Do you know André Rieu? If you were anywhere near the city-center this weekend you couldn’t miss the crowded streets and the fenced off Vrijthof. All because of the famous Maastricht violinist who is performing his ninth Maastricht’s concert series this year. During three weekends Rieu directs the Johan Strauss Orchestra, that was established in 1987 by Rieu himself. The concerts provide a mixture of classical music and particular Dutch songs such as ”Aan de Amsterdamse grachten” and more importantly, the anthem of Maastricht. The public comes generally down to 1. international 2. admirers and 3. elderly people. From all around the world they come to see Rieu, buses packed with people from England, Denmark and Austria came to Maastricht to obtain the André Rieu Live Experience. Hardly any hotel was affordable or available this weekend.
All these people, who totally occupied Maastricht last weekend and probably will continue occupying our lovely city the next two weekends, probably had a hard time understanding the great maestro who welcomed the public, introduced his guests and made his jokes in Mestreech’s dialect. However, despite its lack of local cultural knowledge, the public enjoyed Maastricht’s musician. Couples started dancing through the rows as if they had fallen in love once again. The Friday night showers weren’t a drawback looking at the amount of people dancing at the end of the first Rieu concert of the year. His popularity all around the world has been confirmed to me, although I don’t consider myself one of his admirers, but certainly for once one of his red clothed piccolo’s.