Impromptu concerts by floating organ


I ran into the good ship Notedop today on the Zuideramstel Kanaal in Amsterdam. It’s basically a floating organ, and I can tell you from personal experience that it can be heard loud and clear dozens of meters away. The Notedop (nut shell) and its owner Reinier Sijpkens can be found wherever they have a canal and a bridge and where good cheer is in need. Sometimes even a swimming pool suffices.

On his website Sijpkens writes (Dutch/English):

I made a small boat, “de NOTEDOP”, designed a miniature church organ and had it built by Henk Smit. Next I created all kinds of mostly classical arrangements “in a nutshell” of 1 or 2 minutes for organ, trumpet and surprise instruments that sound well against a water city backdrop.

I brought odes to people on the bridges of Amsterdam, Utrecht, Leiden, Delft, Gouda, Enkhuizen, Alkmaar, Venice, Oudewater, Bruges, Hoorn and many other cities. You can experience this yourself if you book my water concert or happen to run into me.

Thank god for URLs on the sides of boats. I had been so wrapped up in my own thoughts that I forgot to talk to Sijpkens when I had the chance.


  1. Ark says:

    What could be better than enjoying the rare Dutch sunshine than sitting by the side of a canal or taking a boat trip? Apparently, if you’re Dutch there is one thing better and that’s spoiling it for everyone else by selfishly blaring what no-one with any sense would call ‘music’ at the loudest volume possible.

    Anyone who has lived in NL for more than a few months realises that there is nothing the Dutch like better than selfishly (and usually drunkenly) making as much noise as possible at all hours of the day and night. With their typical lack of concern for anyone but themselves, what everyone else calls ‘being a public nuisance’ the Dutch call ‘expressing themselves’ or, as in this case, ‘good cheer’. The same tired nonsense used to excuse the screaming, drunken, half-witted Dutch youth (male and female) who piss their way up Leidsestraat each weekend.


  2. Branko Collin says:

    Ark, as far as I am aware a call to commit violence is a crime in the Netherlands. I have deleted that part of your comment, and will co-operate fully with the police should they want to have your data. Please keep it civil.

  3. Orangemaster says:

    Anyone who has lived here for a few months knows better than to be near Leidsestraat in the evenings, especially on weekends.

  4. Ark says:

    @Branko: I am sure that if the notoriously sloth-like Amsterdam police actually had any interest in prosecuting anyone for ‘incitement to violence’ that this selfish, irritating and obnoxious buffoon would have been ‘banged up’ long ago.
    What exactly is it that you think is of merit in this twats behaviour? Would you be so keen if I hand-built a car stereo system and parked my car outside your house while playing techo at full volume? All in the name of ‘good cheer’ of course!

    @Orangemaster: My point exactly. There are already enough ‘no-go’ areas in Amsterdam due to misguided tolerance of oafish louts without celebrating them bringing their anti-social behaviour on to the canals as well.

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