Now that the Spring has started to put its mark on the atmosphere, it is time again to visit the Hook of Holland. The trains are out of service but the metroline is still under construction, so we have to make our journey by bus. I associate the Hook of Holland with Dechi Beach, the pavilion that offers an irresistable combination of fish lunch and sea air. This beach club gives me a holiday mood within an hour.
We decide not to leave the Hook of Holland before having visited RockArt, the museum that is specialized in the history of pop music in the Netherlands. Before the bus leaves, the driver gives a free performance, describing the dramatic situation of the public transport to and from the Rotterdam seaside resort in a mildly mockingly tone. His conclusion: it will take some time before the first metro actually will reach the shore.
RockArt is located on a saddening business park. These surroundings contrast heavily with the flashy museum entrance. A bright orange ladies bike with a floral basket, that reminds of the hippie times, has been parked next to the wall that was transported directly from The Hague and that still shows the name ‘Golden Earrings’ in faded white painted letters. A piece of canvas depicting a tattooed heart and the name Venus is applied above the entrance as a tribute to composer and guitarist Robbie van Leeuwen.
The cozy museum is well-organized and the visitors get a personal treatment. Only the toilets, where you are surrounded by gold records from the glory years of vinyl, offer some privacy. No item is too excentric to be exhibited here: Toppop presenter Ad Visser’s un-Dutch coloured costumes, old volumes of Music Express magazine, authentic printed copies of the Top 40 chart list, Shocking Blue’s richly-filled trophy cabinet and two beautiful American jukeboxes made in and just after the Second World War.
The museum pretends to give an overview of the history of pop music in the Netherlands. The collection includes jackets from Anouk and Jacqueline Govaert. Yet the main attraction is the trip along Memory Lane. The museum possesses the original, expensive mixing console that was not only used for recording Golden Earring’s Radar Love but Shocking Blue’s entire oeuvre as well.
A volunteer gives interesting background information about the original equipment from the offshore radio ship Veronica. Everything still functions. The man demonstrates a commercial from the seventies and the quality of the audio tape is in no way inferior to a Spotify streaming. The Veronica concept was an artificial construction. It was not allowed to broadcast music on the mainland and that is why they did so from the North Sea. But well-known deejays like Willem van Kooten (Joost den Draayer), Lex Harding and Ad Bouwman rarely embarked the ship. Tineke de Nooy hated sailing so much that she became sick as soon as she smelled the sea. The shows were recorded in a studio on shore and sailors transported the sound tapes to the ship to be played and broadcast.
The history of pop music in the Netherlands revives in RockArt. The museum organizes events like vinyl meetings, Beatles’ days and Elvis memorials on a regular basis. Not all popular music in the Netherlands was made by Dutch artists. Many refreshed memories richer and a few illusions poorer we left the Hook of Holland.
3151 XP Hoek van Holland
Telefoon: 0174 – 38 41 03
Thursday – Saturday 1 PM – 5 PM