Kinderen voor Kinderen

Kinderen voor Kinderen

Infobox musical artist
Name = Kinderen voor Kinderen

Landscape = Yes
Background = group_or_band
Origin = flagicon|Netherlands Hilversum, Netherlands
Instrument = "ca." 30 voices
Genre = pop, rock, hiphop, techno, Broadway
Occupation = schoolchildren 8 to 12
Years_active = 1980–present
Label = VARAgram
URL = []

Kinderen voor Kinderen are a Dutch children's choir maintained by public broadcaster VARA . The name translates as "children for children".

Since 1980 the choir release one album of new children's songs each year, and are probably the only 1980s-emerged act who consecutively charted with top 40 albums (apart from two releases). The ideas for the songs generally come from children who write in. Well-known Dutch lyricists then turn a submitted idea into a finished song.

The songs of each year's album are presented in a special TV broadcast, staged and recorded in advance (in the group's early years, these shows were broadcast live). Various Dutch celebrities often appear as cast members in these shows. In 2006, Kinderen voor Kinderen staged its first live pop concert as the basis of its annual broadcast.

Kinderen voor Kinderen also holds annual "Song Contests" that sees the winners of the regional pre-selection rounds (one each province) compete against each other as finalists.


In 1980 program director Flory Anstadt decided to found a children's choir as part of a VARA fund-raising campaign to provide toys to children in developing countries. The choir released an album of songs sung by children from 8 to 12 years old. VARA subsequently broadcast performances of the songs on television. The choir was a success and a decision was made to release an album each year from then on. The toy donation campaign ended in 1991. The name of the choir is now the sole reminder of its original function.

Staying true to their main purposes Kinderen voor Kinderen are still releasing charity-singles like the ones listed below:

* "Morgen is een droom" ("Tomorrow is a dream") (2001)

* "Voor Azie" ("For Asia "), released early 2005 in a re-written version to benefit tsunami victims in Asia.

* "Het begin van het einde" ("The beginning of the end"), released in the summer of 2005 to benefit the Dutch development NGO Novib.

Since 2005 the ensemble is conducted by Babette Labeij. She succeeded Majel Lustenhouwer, who lead the group during its first 25 years. In recognition of Kinderen voor Kinderen's contribution to Dutch culture under his guidance, Lustenhouwer received a knighthood of the Order of Orange Nassau in 2006.

Prior to album 22, the first selection was always the Kinderen voor Kinderen anthem. Starting with album 22 the custom changed to make it the closing selection instead. The melody has remained the same since 1980, though after album 3 the verse with lyrics about children starving and sleeping in the street was scrapped. The tune's chorus survives, with lyrics altered over the years to be more celebratory and inclusive, suggesting that children are more open-minded and understanding. Some of the recent albums omit the anthem entirely.

At present

The choir currently consists of around 30 children between 8 and 12 years of age. Originally the goal was to have participants from throughout the Netherlands. Over time, however, practical considerations intervened and the children recruited as singers are now required to live within close distance of the TV recording studios in Hilversum, southeast of Amsterdam. As a consequence the songs are sung in the characteristic accent of that area, the most noticeable feature of which is the so-called "Gooise R": the retroflex pronunciation of the letter R at the end of words and before consonants in a manner similar to that of American English, although other Rs are trilled.

The ensemble operates on a yearly production cycle starting with auditions for new members in January. Songs are composed based on ideas from children's letters and go through a judging process, ultimately leaving 12 song choices for the year's CD. The first singing rehearsals begin in March and dance rehearsals in September following summer recess. The year's TV program is usually recorded during the autumn school recess. A viewing is held for the children and their families one week before the program is broadcast in November.

A 27 CD box set, released at the end of September 2007, gave the choir their first album top 10 entry in almost a decade.

TV broadcasts 1980-1984

*The first broadcast was on December 5 1980 (St Nicholas Day), hosted by actor Willem Nijholt. The choir-members wore dungarees. Viewers could vote for their favourite song and "Ik heb zo waanzinnig gedroomd" (sung by Annemiek Stuurman) became a top 10 hit hit early 1981. The album reached number 2 in the charts.

In 2001 some of the original choir-members (with the males alarmingly going bald) reunited for an interview conducted by Reinout Oerlemans for his I Love The 1980s-style series Typisch Tachtig.

