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Royal Decoration for Frank den Hollander, Peter de Haan and Alina Kiers

26 April 2016
De Bende van Baflo Bill in 1991
Photo: Elmer Spaargaren

On Tuesday 26 April Frank den Hollander, Peter de Haan and Alina Kiers have been appointed Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau .

Frank den Hollander, Peter de Haan and Alina Kiers

Frank den Hollander (Middelburg, 1957), Peter de Haan (Loppersum, 1956) and Alina Kiers (Groningen, 1958) have since the mid-1980s made an unparalleled contribution to Gronings language and culture, in a range of capacities, under many different names and in various combinations. They have had runaway success as the bands Pé Daalemmer & Rooie Rinus, De Bende van Baflo Bill and Voorheen de Bende. The trio produce a unique mix of stand-up, music and theatre. Their humour is infectious and covers topics related to daily life in both the city and the province of Groningen.

Although they did not form their bands with this intention, they have made an enormous contribution to Gronings as a regional language, and to improving its image. It is in part thanks to their work that there has been an undeniable and broad renewal of interest in the language. Their lyrics have once more made Groningners proud of their language and region.

New self-awareness in the region

What is particularly noteworthy is that they have had an effect on many young people, a group for which the regional language had for a long time been ‘uncool’. This reflects the new self-awareness in the region and the revival of the Gronings identity by using the language. They are a byword for everyone who has, for example, studied in Groningen and left for pastures new. They have drawn people of all ages to the theatre – including many who are not regular theatregoers – and have given Gronings a place in contemporary society in a playful, comic and humorous manner.

Since the late 1990s, Den Hollander and Kiers have both been involved on an entirely voluntary basis in the annual arrival of Saint Nicholas in Groningen, infusing the event with great enthusiasm. Den Hollander inimitably fills the role of the Hoofdpiet (’Chief Piet’), while Kiers acts as host, fluidly linking each part of the programme to the next, and getting the children to sing one Sinterklaas song after another, a role in which her interaction with the Hoofdpiet is essential. It is also the Hoofdpiet who, upon the arrival of the parade at the city hall on the Grote Markt, recites a poem for the Mayor and Aldermen of Groningen, in which he light-heartedly satirizes various administrative matters that have hit the headlines over the past year. Den Hollander’s and Kiers’s work is not only important on the day itself – they also put plenty of time into the preparations in the run-up to the event.

In addition to his great renown as Pé Daalemmer, Peter de Haan also performs as a solo artist. He writes and sings his own songs in Gronings, as well as writing and singing material for Radio Noord. He also works as an ambassador for SONT (Samenwerkende Organisaties in het Nedersaksisch Taalgebied; Collaborating Organizations in the Low Saxon Language Area), which campaigns for national recognition of Low Saxon, the language family to which Gronings belongs.

Frank den Hollander, Peter de Haan and Alina Kiers have all been appointed Knights of the Order of Orange-Nassau.

Last modified:14 April 2020 10.11 a.m.
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