naambordje liedjeswebsite in de overtuin

In de Overtuin

De website waar muziek in zit !

plaatje holowaty muziekinstrumenten nederlandse songteksten popliedjes luisterliedjes
plaatje frans hals luit nederlandse volksliedjes
plaatje icoontje met icoontjes nederlandse kinderliedjes

Guestbook Dutch song website In de Overtuin

♫    Question and answer    ♫

Home      Gastenboek        Guestbook

Subject: Dutch Folk Songs
(14 juni 2009)


I am a harper who is looking for 3 or 4 Dutch folk songs to learn on the harp. What I am looking for specifically, is the melody line of 3 or 4 songs. The songs must not be under copyright, but in the public domain. I usually arrange the music for harp myself.

My local folk harp society has an annual concert, and the theme for the next concert is music from around the world. I think NO ONE here (I live in Maryland, USA, near Washington, DC, the capital of our country) has heard any Dutch folk songs. For that reason and because I am 1/4 Dutch (my mother's mother was totally Dutch). I would really like to learn a few Dutch folk songs. However, I don't know the language and I don't know any songs.

In browsing through your wonderful website, I found some melodies in the children's music section, but not in the folk songs section.

Is it possible for you to send me the melody line of a few folk songs? I have the music notation software Finale. I would like at least one to be a love song, one to be a lullaby, and one to be patriotic. I would like them to be well-known by most Dutch people, so when I come to the Netherlands some time I can play the songs for my distant cousins who live there.

If you can do this, or if you have any suggestions for where to look for a few folk songs, I would greatly appreciate this.

Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.


Judith (Maryland, USA).

Answer     (15 juni 2009)

Hi Judith!

Thank you for your compliments about my website.

I understand you would like to have some melody lines of Dutch Folk Songs, and you prefer well-known songs. I assume that you mean traditional songs (middle ages until 1900). I can easily sent you some scans of lyrics and music notation; I have several Traditional Music Books, like Kun je nog zingen, zing dan mee (If you still can sing, sing along) and Nederlands Volkslied (Dutch Folk Song). You can use these scans to perform, but you can not publish them (that's the reason I did not put them on my website). Some songs are still well-known (but not so well by the latest generation) and they will give a real impression on the Dutch music tradition of the common people of the last few centuries.

(Better known are more recent songs from the 20th century like Tulips from Amsterdam; everyone knows that; but I think you don't search that).

It is not easy for me to choose for you. I don't know what you prefer and can play by harp. So I give you a few examples (see attachments; jpg). I can make more scans if these are helpfull to you. If you want, I can give you some background or I can make a simple translation of the songs you are going to perform, so you know what you sing.

I'm afraid it will be hard for you to pronounce the lyrics, if you don't speak Dutch at all. I don't have mp3's of these songs.

I'm happy you did like the Netherlands. I also love Amsterdam, I worked in Amsterdam for over three years in the research center of Dutch Folk Songs in Amsterdam.

I think it's a nice idea to perform world songs and I'm glad if I can be of any help. See for examples the attachments, I can make more scans if you like.

With greetings,

Rozemarijn.  Dutch Folk Songs  Dutch Children's Songs  Dutch songs with English translations


Examples (attachment jpg's):
In het groene dal - In the green valley (very well-known)
De bloempjes gingen slapen - The flowers went to sleep (lullaby)
Waar de blanke top der duinen - The top of the dune (praise of the Netherlands)
Wilhelmus van Nassouwe - William of Nassou (patriotic; leader of Eighty Years War)
and a mp3 of Tulips from Amsterdam (1956), so you can listen to a song (the language).

Re:     (16 juni 2009)

Dear Rozemarijn,


I am very proud of my Dutch heritage, and I will be so happy to introduce some Dutch music to American audiences.

Your English is quite good! My grandmother taught me only a few words of Dutch. When I was in the Netherlands, in 1996, I learned a few words then, but I have forgotten them now.

I will have to change the arrangements quite a bit to suit the harp. I will not be singing, since I do not have a good voice. I will just be playing the songs on harp.

For the songs you sent me, which I do like, would you please send me a translation of the title and a brief description of what the song is about. I don't need a translation of every word in the lyrics.

Is the song, "Wilhelmus" the Dutch National Anthem? I know who William the Silent is - I have done a lot of family history research, and he is a very distant cousin of mine - he is my 8th cousin 16 times removed! Is this the song described at . If it is the same song, then you don't need to send any translation at all - the translation is right there in the web site.

