Tilburg International Club

Home » 2017 » March

Monthly Archives: March 2017

Upcoming Events

  • Book Club: Slaughterhouse 5 4 September 2019
  • tíc Welcomes You to Tilburg! 7 September 2019

Enter your email address and receive notifications of new articles by email.

News Archive

Visit to Kessels Music Instrument Museum

by Andy Kelly

Living in Tilburg for the last 8 years, I had heard the story of Marietje Kessels, the poor 11 year old girl who was murdered in the Noordhoek church on August 22, 1900 with no one was brought to justice. The story I was told was that Marietje came from a rich factory owner’s house but I did not know her family business was the production of musical instruments. So, I thought it would be great to find out more about one of the most famous families from Tilburg.

The day started like all guests to the museum trying to find the entrance, I was glad to see Anne waiting for me at the entrance to the textile museum were she proceeded to show me how to get to the musical instrument factory. After going out the textile museum and up some stairs the group was brought into a little room, where tea, coffee and biscuits were served.

At this point, the curator introduced himself and began to tell the story of the factory and the Kessels family which I would find out go hand in hand. The museum is staffed by volunteers who love their work and it shows. An example of this was even though the curators English was not the best and sometimes he had to ask for the right word, he spoke with the passion of a man wanting to share his knowledge of a beloved hobby. So back to the tour, next on the agenda was a short film about the factory which turned out to be kind of an accident.

Mathijs Kessels, a man that worked in the sheet music industry and an accomplished composer, saw a market for his sheet music in an industrial town known as Tilburg. Due to the high levels industrialization, this brought something totally new to the lower class free time. The factory owners encouraged music playing within the lower-ranks as, in the words of the curator, playing a musical instrument was a lot better than sitting in the pub.

So, as with many things, Mathijs started a small printing house in Tilburg and for some reason, people started bringing their musical instruments to the printing house to have them fixed. And in true entrepreneurial fashion, he said, why not? Demand became so great for musical instrument repair that Mathijs decided to not only repair them but make them. He found a site outside of the city center (next to the big AH that is now a green field ) to build a grand house and a new factory. Business grew and his factory at one point could supply almost everything to kit out a full marching band.

As with most stories, what goes up must come down. Mathijs received a large order of 900 pianos that were made and delivered but for which were never paid. This caused the company to come close to bankruptcy at which point the bank stepped in and took control of the factory. This ended up with Mathijs being kicked out of his own factory and starting a competing factory right next door. In the long term, not a great idea as orders and invoicing were delivered to the old address. Matthijs passed away on the 21st of December 1932 and within 20 years, both the new and old musical instrument factories were out of business.

So with the film ending, we were led to the brass workshop and shown the many stages of producing brass instruments. Being a mechanical engineer, it did bring me back to my student days. We were really shown how the instruments were made and the exhibit had a great illustration of showing this step by step. Next on the agenda was the wood instruments assembly area which included a saxophone to my surprise…

Well I don’t want to spoil the rest of the museum but I can recommend a visit. Half the fun is finding the museum and, if you have an interest in music or manufacturing, you’ll definitely be in the right spot.

Book Review of My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante

review by Anita James

Even the title begs the question:  who’s brilliant, is it friendship?

This is an unusual book. The story is that of the coming of age of two little girls in a Neapolitan slum just after WWII. The way it is told is not in any way ‘nice’, not in feelings, events or language. Life is hard, dangerous and emotions visceral; the children are not spared any of  this reality.  Like the old portraits of children, they are people, just small in stature and learning to live by observing and doing. No allowances are made for childhood vulnerabilities. These are pre-Dr. Spock years; struggle and death are ever-present.

Against this rough background, Lila and Lena grow up as friends or maybe in symbiosis. They are very different; Lila is the fearless leader, Lena follows fearfully but stubbornly and when they get to school, the difference is always there. One with flashes of brilliance, the other with relentless determination and this will be their story for life. Who does better at life? We’ll know when we read the next three volumes.

The book made an impression on most of us and I hope we’ll have more encounters with Ms. Ferrante to find out which attributes, genius or dogged pursuit, are key to life. Who knows, we may even meet in the very nice room we discovered at the Villa Pastorie.

Borrel at De Pont

by Anne van Oorschotpont-1

10 things I learned at the TIC borrel on February 17th at De Pont:
  1. Modern Art museum De Pont is located in a former wool spinning factory and the large light spaces and intimate “wool rooms” offer a good setting in which to view modern art.
  2. The museum is named for the businessman Jan de Pont (1915-1987) who left a large sum of money after his death for the creation of a museum of modern art. The museum receives no government subsidy pont-3and operates solely on de Pont’s legacy.
  3. The museum was recently enlarged, adding new exhibition areas and a larger café/restaurant with a lovely terrace area outside.
  4. On one end of the new restaurant area, there is a lovely glassed in area pont-2which looks out over the garden – complete with crackling fireplace – where guests can relax on a comfortable couch and chairs to enjoy a drink and snacks.
  5. The “Flam Keuchen” on the menu (kind of thin crusted pizza) makes a lovely snack if cut in smaller pieces.
  6. The TIC members who attended didn’t have any trouble finishing the bottle of wine we ordered.pont-4
  7. My favorite piece of art was the giant stainless steel piece made by Anish Kapoor – I was upside down over it!
  8. For some of the other pieces, I need a little “help” to appreciate them, and had to remind myself that even though I might think I could make them…I probably could not!pont-5
  9. No matter where the TIC Borrel is – it is always fun!
  10. Starting in March 2017, the museum will be open every Thursday from 17.00-20.00 and admission will be free!
%d bloggers like this: