’s not our typical date night, but I was looking forward to the Netherlands National Tattoo 2014 in part because I wanted to see a band on bicycles. Yes, seriously.

They enter in the dark. Small lights shining in rows. And BAM! There they are, playing their instruments one-handed, moving in formation, and even repairing a flat (staged) mid-show. I played mallets (e.g. xylophone, marimba, etc.) in high school, so my favorite rider was the guy with a vertical set of bells attached to the front of his bike. My smile was a mile wide. But this wasn’t the highlight of the show.

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 1.52.40 PMFrom the NL Corps National Reserve, Marine Buglers Corp, the robust sound of the Belgian unit, to the NL Police steel-drum band, this was a great show. Oman’s Royal Police Band was the best in marching formations, and the choreography of 6 horses and 6 motorcycles from the Gendarmerie Corps made folks gasp. Still, it wasn’t the best part.

The seated orchestra would not be out-done. So their saxophone soloist “parachuted” in from the rafters while playing. He was lowered right into his chair, though his airborne uniform didn’t match the dress of his other band mates. Not long after, it looked for a moment like Les Miserables was getting ready to start, but it was a re-enactment set to music of the landing of Wilem I in his Netherlands kingdom 200 Years ago.

The finale with bikes far left and New Guard America front left.

The finale with bikes far left and New Guard America front left.

More responses of awe were inspired by the New Guard America rifle drill team than any other performing group. According to their webpage, “There are currently 13 World Records recorded by Guinness in the category of Rifle Exhibition Drill. New Guard America holds them all.” Needless to say, it was a thrill to watch them work with their bayoneted rifles. We were privileged to meet their leader, Constantine Wilson.

However, the highlight of the show was the performance of one musician on one instrument. Trumpet virtuoso Eric Vloeimans stole the show. My date, who played the trumpet in high school, said, “I didn’t even know a trumpet could do that.” We were both stunned. I can’t think of a time outside of church when music moved me so. I searched on YouTube for some comparable piece to share with you and couldn’t find it. If you have a few minutes though, try Vloeimans’ “Requiem”.

What a terrific night.

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Kristin King is an author who recently relocated to The Netherlands (which includes Holland). Her top sellers are “Unsinkable Vampire” and “Cain’s Coven,” and her latest novel in the Begotten Bloods Series is Death Taint.

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2014 in Living in Holland, Moments

 

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