December 4, 2018.
By: Jo Cortenraedt, Chief Editor, Chapeau Magazine.
Translation by Ineke, edited by John.
Whoever ultimately the best entrepreneur in Limburg is, is a thing which is difficult to determine. Local
newspaper "De Limburger" nominated a number of prominent Limburgers for that award, such as Dorrie
Eilers from the Neptunes company, hotel entrepreneur Camille Oostwegel and Jan-Paul Rutten from
Gulpener Beer brewery. All good and creative entrepreneurs from Limburg. André Rieu - who won the prize
at the end - is not at all much better than any of them, and of course he does not see that of himself, but he
certainly is distinctive. He of course is also by far the best known, that is also useful when you bring such a
price to the market for the first time.
Furthermore, it is good to once again highlight the entrepreneurship of André Rieu. Normally he is in the
spotlight as a musician, and that is also how he sees himself. But from the early years on I have been able
to experience close up how he, together with his wife Marjorie, started to build up his small business. That
is when they had to chase down record companies and deejays to ask for attention for their music. In the
beginning it was in vain. In the Nineties I was, among other things, a reporter for "De Telegraaf" (National
newspaper). That is when Marjorie would sometimes called me and ask if I could not place a small
advertisement in the newspaper, announcing the Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) concert of their Maastricht
Salon Orchestra, five members strong at the time. At a certain point in time they bought a second-hand
truck, to transport the necessities for a performance in, for example, a nursing home for the elderly. For
years the "Hieringbiete" (Herring bites/eating) concert was the highlight of the salon orchestra. But André
and Marjorie dreamed of much more success and they continued to believe in that. They did everything on
their own, without a penny subsidy.
And that makes you a great entrepreneur, you have a dream, an ambition and you have to work hard to
stay on course, which becomes reality. The company grew and grew. In 1997, when regional television
started in Limburg, I made a report about a concert tour in Germany. Wow, than there were halls with an
audience of 1000 to 1500 people. That was a huge step forward in comparison to the beginning. And the
Salon Orchestra was replaced by the Johann Strauss Orchestra, with back then at that time about 15
musicians. But everything then had also already been well taken care of, with a great discipline.
And so it kept on growing. Up to and including packed stadiums with tens of thousands of people in
Toronto, in Melbourne and many other world cities.
Last summer, a charming and wise Colombian lady at the Vrijthof square, told our microphone that she had
great admiration for him as an entrepreneur. "That man must mean a lot for the city and the region,
because he provides a lot of employment and prosperity." The lady was right. From a distance you see
things sometimes sharper than from close by, because for many Limburg residents it is all very obvious that
André Rieu now runs a company with about a hundred permanent employees and hundreds of freelancers
like stage builders, technicians and other specialists. And that for his Vrijthof concerts, the hotels in
Maastricht and the entire region are filled for weeks with tens of thousands of people from all over the
world, during the summer.
The nice thing is that the laureate musician has a super relationship with his staff. Not only in terms of
remuneration, but also in terms of comfort when traveling. For that he receives a hundred percent loyalty
back from his people. Everyone goes for the optimal result. That is what every entrepreneur wants.
So well deserved, that price!
Translation by Ineke.
We are in Maastricht to present the trophy to the winning "Entrepreneur of the Year." Thousands of readers
of the local newspaper ”The Limburger” voted for the best Limburg "Entrepreneur of the Year." An expert
jury selected the winner from the listed top ten finalists. He lives here.
AR: Thank you, I am very proud, especially since I have won this price while I am not an entrepreneur at
all. I am a musician. I think I am the only one in the world who travels with an orchestra of 65 members
around the world, without receiving a penny of subsidy. And also that I am trying to keep some money,
which is important, since I have to pay everyone. Until now it works and we have a lot of fun.
Thank you very much. I am so proud”.
Article from the Limburg paper. Translated by John.
Entrepreneur of the year.
He has been gilded with the prize of Entrepreneur of the Year 2018. But André Rieu does not call himself
an entrepreneur, only a musician. That he now runs a million Euro empire and is responsible for an
orchestra of about 65 people, is just being waved off. Meanwhile, he sells more CDs than giants like
Coldplay and Bruce Springsteen. At home in Maastricht the violinist accepts the sculpture which goes along
with the title, which was an initiative of "De Limburger" Newspaper. The votes from the readers, together
with the judgment of the jury led to the election of Rieu. The innovative manner in which he stripped waltz
music from a dusty image and the impact of his musical empire on Limburg were the deciding factors.
The former director of De Limburger completely went out of control when the candidacy of André Rieu
appeared before him. More specifically he mentioned Rieu's discovery of the waltz somewhere in a dusty
corner of classical music as a genre that a wide international audience finds very appealing. "He thus
brought the innovation of the century together with a sector of subsidies. "Also for the part 'Impact on
Limburg' the Maastricht waltz-king passes with flying colors. Radix tells how DSM managed to charm
Chinese business relations with Rieu's DVD's. "We also added that he is our neighbor." Ria Joosten points
to the economic impact of the performances in Maastricht: "During those weeks, and in the immediate
surrounding areas there is not a hotel room nor a restaurant table available."
André Rieu is an entrepreneur pure and simple with an enormous impact on Limburg.
Time for the final judgment. The jurors fill out their voting forms. They grade on the different requirements of
this innovation Then the adding of points begins and starts to swell - an imaginary drum roll - and the
honors go to: André Rieu who is proclaimed to be "the Entrepreneur of the Year." In complete agreement
finds the jury. Radix (jury member): "As an economist I say: "It is absolutely brilliant what he does". Ria
Joosten (jury member): "An entrepreneur pure and simple with a huge impact on Limburg." Beurskens (jury
member) nods. He tells how the province tries to lure foreign companies to Limburg, for example by
offering a concerted evening with Rieu on the Vrijthof. This is how you create a good atmosphere: "With
foreign guests this is always a hit. We have closed some very good deals during a concert. At times the
Governor would remind me that I talked too loudly and interfered with the music."
André Rieu receives the sculpture 'Growing Forward 'by artist Tom Smetsers, and with it the title
of Entrepreneur of the year from chief editor Roy op het Veld. PHOTO: Peter Schols