The Limburger, June 29, 2021, by Hanneke Drohm.
But it's not at all that obvious. Even though Rieu was born in the provincial capital in 1949, not until he was
25 did he not speak a word of the dialect. "My dad was from Haarlem, my mom from Bussum.
So 'Proper Dutch' was spoken at our home", explains the violinist and orchestra leader.
"In fact, my mother was vehemently opposed to us speaking "Maastrichts." She even tried to get the
Limburg accent out of us. Children of distinction were supposed to speak Dutch at that time.
The family of Rieu Sr. also felt to be "upper class." So that explains that. I don't have that in me at all."
How can he speak Mestreechs (dialect) so fluently for us non-Maastricht citizens among us?
That's to the credit of his wife Marjorie. She not only turns out to be Rieus' right-hand man in love and
business, but she is also an excellent teacher. Not for nothing did she study German and Italian and taught
for years at the Joan of Arc College (now Porta Mosana College) in Maastricht.
André: "I remember Marjorie saying, 'Just speak dialect.' I wanted to learn too." Marjorie: "It went quite
well, I just had to remind him to speak more slowly. He went way too fast."
The violinist admits he still makes mistakes when he speaks dialect. "For example, I regularly mix up the
gender when I speak about 'the woman' and 'that man'. Marjorie used to correct me, and I wanted that too.
When someone can...! She speaks several languages fluently, writes all my texts for the performances and
together we study those translations. On stage they must be my words and they need to fit me."
Language of love.
When André and Marjorie started going together, he's 25 years old and she's 27. But they've known each
other quite a long time, because Marjorie's in classroom with André's sister Teresia.
When they are 13 and 15 years old, Marjorie visits the home of the Rieu family – where there are six
children – for a Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) party. André: "The only little girl with curls. I immediately
noticed her." When André takes his sister to a party after her final exam, they see each other again.
"Every time I drove on the Tongerseweg (street), I thought: "That's where she lives." A few years later
Marjorie is again with the Rieu family due to André's sister.
"All night I held an ashtray for her." Marjorie: "And when it was time to go, the car didn't start."
André: "I was allowed to take her home." What luck with a mishap. From then on, we were a couple.
"Then we spoke Dutch to each other." Marjorie: "Actually, we didn't need a language."
André jokes: "The language of love. But don't write that down..."
Sense of shame.
As grandpa and grandma Rieu, they are very sorry that their grandchildren do not speak Maastrichts.
Neither those of son Pierre who lives on St. Peter's. "They do understand," the violinist says. "But when I
ask: say it in Maastrichts, they feel ashamed.
It's a shame, because I think you'll learn another language much faster when you master Maastrichts."
All the more remarkable that the couple raised their own children speaking Dutch. Marjorie: "I didn't think
Andrés Maastrichts was good enough at that time..."
André: "Pierre now speaks dialect regularly. Thank God."
Marjorie: "Because the grandchildren speak proper Dutch, you soon speak Dutch back to them.
Too bad, but, well, as long as they're happy. You can't force them."
Because the couple considers it important that the Maastricht and Limburg dialects remain, André promotes
the language and his Maastrichts in full during his shows and on TV.
If it's up to the maestro, a newsreader with a different accent would come every week on TV.
Twents, Frisian, Limburgs. "The other day they placed subtitles on an interview with me – in Dutch – at RTL
Boulevard. Scandalous! Ridiculous, why do you have to get rid of those dialects?
They deal with this very differently abroad." Marjorie: "It's nice to see all these differences."
André: "It won't be my fault..." That is why Marjorie wrote the text for the Big Mestreechs Dictation by
Veldeke Maastricht and André will read it aloud. (Postponed due to corona virus!).
André grins expressively at his wife: "That will be a lot of practice with the teacher."
André Rieu will perform for the first time again in the Netherlands after a long corona stop on 18 and 19
December. Tickets for these Christmas concerts at the MECC in Maastricht are available via
We thank John for the translation.
Rieu didn't speak "Mestreechs" (dialect) until he was 25.
What role does the Limburg language play in our lives? Is it a stand-in or of absolute added value?
Violinist André Rieu chooses the latter with conviction. Although he didn't speak "Mestreechs" for the first
time until he was 25. Rieu’s favorite dialect word is: Verpópzak, which means: “dumbfounded” or “perplexed.”
He spoke this word to the mayor of Maastricht, after having revealed the plaque of honor during his
100th concert on the Vrijthof. If you click HERE, you can watch the video and hear him speak the word
at 6.45 min. (He translated the word to “flabbergasted”).