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Oct 29, 2017

Young Pan Flute Players Create Headaches For Rieu


Young Pan Flute Players Create Headaches For André Rieu

Roermond, the Limburger by: Jan Cuijpers. André Rieu wants to be released from the roughly 100,000 Euro fine place upon him by the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) for violating the child labor law.

This Tuesday morning, lawyers Mr. Sander Lely representing André Rieu Productions (ARP)and Mr. Van der Oord, representing the Minister, will appear together in the administrative court of Justice Rutten in Roermond.

During the seven summer concerts in 2015 on the Vrijthof, Rieu let twelve Romanian pan flute players perform until mid-night.  This violation of the SZW law was noted during the last concert by an informed inspector of the SZW.

At this point, it appears that Rieu has tried to resolve the case behind closed doors as quickly as possible, and in the meantime the Minister has now reduced the original fine of 233,100 Euros to 100,000 Euros to advance a decision. "We are just now appearing before the judge since nobody really want to be associated with child labor laws," says lawyer Lely. During the meeting he asserts that Rieu has worked with minors from the very beginning, and always asked and received exemptions. "Rieu does not have any labor relations with the children. He was under the impression that the Romanian guest musician and pan flute player  Gheorghe Zamfir was the employer of the young pan flute players in his group. Had he known that he was being viewed as the employer, he would naturally have asked for and receive an exemption," according to Lely.

Waving

The lawyer also mentions that the only work the children performed after eleven o'clock was waving to the public during the finals of the concert. "That, apparently, is being viewed as work." Before eleven they performed for about four to six minutes. It also rubs Rieu the wrong way  that the inspector informed him of the violation during the end of the last concert. "Had Rieu been advised of this during the first concert, he would have taken that into consideration for the next six concerts," according to Lely. Because of this, ARP does not view the reduction of the fine as an advancements towards a decision. Rieu feels that he should only be held responsible for one concert, and not six. Van der Oort reported after the meeting that the inspector for the Limburg region was on vacation during the concerts, but received a tip that something was amiss with Rieu's concerts. From whom he received this tip, he is not allowed to say. It could have been an inspector from Friesland (Dutch province) who attended the concert, or  it could also be someone who has a vendetta against Rieu.

Van der Oort stated that the SZW attaches a lot of importance to this case because a country that is taking other countries to measure because of child labor laws,  cannot allow the same to happen in their own country. He is not sensitive to the argument that performing is a lot different than to sewing shoes together under adverse conditions. André Rieu himself was not present  during the meeting. He is currently on tour through the United States. A verdict will be released on December 4th.

Thanks To John for the translation

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Pierre and André September 30, 2016 Maastricht

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Photo Taken at Mexico City Concert ~ September 2013

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