*The second show too was hosted by Willem Nijholt (now sporting a huge moustache). The choir was ; among the new faces were Marjon Keller, Mandy Huydts and sisters Laura and Karin Vlasblom who after their departure continued as girl group Frizzle Sizzle. Martijntje van Neerven expressed her concern with the stupidity of fur-hunters in "Tweedehands Jas" ("Second hand coat"). Of the three stand-out songs "Op een onbewoond eiland" ("On a desert island") was voted the no. 1 favourite and became a top 40-hit. The album peaked at number 3.

*The third show hit the screens on November 11 1982; this time Leonie Jansen, singer/presenter of children's news programme Jeugdjournaal introduced the songs. "Ha-ha je vader" (about children judged by their dad's profession) opened the show and was that year's single. Other memorable moments include "Drummer", "Kerstmis" and "Dokter ik ben zo oliedom" ("Doctor, I'm tired of stupid"),. Martijntje sang the Down's syndrome-themed ballad "M'n broertje" ("My baby brother") and the show ended with "Ik heb het allemaal niet bij me" ("I think I lost it all") before reprising the theme tune. Album 3 became the first one to top the charts.

*The fourth album and TV-show were made with show host Willem Ruis (1945–1986). The songs were slicker than previous efforts and even made a few references to Dutch group Doe Maar who were at the height of their popularity (and consequently disbanded by it). "Brief aan Ernst" is a request to the Doe Maar-keysman to stop singing the bombfall-themed chart-topper "De Bom". "Vader zonder werk" ("Daddy no-job"; in which the subject matter turned angry after hearing the band on record) was Martijntje's last contribution to the choir. "Meidengroep" ("Girl group") became a top 20-entry, and "Wat zingen wij" ("The songs we sing") is a definite reminder that Dutch traditional children's songs are old hat to this generation. Like its predecessor, album 4 topped the charts.

*November 16 1984 saw the fifth Kinderen voor Kinderen show; time to look back. Previous members were invited and some of them were interviewed by Willem Ruis. As a bridge to the new songs Frizzle Sizzle (a name they yet had to coin) sang a tribute to their days with the choir. Marjon Keller, who left after the fourth album, was still on hand as a backing-vocalist. The first of the new songs is the vegetarian-themed "Sluit je aan" ("Join the club"), an idea ironically submitted by a butcher's daughter. Robert Long (1943–2006) wrote "Als ik de baas zou zijn van het journaal" ("If I Ruled The News") which missed the top 40, unlike "Eeuwig Kerst" ("Forever Christmas"). This non-album track was recorded with Annie Schilder (who left BZN earlier that year) and Het Goede Doel. It became the most successful Christmas-hit in Dutch. Album 5 reached second place in the charts.

TV broadcasts 1985-1989

*The show for the sixth album brought a change, as it was the first to be shot on location. The running order of the songs was changed precisely to fit the adventures of a four-piece offspring consisting of teenagers Arjen and Krista, and under-10s Mark and Sasha. The parents were played by Edwin Rutten, a jazz singer/children's hero and Ati Dijckmeester, presenter of a "Behind the News" programme. Album 6 (reaching number 2) lacks a razorsharp song like "Tweedehands jas" or "Sluit je aan", but "Ochtendhumeur" ("Morning Glory", sung by Mark who appears to be immune to the subject matter) can be added to the gallery of classics.

*The family got a second feature for album 7, aired on November 15 1986. "Ik ben toch zeker Sinterklaas niet", written by Het Goede Doel frontmen Henk Westbroek & Henk Temming and performed with Edwin Rutten telling he ain't Santa Claus, became a hit. TV-commercials are parodied and blamed for candy-addiction in two songs; the latter ("Snoepverslaving"; which opens the show) namechecking non-existent candy bars and chocolates. Album 7 made the top 5.

*Album 8 started off with its fair share of controversy; Freek de Jonge was picked to host, but because it was felt that his contribution would badly affect album sales he was replaced with actress Simone Kleinsma en show-host Ron Brandsteder. The latter famously demonstrated what a terrible chef he is, with his overexperimental meals ending up in the dustbin. "Moeders wil is wet", the actual song about dad disobeying mum's rules, was the first to miss the top 40 but still a classic. The TV-show (shot before high-tech backdrops) won a Silver Rose at the Montreux Festival and the album hit the number 2 slot.

