Thursday, October 1, 2009

Beatlemania in the Netherlands: the one and only visit from the lads from Liverpool

The September -October edition of XM Magazine featured an interesting article looking back on the post-war years in the Netherlands as we enter the last few months of the first decade of the 21st century.

Like in many other countries, the 1960s was a decade of change, rock and roll and people challenging the status quo in the Netherlands. The popularity of The Beatles with the Dutch youth epitomises the clash with the older generation; the tutting of the older folk audible in society. Nevertheless, that was no barrier to The Beatles here.

They reached the top of the Dutch chart 21 times in their career and on 5 June 1964, The Beatles arrived at Schiphol for a two-day visit. It was their only visit to the Netherlands - and the scenes that welcomed them were similar to the 'Beatlemania' that hit them wherever they landed but of course the Dutch have their own particular style.... evident even 4o years ago. Three thousand screaming fans greeted them and among the welcoming parade were girls dressed in traditional Volendam costumes.

That same day the group recorded a 30-minute show for the VARA in Cafe-Restaurant Treslong, Hillegom, hosted by a young Berend Boudewijn who translated questions from the audience. After being mobbed the show was edited to rescue the program - as the band left the stage the music and singing continued....... The show was subsequently screened on Monday 8 June.

The following day the group took a boat trip along the capital's canals and because of the hysteria and volume of the crowd, they arrived two hours late for their concerts in the Blokker Exhibition Hall in Amsterdam. Thousands of fans lined the street, some jumping into the canals to get closer to their idols. These fans were quickly removed by the 'water police'.

Notable was that it was Jimmy Nicol on drums during the Dutch shows, following the collapse of Ringo Starr a few days earlier, suffering with tonsillitis and pharyngitis.

The following day the lads from Liverpool returned to England, before flying off to Hong Kong for the next leg of their tour.

Happy days.. but The Beatles never returned to the Netherlands. I wonder why. Was it the costumes that put them off? The canal invasion? Or the fact that they had to perform in a cattle auction hall?

If you are a Beatles fan and want to see more, check out the Nederlands Fotomuseum collection.

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