IN THE CORRIDORS

In this column, violinist and writer Ronald Touw has a good chat with one of our concert visitors.

He’s an eye-catching figure at concerts. He parks his mobility scooter in the foyer, calmly takes off his coat and takes his stick to walk slowly but confidently to the cloakroom. This is Mr Van Dijk, a tall gentleman who is 97 years old and one of our most loyal visitors.

“I sometimes come three times a week and have been doing so for over 30 years now. Before that time, I wasn’t able to because as an anaesthetist I had to be on call in the evenings. When I went to a concert, I was always nervously checking my pager. It just didn’t work, so in those days my wife often went on her own. When I retired, I bought an unlimited season ticket, and I still do that every year.”

Does or did Mr Van Dijk play an instrument himself? “As a child, I took piano lessons for a year, but I never practised; I preferred to play outside. My wife – she died three years ago – was an excellent pianist. But our first dog wasn’t a fan and always started howling, even if we put him in the garage.”

Mr Van Dijk goes all over the place with his trusty mobility scooter. “I go to the city centre too, to concerts in the Nieuwe Kerk. My friend says that I take the corners on two wheels!”

Mr Van Dijk: a sprightly gent with a great love for the Residentie Orkest.

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