A benefit concert for the Augustinian sisters in 2003


At Christmas, I often sang in the cloister of the Augustinian Sisters of St. Monica. The cloister, located for ages in the old center (Warmoesstraat), served as a safe haven for many less fortunate people. In this way, the 'sisters of love' helped hundreds of pregnant girls and women (the city of girls) who were rejected by their families, offering them a place to sleep and a brighter future. They also gave meals to homeless people and their chapel was open for people to come in and pray.

The sisters were already very old, yet there was no elevator for them in the cloister. Therefore, we founded a foundation ‘Give the sisters a lift’, along with Bas Bouwman, Joris van Loon, Kees Terlouw, and Erik Visser to make this possible.

On April 5, 2003, we organized two benefit concerts in the Krasnapolsky hotel that offered their conference room. Many friends supported. Two choirs, singers, a gifted violinist performed. Graffiti artist Faith 71 and photographer Marianne van Veen designed a poster with two in orange glowing sisters are painted (walking on the Warmoesstraat from Nieuwebrugsteeg). The posters, printed by Atlantic, were distributed all over the city, for sale. We collected 10.060.

Joyful like children, the sisters in return organized an afternoon tea with home baked cookies for us, the volunteers, and they gave a wonderful speech.

With the amount we collected only part of the cost could be paid. But after, more gifts were given beyond our expectations. So, the elevator could be constructed.

Later on, we found out that plans were made for a reconstruction of the cloister. Two sisters informed us that it was going to be sold. They were in tears, their chapel was to be demolished. All the work of a lifetime, they had dedicated themselves to and had prayed for with heart and soul.

It was a great loss, when the sisters had to retire from their active live and had to leave the city center of Amsterdam in 2011, where they had been for ages. They were loved by the people. Thanks to them, many people had managed to rebuild their lives. The sisters, who still have remained in many cities, still organize a lottery in order to support their city of girls project.


Aafje Heynis, the art of the classical song

by Riny Reiken

I am very grateful that I was educated in classical song from 1992 to 1999 by the famous classical singer Aafje Heynis. She gave me the feeling being a lucky bird with golden wings.


In 2008, the book Aafje Heynis, Priesteres in haar vak (Priest in her craft) was published, I contributed to. Quote: ‘She (Aafje) was delighted when you (the student) understood a song. And when you couldn’t grasp the right tone, she kept insisting: “It has to be like this!” When you succeeded, she moved her arms out of joy, almost taking down the piano lamp. She was able to react in an emotional way, and you felt happy when she showed this.’


Out of my music passion, I have established a chamber for the art of the classical song and since 2005 it is officially registered at the KvK (Dutch chamber of commerce).

We organize concerts in private groups in an intimate atmosphere; transforming the tasting’s café back room into a small concert room for the art of classical songs. I‘m singing classical melodies from the old composers Schubert, Brahms, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Bach and popular world songs as well. Several pianists accompany me, bringing the songs into life. A list of the repertoire can be sent upon request.


He invented his life anew


Over the dark remains of a

murdered city, a summer sun

was shining guiltlessly

when the first light touched the eyes

of the child

who again and again invented

life anew

from crying Rotterdam ruins

to Brabant’s peace, friendly.

Again, he started his life anew


He grew fine, headstrong

he grew loyal, responsible

making his hands into his eyes

he set his life safe here

preventing the departure to further places


He invented his life anew

he found his own path

and left

to a new haven;

constructing Amsterdam into his destination.


Stubbornly loyal, he saw the peaks of

ultimate happiness

smelled the sickening gutter’s smell

and remained himself,

he was sure of Piet Thoolen's love,

he found the echo of his own love in nephew Hans.


And he invented his life anew

He blew cigarette smoke over the oldest parts

of the town

baptized the hood in sweet liqueurs and

matured genever

and grew old here


He invented his life anew

In fresh love, regained trust, in Riny;

sweet happiness, soft singing words

He found his friends, pals, musketeers,

they drank and sorted their life out,

every day anew

And now that his hood is even slowly disappearing

he still stands here, proud, a bit tired

lovingly and great


Today he invents his life anew

“I'm glad I've got my rest,”

he sighed.

Today he invents his life anew

as he has always done,

as he always does,

as he always will.

For seventy years.

Dear Bas, for seventy years himself already.


Thom deLagh, July 2012