Music from the Provinces

The last period of their “singing live” is for many Dutchmen singing seasongs in a choir. After their childhood, their schooltime, their studytime and their time in the army, most men (not all!) stop singing. Beeing pensioners many of them like to go, once a week, to a guesthouse to sit again in a circle of old friends to have a drink and have bit fun again together. At the end of the 90-ties they even started to form new choires. These choires visit (among other places) retirementhomes. So they form a welcome social link between the post active and the inactive older Dutch.


One of those choires is Albatros.

The famous Republiek of the Seven United Provinces consisted of: Groningen, Frisia, Overijssel, Gelderland, Utrecht, Holland and Sealand. These were the “sea-provinces” that had fleets, so seesongs were known. Also there were choirs of retired seamen who sang the seasongs. Older people who did not sail were ofter member of a church choir. (The seaprovinces are also the calvinist ones).

After the 1960s, these fleets went to countries that payed less and a growing prosperity offered sufficient jobs in which one did not have to be far away from home for months. So there grew room for other pensioners in that choirs. Partly because of the churches many pensioners sought their relaxation in such choirs. So since the 90’s, many new choirs have been set up to deal with that growing interest. From that time on, there are also new choirs established even in the (Catholic) landside provinces without a maritime tradition.

Of course, women have their own clubs, as a women’s voice does not fit in a “sailor” choir, they thought, but today women are increasingly appearing in these men’s choirs. At first as conductors and / or musicians, but lately also more often as singers.
One of the first times the audience saw a woman singer entering a choir was in a performance of:
Mein Vater wos ain Dutchman. Is the old spirit of the 1960s still alife?

Most of these choirs are in fact amateurs (societies) and thus do not have any real financial drives. Also, the recordings (if made) are rarely commercial. As a result, quite a lot of this music can be found on the internet.

Here are examples from all Dutch provinces. Keep in mind that songs on sea shipping became popular, in the landside provinces, at the end of the 1990s. An attempt is made to show the regional languages as much as possible:

The seaside province Groningen was mainly active in fishing  and in coastal shipping on the Baltic Sea.

Shantykoor, Opwierde:              Star of the Southsea,                         (Low Saksonian),
Baaiermer   Mannenkoor:          My Grunninger country                      (Low Saksonian),
Shantykoor, Albatros:                Potato land,                                        (Low Saksonian),
Shantykoor, Magalan Singers:  On de corner of the stonestreet,        (Low Saksonian),
Shantykoor, Oosterstörm:          The harbour of Delfzijl,                      (Low Saksonian).

Shantykoor, Opwierde:              7 months on the ocean,                      (Dutch),
Shantykoor, Oosterstörm:         Mixture,                                               (Dutch),
Piratenkoor, Doekegat,             Mixture,                                               (Dutch),

Shantykoor, Oosterstörm:         Santiana,                                             (English),
Shantykoor, Voorwaarts:           Fire in the galley,                                (English),
Shantykoor, Tolbert:                  The Rose of Allendale,                       (English),
 Voorwaarts:           Mix. (In Klaipeda, Litauwen)               (English),

Shantykoor, Albatros:                Three team (Troïka),                          (Russian),
Shantykoor, Albatros:                Kalinka,                                              (Russian),
Shantykoor, Albatros:                On de Road (Vpoetj),                         (Russian).

In addition to fishing in the Zuiderzee until 1938, the seaside province Friesland was also active in shipping to, in particular, Scotland.

Lemster Mannenkoor:               The Fate of Theo,                              (Frisian),
Lemster Mannenkoor:               The Fatherland,                                 (Frisian),
De Pôllesjongers,Woudsend:    Frisians want to sing,                        (Frisian),
Keallepoaten, Joure:                 Frisian songs,                                    (Frisian),
Reboulje, ???:                           Marije Maria (Frisian love song),       (Frisian).

Bluswaterkoor, Stiens:              De Vissersman,                                 (Dutch),
Windkracht 10, Makkum:          De Vissersman,                                 (Dutch),
De Hellingbazen, Feanwâldenthe girl of a fisherman,                      (Dutch).

Thialf stadion (record singing):  It is five o’clock in the morning,         (English),
Thialf stadion (record zingen):  Oh Frysland I long to you,                 (Frisian),
Thialf stadion (record singing):  Frisian is endless,                             (Frisian),
Thialf stadion (record singing): Friezen sjonge, (Frisians sing),         (Frisian).
Thialf stadion,                           P.Mulierlaan 1, Heerenveen, (Kaart) Tel.: 0513-637.700.