*The ninth show was made with the legendary talkshow host Sonja Barend who dressed up as a dementing grandmother for one of the songs ("Dement"). Highlights include the mixed messages in "Hartstikke fout" ("Absolutely wrong"), "Joris en Jan" ("George and John"), who are assumed to be gay, the anti-kissing song "Kussen" and the freshman year-themed "Brugsmurfblues". For the first time omissions had to be made; "Anti-auto lied" ("Anti-car song") and "Liegen dat is leuk" ("It's fun to be a liar") were spared a visualisation. Album 9 reached number 5.

*From the tenth show onwards it was out in the open again. Hanneke Kappen, a one time Heavy metal-singer who went on to do radio and television work, was this year's guest-celebrity. It was broadcast with English subtitles. The orchestrations, with its jazzy and funky undertones, are reminiscent of the first three albums, but the modern influences are present as well; the hip-hop flavoured "Stuntelkampioen" ("Fumbling champion") for example, or the Westbroek & Temming-written "Kip, patat en appelmoes" ("French fries, chicken, and apple-sauce"; a popular children's dish). Album 10 fittingly made it to number 10 .

TV broadcasts 1990-1994

*'New decade, new sound' was a general thought in 1990. Kinderen voor Kinderen were no exception, although clues were planted on the previous two albums. Now supervised by Henk Westbroek new composers were drafted in to push the choir in a rock-oriented direction. Tracks such as "Allemaal kabaal" ("All a lot of noise") were previewed in a "Derby of the Low Countries" contest for schools whose pupils performed their versions of Kinderen voor Kinderen classics. The show for the 11th album was filmed in Belgium with singer/clown/Unicef-ambassador Herman van Veen. The album made it to number 5, 34 places higher than the "Best Of" that was released at the time.

*The 12th show was made with Youp van 't Hek, famous for criticising all things bourgeois in his theatre shows. He played a greedy salesman coming to town. "You can whistle for our pennies" the choir bite back in "Alles is te koop" ("Anything's for sale"). Ex Doe Maar-member Ernst Jansz, always one to chronicle impossible relationships, wrote "Verliefd op de meester", a song about a schoolgirl fancying her teacher. "Mijn vader is a clown" ("My dad's a clown"; with a cameo from the late Toon Hermans) and "Wakker met een wijsje" ("Waking up with a melody") resemble the Kinderen voor Kinderen of old; the latter joining the long line of classics. Album 12 reached number 4.

*The 13th show was made with Sylvia Millecam (1956–2001) who played a teacher dreaming of a schooltrip. Her one-time colleague Erik van Muiswinkel and Henk Westbroek also guested. "Volwassen" questions the phrase "maturity". Upon release the press wasted no time to mention that Kinderen voor Kinderen were finally cleared of the "Gooise R". The buyers were convinced as album 13 made it to number 6, but single "Vuur en vlam" ("Burning passion") missed the top 40.

*In 1993 the late Coen Flink played a motorbiking grandad. In the build-up to the show he took his so-called granddaughter on a trip down memory lane; in other words, they met recent and distant departures from the choir. Album 14 reached number 7 in the charts.

*For album 15 Frank Boeijen wrote the single "Straf" ("Grounded"). It reached number 9. The same year a second "Best Of" was released with a house-medley of classic tunes. It reached number 22.

TV broadcasts 1995-2005

* With album 16 it was back to basics; singalong songs performed for a live-audience packed with faces from the past, and (as a first) a live-band in tow. Paul de Leeuw, voted 1995's "Worst Dutchman", presented and even had a lead vocal in "100 Hobby's". Leading single was the bluesy "Morgen is mama van mij" ("Tomorrow mummy belongs to me "). Album 16 became the choir's first regular to miss the top 10.

* Paul de Leeuw also hosted the 17th show which was dedicated to the parents of the children who supplied the subject matters. It spawned the single "Vieze praatjes" ("Dirtmouth"), written by Bennie Jolink from rural-conscious rockers Normaal who could've easily performed it themselves. But it was the B-side that joined the gallery of classics; "Het Tietenlied" ("The Tits Song") was sung by Elize van der Horst who left after this album and went on to chart with dance-pop tunes. Album 17 made it to ... number 17.

* The 18th show was hosted by Menno Bentveld, one of the faces of science-program Jules Unlimited. One of the songs featured is "Pesten is geen spelletje" ("Bullying is not a game") which shares its title with an anti-bullying campaign. With album 18 the choir got themselves a top 10 entry again.

