Six facts about David Bowie in the Netherlands

Bowie Groningen

Photo: Duffy Archive and David Bowie Archive via Groninger Museum

What can we say about the great man? The Dutch media have been full of stories. Here’s our favourite facts about Bowie in the Netherlands.

Bowie’s Dutch hits
Bowie’s biggest Dutch hits, according to RTL newsLet’s Dance was the only of his five Dutch chart toppers that was not a collaboration.

1 Dancing in the streets – duet with Mick Jagger (1985)
2 Space Oddity (1969)
3 Tonight – duet with Tina Turner
4 This is not America – duet with Pat Metheny
5 Let’s Dance (1983)
6 Sound and Vision (1977)
7 Under pressure – together with Queen (1986)
8 Absolute Beginners (1986)
9 Heroes (1977)
10 China Girl (1983)

Sweeping the floor
Some time around 1990, Bowie ended up sweeping the floor of the Café Heuvel on Amsterdam’s Prinsengracht after being caught out by a card trick.

Owner Pierre Heuvel told local broadcaster At5 that his dad was good at card tricks and bet Bowie, who’d come info a late night beer, that he could make the card of his choice appear on the ceiling.

Bowie lost the bet and ended up sweeping the floor around 1am.

Recording Rebel Rebel
Bowie recorded his 1974 hit Rebel Rebel in the Dutch village of Nederhorst den Berg and stayed there for around a month. Studio technician Jan-Willem Ludolph, who was 22 at the time, told broadcaster Nos Bowie wanted to work without disturbance which is why he ended up in the village, which is just north of Hilversum.

‘I never saw him take drugs,’ Ludolph says. ‘But if he felt like a fabulous steak at 11pm we’d jump into the car and drive to the Amstel Hotel. We became friends, but that is what working in a studio does to you.’

Port of Amsterdam
The flip side of Bowie’s 1973 release Sorrow was Jacque Brel’s Port of Amsterdam – which Amsterdam city council was quick to highlight on Monday.

Bowie in Groningen
The Groninger Museum is currently hosting the first international retrospective of the Bowie’s extraordinary career. First seen in London, the exhibition includes over 300 objects including handwritten lyrics, original costumes, photography, set designs, album artwork and rare performance. It runs until March 13.

Bowie on an NS train
Dutch train operator NS is running a special Bowie carriage on some services between Zwolle and Groningen. The journey includes a ‘fictional virtual reality train trip through his world’ and is hosted by NS staff in Alladin Sane make-up. Bizarre.


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