I just did a search on YouTube and found a nice version of Wilhelmus and I see it IS the national anthem - perfect! You don't need to send me any more information about this song. It's all up on the internet.

I found a website that says that De kleinste is in the public domain, so I don't need to know when it was written. I found a beautiful version of De kleinste at

I also found Het Zandmannetje on youTube at:

I expect to have a good time arranging these 3 songs for harp. I am VERY grateful to you for your help and your time.

Do you read music and play any instruments?

Dank u, ik ben zeer danbaar (I hope I got this right!)


Re:     (16 juni 2009)

Hi Judith!

I'm happy that the scans are helpfull, it was not much trouble.

I will tell you what the songs I sent you are about.

* De kleinste - The smallest
text: J.P Heije, music: J. Beltjens
first published 1867 (still very well known)

Content: the narrator has to chose between valley and mountain. He chooses the valley (a humble choise).
First verse: description of the valley. The valley is green and quiet. A waterfall murmers, little flowers bloom, and water drops give water to all flowers. Second verse: Upon the mountain top grow high trees. There is a thunder storm. The lightening is cracks/splits open(?) a tree. Verse 3: Up or down, mountain or valley, everywhere I am in the hand of the lord. But if I had to choose, I'd choose the quiet place, the waterfall. If I had to choose I'd chose the smallest.

Yes, Nana Mouskouri sings this song. Her pronounciation is not bad(!) but she sings it too slow.

* Het Zandmannetje - The Sandman
first published 1938; probably older.

Content: lullaby. Verse 1: the flowers went to sleep, they were tired of fragrances. They nod to me sleep well. The lime tree rustles softly. Good nigth, good night, my little child good night. Verse 2: also the birds go to sleep, only a cricket left in the field. Good night etc. Verse 3: Sandman came, looking for tired children. He straws(?) sand in their eyes. Good night etc. Verse 4: Go away sandman, my child is vast asleep. Tomorrow he welcomes me again. Good night etc.

* Mijn Nederland - My Netherland
text: P. Louwerse, music: R. Hol
first published ca. 1900 (still well-known).

Content: praise of the Netherlands.
Verse 1: there where the white top of the dunes sparkle in the sun glow, where the North Sea kindly bubbles/murmers and greets the small coast of the Netherland, I shout/jubilate? (happily shout) at that flat beach: I love you my Netherland. Verse 2: description of green hills, heath, rivers (Rijn, Maas, Schelde), my song sounds in the old way: I love you my Netherland. Verse 3: Be blessed, land of our fathers, unity will make you strong, keep faithfull to the queen untill death. So I will keep my word: I love you my Netherland.

* Wilhelmus (ca. 1576) verse 1+6.
Yes indeed, this is our national hymne (so: very famous ;-) ). But it's also patriotic. On Wikipedia you can listen to it, but it is very slowly (like they play it for the queen). Originaly it was sung by soldiers, not that slow, I guess ;-)
I can sent you another patiotic song, like In name of the prince of Orange open the gate (also 80-years war) or Did you hear of the Silver Treasure Vleet (about Piet Hein).

* Tulpen uit Amsterdam (1956)
When spring arives I sent to you tulips from Amsterdam. When spring arives I'll pick for you tulips from Amsterdam. Thousand yellow, thousand red, they wish you the best/most beautyful. What I cannot tell you, tulips from Amsterdam will tell you.

Soundtrack is of course very dated, but it is very famous. Still sung (at parties or so).

I realise now you miss medieval songs (but I don't know a medieval song that still is famous), but I can sent you if you like.

I can imagine that it is very nice to learn a bit about the background of one side of your genealogy. It's very possible that your great-grandmother did know (or even sung) some of these old folk songs. That is a special idea.

It's hard to give a representative picture of the history of songs in a few songs. If you want some more sheet music or mp3's to compare, let me know. It's not much trouble.
By the way, as a child I learned to play the piano, but later in life I did sing in several choirs (but things like Bach and Mozart, not folk songs).

I wish you lots of succes with the concert!

Many greetings: veel groeten!

Rozemarijn.  Dutch Folk Songs  Dutch Children's Songs  Dutch songs with English translations

More English questions about Dutch songs:

English guestbook Dutch songs


English home                 English guestbook

Home                 Gastenboek                 Gastenboek 2009