* The 19th show took the form of a school-play with actors Marcel Faber and Joep Onderdelinden in the roles of headmaster and janitor. "Droom" ("Dream") was released on single. Album 19 made it to number 13.

* 17 years after Leonie Jansen another Jeugdjournaal-presenter was asked to host Kinderen voor Kinderen; Aldith Hunkar, who moved on to the NOS News. As expected from a decent Kinderen voor Kinderen-album, catchy singalongs are rife, plus the one razorsharp message. Majel Lustenhouwer played an audience-member and scooped the dubious award of Most Boring Father before miming the trumbone in the song of named subject. Aldith introduced the finale by expressing her rapping skills. Album 20 reached number 7.

* The 21st show was hosted by 'monkey-duo' Zap & Surf. Album 21 only reached number 23.

* The 22nd show was hosted by Maud Hawinkels who guested on a track about the upcoming replacement of Dutch guilders by Euros. Other songs are "Verliefd op een paard" ("In love with a horse") and fundraiser "Morgen is een droom" which opens the album. Album 22 peaked at 16 in the charts.

* The 23rd show was made with Klaas van der Eerden who insisted on singing a medley of Kinderen voor Kinderen classics. By the time he did so everyone already left. Album 23 became the choir's least-selling album ever, missing the charts altogether.

* After Willem Nijholt, Willem Ruis, Paul de Leeuw, Klaas van der Eerden became the fourth host to do a second show. Unlike its predecessor, album 24 made it to the charts reaching number 21.

* A historic moment; the same celebrity hosting three shows in a row. But this time Klaas van der Eerden was joined by Claudia de Breij. Album 25 reached number 15.

* In 2005 Claudia de Breij hosted the show on her own. Album 26 made it to number 14. As the choir were now officially in their 25th year a new "Best Of" was released, failing to make the charts.

TV broadcasts 2006-present

*After 26 untitled albums, no. 27 was the first to get one; "De Coolste DJ". This line-up had a claim to fame; new recruit Holly Brood is the youngest daughter of rockstar/painter Herman Brood (1946–2001) "De Coolste DJ" made it to number 28.

*The new tradition continues with "De Gamer" which was predominantly written by a new generation of musicians. Claudia de Breij and comedian/marathon-runner Dolf Jansen each delivered one song. The pop-concert premiered on October 26, 2007 while the TV-special was hosted by actress Isolde Hallensleben.

*The title track of forthcoming album "Buiten Spelen" ("Come Out And Play") has just been released. Sports reporter and television presenter Jack van Gelder will host this year's pop concert, alongside rapper Ali B.

Notable songs

Songs well-known in the Netherlands or otherwise notable include:

* "Ik heb zo waanzinnig gedroomd" (1980) "I had such a crazy dream"
* "Op een onbewoond eiland" (1981) "on a desert island"
* "Meidengroep" (1983) "girl group"
* "Als de lichtjes doven" (1984) "when the lights go out"
* "Als ik de baas zou zijn van het journaal" (1984) "if I was the boss of the news station"
* "Ik ben toch zeker Sinterklaas niet" (1986) "Santa Claus I'm surely not"
* "Moeders wil is wet" (1987) "Mum must be obeyed"
* "Ik wil een krokodil als huisdier" (1988) "I want a crocodile as pet"
* "Miepie" (1988) (sung by Daniël Samkalden) "my cat] Miepie"
* "Stuntelkampioen" (1989) "fumbling champion"
* "De Kerstezel" (sung by Jannes Drop) (1990) "the Christmas donkey"
* "Wakker met een wijsje" (1991) "waking up with a melody"
* "Vuur en vlam" (1992) "burning passion"
* "Rauw en primitief" (1993) "rough and primitive"
* "Het tietenlied" (1996) "the tits song"
* "Het leven duurt een leven lang" (1997) "life lasts a lifetime"
* "Sandwichkind" (1998) "sandwich = middle] child"
* "Wij zijn vriendinnen" (2000) "we two girls] are friends"
* "Morgen is een droom" (2001) "tomorrow is a dream"
* "Ik wil een huisdier" (2003) "I want a pet"
* "Een gouden koets" (2003) "a golden coach"
* "Doodgewone jongen (met ADHD)" (2004) "ordinary boy (with ADHD)"
* "Mijn mobiel" (2004) "my mobile phone"
* "Twee vaders" (2005) "two fathers"

