On Tuesday, March 5th, 2002, the Dutch town of Haarlem was the scene
of a protest march never seen before in the history of Dutch street
organs. No less than 40 (forty, yes!!) Dutch street organs travelled
from the local organ museum, run by the Kunkels foundation, to the
Grote Markt, the central plaza of the city.
The organ grinders protested against the imminent closure of this local
museum. The hall in which it the museum has resided for over 25 years
was sold by the Haarlem town council, who owned it, to a supermarket
company who needed the ground for a parking plaza. The supermarket,
now the owner, tried to get the museum out of its premises by
terminating the rent by June 1st of this year.
The Haarlem local court ordered that the museum might stay in its place
for another year, but the Haarlem town council refused to co-operate
with the museum people in finding a suitable alternative, hence the
The good news: this worthy and calm protest (only a cacophony of organ
music, serious disruption of the local traffic and lots of banners)
seems to have done the trick! The mayor of Haarlem spoke out in public
that the museum should stay in Haarlem, and promised all assistance by
the town council to relocate the museum in Haarlem.
Hans van Oost
Kring van Draaiorgelvrienden, Netherlands
[ See the pictures of the protest demonstration parade at
[ http://mmd.foxtail.com/Pictures/ -- Robbie