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Subject: Dutch children's songs and Dutch folk songs for person with dementia
(11 december 2014)

Hello from California!

I have a favor to request. I was appointed to act as attorney for an elderly woman with dementia. A guardian is being appointed to watch over her because she can no longer function. The elderly woman's quality of life is low, and she does not do much but wait for the end of her life. I would like to improve this situation.

This elderly woman grew up in Holland for her first 18 years (1910's, 1920's, 1930's). Now she is in her 90's.

We have a very new trend here in California to give dementia patients headphones and play them music to increase their happiness and bring back happy memories. I want to find some Dutch music that might give my client a moment of joy. Otherwise she is often crying and does not speak.

I would like to know where I can find recordings of music in the Dutch language, possibly children's singing of traditional songs. Or adults singing traditional songs.

Do you have any ideas for me?

Sincerely, Margaret.

Answer     (12 december 2014)

Hello Margaret,

I've listed some suggestions for you. Not much of that period is still available on cd, and Dutch websites are for you of course hard to understand, so I tried Amazon, this is the only English book/cd-website I know.

* Folk songs
- Very very famous are the folk songs from the songbook "Kun je nog zingen" ('Everyone sing along'). It was published in 1906 and it was also used as school song book untill the fifties. It were very, very popular songs, even I did still learn some of them in the seventies.
A selection is available on a cd of the beloved Dutch female singer Wieteke van Dort, "Kun je nog zingen, zing dan mee". I could not find this on Amazon.
The easiest way to buy it, I think, is directly from her agency (they give that as possibility, with mail):
Her website: (nr. 9 on this list)
E-mail: (14 euro's)

- She also recorded a cd with traditional children's songs: "Kortjakje is weer beter".
On: (nr. 8 on this list)

* Children's songs
- I could find cd's with classic children's songs on Amazon, just typ in the search field: 'liedjes hoepeltje' - and you'll find:
Now you find 5 cd's with traditional Dutch children's songs ("Liedjes met een hoepeltje erom"; songs with a 'ribbon' tied around them): part 1 to 5 ("deel 1 - 5"). Also: "the best of" ("Het beste uit ..").
(I saw at The best of, that you can buy each track apart, so you can try).

- You can find some more cd's with the search word: 'kinderliedjes' ("children's songs").
I don't know these children's cd's, so I can't say anything about how 'modern' or 'old fashioned' it will sound.

* Songs for Christmas and Saint Nicholas
Also from the series "Liedjes met een hoepeltje erom".

- They have a Christmas cd (old traditionals): "Kerst".
- They have a Saint Nicholas cd (traditionals): "Sinterklaas"

Both sound nice, and these are songs everyone in the Netherlands can sing, since the 19th century untill now (with good feelings).

So these are all songs it's really possible she will have known and sung as a child.

* Songs from the 30's.
- Wim Sonneveld recorded songs from Louis David, who was famous in the 30's. On Amazon choose for 'cd's' and typ Sonneveld in the search field.
You find 2 cd's recorderd by Sonneveld with these older songs: "Het mooiste van" and "20 Mooiste liedjes":

- This dvd+cd has a collection of the most well-known Dutch songs of the 30's:

- Other famous names from the 20's-40's:
Jean-Louis Pisuisse, Louis Davids, Willy Derby, Lou Brandy, Frans van Schaik, Fien de la Mar, Kees Pruis and Bob Scholte.
You find their most well-known songs (with videos and translation) on my website (1901's-1940's):
Many more songs of these well-known singers, can be found on YouTube (simply typ their names in the search-field of YouTube itself).

* Later years.
Do you have any idea if she had still contact with Nederland (with family) in later years, so if it is possible that she knew later songs? After the war we had Dutch songs like the French chansons, which were very popular and often with beautiful music. I could send you some names.

You find their most well-known songs (with videos and translation) on my website (1950's, 1960's):

* See also.
Another message in this guestbook, searching for children's songs and folk songs:
Guestbook: Searching for Dutch songbook or cd.

I hope these suggestions and names will help you a bit further.

I wish you good luck with your help for this old lady, I hope there will be some songs she'll recognize or respond to.

With kind regards,

Rozemarijn ('Rosemary').

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