Topics addressed in songs

Kinderen voor Kinderen's songs deal with many different subjects. Some frequently recurring themes are:
*Injustice ("Als de lichtjes doven, Schuilplaats, Als ik de baas zou zijn van het journaal")
*Death (of a person) ("De Lek, Anders dan je denkt, Mijn vader is een ster, Het leven duurt een leven lang, Mijn laatste oma")
*Death (of an animal) ("Miepie, Alleen, Frederieke")
*Loneliness ("Mijn boom, Kom je strakjes bij me spelen, Annemiek")
*Being in love ("Rikkie, Smoorverliefd, Dikke vrienden, Strooi kruimels, Verliefdheid is rampzalig, Frisse knul, Ik ben verliefd, Verliefd op de meester, Roosmarijn, Zusje van mijn zus, Vuur en vlam")
*Boredom ("Zondagmiddag, Sleutelkind, Verkleden, 100 hobby's")
*Taunting and mobbing ("De pest aan pesten, LOM-kind, Rik, De kerstezel, Ha ha ha je vader, Jongen op ballet, Bruin, Bang voor de bal, Pesten is geen spelletje")
*Divorce ("Foto-album, Hij, Vier ouders, Mijlenver, Mama is morgen van mij")
*Generational conflict ("Zeuren, Naar bed, Treuzeltechniek, Trammelant, Daar ben jij veel te jong voor, Vakantie in Italië")
*Animals ("Met een beesie, Miepie, Sluit je aan, Honden, Alles van paarden, Een tweedehands jas, Ik wil een krokodil als huisdier")
*Advertising ("Snoepverslaving, Hallekiedallekie, De wereld van de STER")
*Growing up ("Puberteitsballade, Heb jij 't al, Brugsmurf-blues, Ze hebben het mis, Het tietenlied")
*Eating ("Kom eet je bi ba boe ba bord nou leeg, Dieet, Moeders wil is wet, Kip patat en appelmoes, Het hete eten")
*Home ("Verhuizen, Mijn oude kamer, Hier ben ik dan, Dozen, Sleutels")
*Money ("Geld is overbodig, Ik ben toch zeker Sinterklaas niet, Ouders te koop, Zakgeld" (KvK 11), "Alles is te koop, Mijn eerste miljoen, Kinderbijslag, Zakgeld" (KvK 18))
*Discrimination ("LOM-kind, Gastarbeider, Twee Vaders, Groen")
*Homosexuality ("Twee Vaders, Joris en Jan (George and John)")
*Disability ("En ik, Mijn broertje, LOM-kind, Ik st-st-stotter, Nare dingen allergie, Nep, Dyslectisch, Een doodgewone jongen (met ADHD)")
*Tobacco smoking ("Roken, De Lek, Stoppen")
*Music ("De drummer, Klassiek, De bombardon, Wakker met een wijsje, De Vlooienmars, Ik hou van hard, Mijn gitaar, Het is een bongo, De bas, De coolste DJ, Drummen in een Band")
*Christmas ("Kerstmis, Als de lichtjes doven, De kerstezel, Hé meneer de kerstman, Ben zo benieuwd")Most of the songs named as examples above are from the ensemble's early years. There are many who say they like the songs from the early years better than the songs from the more recent past. However, as the group's website declares:

:"… children today are different from their counterparts 25 years ago and the times they live in are completely different. For example, in those days there was no Internet and there were very few children's programs on TV and no music channels at all specifically for young people.

:"The themes the songs used in those days are in any case timeless. For example, today too it happens that at school children may be victims of mobbing, and a theme like disappointment in love will always be relevant. Yet there are also some new themes involving situations that earlier did not happen very often or were subject to taboos so that people preferred not to talk about them. One example of this is the song "Twee Vaders" ('two fathers') on the 2005 CD.

:"Kinderen voor Kinderen will be staying in step with the times." [ Source (DOC file) nl icon]

Contents of yearly albums

Former members with notable solo careers

(in alphabetical order by last names)

External links

* [ Kinderen voor Kinderen official website] nl icon
* [ Unofficial fansite and forum] nl icon
* [ Biography and chronology at the Netherlands' National Pop Institute] nl icon
* [ Expert says KvK sing-along CDs may be behind spread of Gooise r] nl icon – article in "NRC Handelsblad", July 15, 2000 citing Prof. Hans Van de Velde of the Université Libre de Bruxelles
* [ Anthem lyrics in all versions, plus audible MIDI arrangement (] nl icon

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