2012 Taptoe Delft

Taptoe Delft

Every 2 years, there is a unique event in Delft – a Taptoe.  Called a Tattoo in english, the most famous is the Edinburgh Tattoo, which I’ve had the privilege of being present at many years ago.  The Delft Taptoe is essentially a smaller version of this, but still very impressive.

I’ve just read about the history of Tattoos on Wikipedia and found this really quite interesting…who knew it was originally related to the Dutch and beer!

The term [Tattoo or Taptoe] dates from around 1600 during the Thirty Years’ War in the Low Countries (Belgium and the Netherlands). The Dutch fortresses were garrisoned with mercenary troops that were under federal command since 1594. The Dutch States Army had become a federal army, consisting mostly of Scottish, English, German and Swiss mercenaries, but commanded by a Dutch officer corps. Drummers from the garrison were sent out into the towns at 21:30 hrs (9:30PM) each evening to inform the soldiers that it was time to return to barracks. The process was known as doe den tap toe (Dutch for “turn off the tap”), an instruction to innkeepers to stop serving beer and send the soldiers home for the night. The drummers continued to play until the curfew at 22:00 hrs (10:00PM). Tattoo, earlier tap-too and taptoo, are alterations of the Dutch words tap toe which have the same meaning.

In the 2012 Delft Taptoe, organised by the Stichting Taptoe Delft (a not for profit organisation), the participating bands were:

The audience all received a beautiful programme with information on all of these groups, or you can click on the names above to be taken to the individual websites.  There were also some additional performances such as a unique “ladder act”, the Gelegenheidskoor Brak Water, singer Jan van der Spek and violinist Frank Zeppenfeldt.Overall, it was a well orchestrated and unique performance which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Held on the Delft Markt, with the beautiful and imposing Nieuwe Kerk tower overlooking all of us, there were lots of elements of a show, not simply drums and trumpets.  There was a lot of popular music incorporated and I liked the marching band style takes on everything from musicals to Michael Jackson.

Stichting Taptoe Delft themselves had a “Maritiem Spektakel” (Marine Spectacular) where Captain Jack Sparrow took part and full sized palm tree was brought in as a centrepiece!  .Something that I liked the best was how the church itself became part of the show, with most of the bands entering the arena through the beautiful wooden church doors, and with special lighting effects on the historic brickwork.  Similar to the Edinburgh Tattoo, there was also a  lone piper on the tower towards the end – very moving.

nieuwe kerk delft taptoe

International guests, the Royal Danish Navy Band, were the smallest group with 20 members, but as the Dutch saying goes “klein maar fijn” (small but still great!)The finale brought together more than 300 performers in an impressive show, complete with fireworks.  It really was wonderful to see so many talented musicians all working together.I attended the Friday evening performance on 7 September 2012, there was another on Saturday 8 September 2012 as well as a street parade on the same day.If you are reading this in The Netherlands and before 14 September, you might like to catch it on tv. This will be the first time the Delft Taptoe will be broadcast and this will be on Nederland 2, Omroep Max on 14 September 2012 at 17.35 uur.  From October 2012 you can also order a DVD for 15 euros from the Stichting Taptoe Delft website.  The next Taptoe Delft will be on the 12th & 13th September 2014.

You can view my photos below, or visit the Delft Op Zondag newspaper Taptoe photos for some great professional shots, taken by the photojournalist next to me with a very impressive lens!
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