Note: The Thialf stadion is, normally, not for football but for skating!

Drenthe is a landside province. Until the Kingdom of the Netherlands was founded, it belonged to the Oversticht (thus, in fact, was a colony of Utrecht). Some people worked on ships from other provinces. Especially on Frisian and Groninger ones.

De Melkrobot:                           Donot price a day befor the evening(Low Saksonian),
Harm en Roelof, Sleen:           The most beautiful gril of Slien,           (Low Saksonian),

De Naoberzangers:                  The girl at the lock,                             (Dutch),
Piratenkoor, ‘t Zwarte gat:        Slave choir (Verdi),                             (Dutch),
Piratenkoor, Stormvogels:        Like friends do,                                   (Dutch),
Chantykoor, De Bargzangers:  Mixture,                                              (Dutch),

Piratenkoor, Stormvogels:        The Old Calahan,                               (English),
Piratenkoor, Stormvogels:        John Brown,                                       (English).

Overijssel was a landside province but had until 1938 some shipping via the Zuiderzee.

De Ketelbinken, Kampen:       Seven Seas,                                       (Dutch),
Piratenkoor, Muggenbeet:      Storm and damage,                            (Dutch),
Flagellanten, Giethoorn:         The Bicycles,                                      (Dutch),
Iselanders, Zwolle:                  Mixture,                                              (Dutch),

Regghe Sangers, Nijverdal:    Mixture,                                              (Divers),
De Stuwzangers,
Vilsteren:    the Rose of Allendale,                        (English).

The Zuiderzee was, in 1938, closed from the Northsea bij de afsluitdijk in 1938. So that Sea became lake IJsselmeer. After WWII the biggest part of that IJsselmeer got dikes, so became polders called Flevoland. Flevoland became a province on January 1, 1986.

The population originates, largely from Holland (Amsterdam). Only the (former) islands of Urk and Schokland are known for an ancient fishermen’s population. These islands were ruled by Holland. Schokland was depopulated. Urk is still important in fisheries.

Piratenkoor, Dronten:             Mixture,                                               (Dutch),
Almere:               A ship has sunk,                                 (Dutch),
Shantykoor, Almere:               A sailors heart forgets so quickly,       (Dutch),

Shantykoor, Almere:               Leaving of Liverpool,                          (English), 
Blauwbaarden Biddinghuizen: Wild Rover,                                       (English),
Vliegende Hollander, Emmeloord: Shenandoah,                              (English).

Gelderland was a landside province but had, besides a small fishing fleet, until 1938,
some shipping via the Zuiderzee.

Trossen los, Twello:                 The ships harmonica,                       (Dutch),
De Meulezangers, Elspeet:      Song of the river IJssel,                   (Dutch),
De IJsselboei, Brummen:         When the clock of Arnemuiden,       (Dutch),
Trossen los, Twello:                 This sea,                                          (Dutch),
Zingende Padd’n, Wapenveld: High is the attic,                               (Dutch),

Chantykoor, Het roer om:        10 year jubilleum,                             (Ned. & Eng.).
Paddy’s Pasion, Putten:           The Dutchman,                                (Engels).

As a landside province Utrecht has only (until 1938) a small fleet of fishermen.

Zeemanskoor, Spakenburg:    8 Songs,                                           (Dutch),
Koor Windstilte, Vleuten:         Mixture,                                            (Dutch),
Sterk spul, Linschoten:            Sunken town,                                   (Dutch),
Samenzang:                            Spakenburgs anthem,                      (Dutch),
Koor Windstilte, Vleuten:         Mixture,                                            (English).

Northern- and Southern Holland
The seaprovince North Holland originated after the French era by a merger of West-Friesland with the Noorderkwartier of Holland. In this way, the dominance of Hollandia (and of Frisia) was reduced. The people of Holland didnot like this split. Even today the  song for old Holland “Wij Willen Holland Houen” is very well known. Most people donot know the provincial antems of North-Holland and of South-Holland (no proud versions on internet!).
* T
he former seaprovince Holland had large fleets and was dominant in the United East India Company (VOC). An important part of the crew came from elsewhere. In view of that history, the music from North and South Holland has here been merged. The fleets of Holland went everywhere but mainly east of zero longitude (of Amsterdam).

The fleets of the seaside provinces Southern- and Northern-Holland and their cultures grew together and are considered as one culture. (See: United compagny’s).

Sjappetouwtjes, Enkhuizen:    Unpolite crew,                                  (Dutch),
Trekvaartkoor, Weesp:            The brine salty sea (traditional),      (middle Dutch),
Nieuwerdam koor, AmsterdamFrom Harlingen to Terschelling,    (Dutch),
Vive la Rock, versie:               The brine salty Sea (modern!),         (Dutch),
Vive la Rock, versie:               Fress fish, (modern!)                        (Dutch),

Chantykoor, Schiedam:          When the southwestern wind looms, (Dutch),
Zeemanskoor, Overal:            The balad of the Southsea,               (Dutch),
Drie keer niks, Heenvliet:       Windjammersong,                              (Dutch),
Chantykoor, Hoekse waard:   Fishermans girl,                                 (Dutch),
Chantykoor, Rotterdam:         At the old harbour,                             (Dutch),

Admiraliteit, Dordrecht:          A thousant miles,                               (Dutch),
IJsselmannen, Ouderkerk:    Storm in a glass of water,                  (Dutch),
Chantiekoor, Rotterdam:       Rotterdam chanty,                             (Dutch),
Chantykoor, Katwijk:             For the mast,                                      (Dutch),
Chantykoor, Vlaardingen:     Maatjes Haring from Vlaardingen,      (Dutch),

Vlister zangers, Vlist:            On the sluices of IJmuiden,                (Dutch),
Chantykoor, ScheveningenDay of the flags,                                  (Dutch),
Chantykoor, Vlaardingen:     My Father was a Dutchman,              (Dutch-English ? ),

Chantykoor, Rotterdam:        Stormy weather,                                (English),
Visserskoor, Arkel:                Now is the Hour,                                (English),
Chantiekoor, Rotterdam:       the Rosabella,                                   (English),

Skuytevaert, Katwijk:             Beautifull is the time of youth,           (German),
Chantiekoor, Vlaardingen:     Rum from Jamaica,                           (German).

Zeeland had a lot of fishing and a relatively large commercial fleet, so it became rather dominant in the West Indian Company (WIC). Zeeuws-Vlaanderen was, like Brabant and Limburg, a county directly ruled by the General States (in den Hague). It became a normal part of the province Sealand when the kingdom of the Netherlands was formed.

Scheldeloodsenkoor:            Mixture (old recordings),
Neptunuskoor, Schouwen:   The water is my home,                       (Dutch),
Zuidwest 10, Terneuzen:     The Marie Louise,                               (Dutch),
Het scheepstuig, Veere:       Farewell,                                             (Dutch),
Dekzwabbers, Terneuzen:   Mixture,                                               (Dutch).

North Brabant has never had a fleet.

Maessanghers, Grave:           Anthem of Grave,                             (Dutch),
Biesboschkoor, Werkendam:  Cables loose, Biesbosch-song,       (Dutch),
Zingerij Dwarsgetuigd, NuenenThe iron man,                               (English),
Cracovia, Eindhoven:            Global Voices,                                   (Polish),

Limburg has never had a fleet.

Shantykoor, de Maashave:   Enjoy life,                                           (Low Saksonian),
Shantykoor, Schinveld:         Enjoy life,                                           (Low Saksonian),

Aan Paol 60, Nederweert:    Sacramento,                                      (English),
Brookershanty, Hoensbroek: The drunken Sailor,                          (English),
Shantykoor, de Maashave:  Irene goodnight,                                 (English).

Some notes:

* Chanty Netherlands (in 2015) had approximately 350 member choirs and new ones are still being established. (By the way, not all choirs applied for a membership!). The distribution over the provinces is about as follows:

Zuid-Holland 73,                  Friesland 53                    Noord-Holland 43,
Noord-Brabant 31,              Groningen 30,                 Gelderland 30,
Overijssel 28,                      Utrecht 24,                      Drenthe 17,
Flevoland 10,                      Zeeland 7,                       Limburg 4.

* Only a small part of them make recordings so they are sometimes to hear on local and provincial radio & television stations. Another part of them has also some music online (U-tube). A choice has been made from that last songs on line, for the links.

* Most of the choirs now sing in Dutch, only some eastern dialects (Lower Saxony) are still to hear. Lower Saxony is the language bridge between low German and Dutch.

* After the Second World War, English (the language of the liberators) was popular. It completely replaced the so called a “cokes English” – the language bridge between English and older dialects. Only one song (in multiple versions) in that old dialect, was found on the internet: Mein Vater wos ain Dutchman. Other songs of that tongue are today only available in standard English.


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