Banner-header-2019-EN-2.png

THE NETHERLANDS MILITARY TATTOO - HISTORY
From Delft towards Rotterdam
  History
The Taptoe signal is a trumpet signal that was originally played as the end of the day. Today, the signal Taptoe in the Netherlands is mainly used in military commemorations and funerals. For example, it will be played on the 4th of May prior to the two minutes of silence during the National Remembrance Day.
The name Taptoe is based on the command 'Tap toe!' (Tap closed) that used to be used in barracks to announce the end of the day. The signal would have originated in the days of Prince Maurits, at the beginning of the 17th century.
The British Last Post is related to the Dutch signal Taptoe. The Last Post was born in the 17th century from the signal Taptoe (Signal Tattoo) when British soldiers were stationed in the Netherlands. In the United States a similar signal is used, the Taps.
These three pieces consist entirely of natural tones so that they can be played without the use of valves.
Nowadays, the Taptoe signal is a trumpet signal with which a tattoo show is concluded, and thus a part of the final of the show. During the National Remembrance Day in the Netherlands on May 4, the signal is given for the two minutes of silence with the Taptoe signal at 20:00.
The Netherlands
The most famous (and only) military Dutch tattoo is The Netherlands Military Tattoo that was held in Delft for 21 years and then 29 years in Breda. This tattoo was moved to the Brabanthallen 's-Hertogenbosch in 2005 and has been organized in the Ahoy complex in Rotterdam since 2006. Defense hoped to attract more visitors in this way.
Together with the Edinburgh Military Tattoo and the Canadian Nova Scotia International Tattoo, The Netherlands Military Tattoo is one of the finest in the world.
 
  NatTaptDelft1958port.jpg  

In 1952, the 'Koninklijke Militaire Kapel' (KMK)  - together with the 'Tamboerkorps van de Grenadiers' - took part in the famous Tattoo in Scotland, The Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The Chapel was then led by the famous conductor Rocus van Yperen. Once back in the Netherlands was told exuberantly about that first "tattoo experience". And so the thought arose: "we can do that too". In the Netherlands we had so many military professional orchestras, brass band and tambour corps, and good musical quality, that we had to be able to organize our own "National Tattoo" fairly easily, even without foreign participation.

  NatTaptDelft1959port.jpg
 

After the Minister of Defense had attended a party at the Koninklijke Militaire Academie (Royal Military Academy) in Breda in 1953 where, among other things, the Koninklijke Militaire Kapel (Royal Military Band) appeared, he was convinced of the usefulness of such a "National Tattoo". With support of light effects (a few tricks that people had learned in Edinburgh) they created a tattoo-like atmosphere at the KMA. The Minister was deeply impressed. And when the KMK organized a similar concert on the Markt in Delft that same year, the basis was laid for what would become "The Netherlands Military Tattoo".

In 1954 The Netherlands Military Tattoo officially started in Delft as "Taptoe Delft". The event was organized by a Committee consisting of representatives of Defense, the Municipality of Delft and the Delfesta Foundation under the auspices of the Inspectorate of Military Music of the Ministry of Defense.
The Tattoo was held on the Markt, in a historic setting, against the background of the Nieuwe Kerk.

Initially the Tattoo had a purely military character and was strongly nationally oriented. The aim was to present the total military music and the various branches of the Dutch Defense to the general public once a year. In that initial phase, the Dutch military professional orchestras and a number of military tambour and brass bands, mostly consisting of conscripted military personnel, took part. Furthermore, a military exercise regularly took place, such as the ghost platoon, part of the program. This "Taptoe Delft" existed up to and including 1974. In connection with the relocation of Delft to Breda, there was no Tattoo in 1975.

 
  NT-Breda.jpg
  In 1976 The Netherlands Military Tattoo was continued in Breda, a city with a rich military tradition. Initially the event was held on the grounds of the Royal Military Academy, then on the "Chassé kazerne" and later on the site of the "Trip van Zoudtlandt Kazerne". The move to Breda was also accompanied by a change in the organizational structure of the Tattoo. For example, it was decided that The Netherlands Military Tattoo would no longer be exclusively military. The organization was formally handed over to the "Stichting Nationale Taptoe" (National Tatto Foundation), which was set up for this purpose. However, the strong bond with Defense remained. The board of the Foundation consisted partly of citizens, partly of soldiers. On behalf of the Defense, the Military Military Inspectorate was part of the board and the musical direction of the Tattoo was also with him.  
 

The organization of The Netherlands Military Tattoo has since been carried out on the basis of a cooperation agreement between the Stichting Nationale Taptoe and the Goverment of the Netherlands (Ministry of Defense). However, this "privatization" carried out in 1976 did not mean that The Netherlands Military Tattoo had lost its military character. Although it has since become possible for citizen's orchestras to take part in the program, The Netherlands Military Tattoo has retained its original objective: presentation of the Armed Forces and Dutch military music to the general public and attention for the deployment of the armed forces in the past, especially deployment of the veterans, and furthermore attention for the modern peacekeeping tasks in various areas, to which the Dutch armed forces contribute.

During the period in Breda, several important anniversaries were celebrated. For example, the The Netherlands Military Tattoo was held in Breda in the year 2000 for the 25th time.

 
NatTaptDelft-Ruiter.png
  In 2002 The Netherlands Military Tattoo was for an important part dominated by the 750th anniversary of the city of Breda. And in 2004 an important milestone was reached: the 50th edition of The Netherlands Military Tattoo. On that occasion the Tattoo was honored with a visit from Her Majesty the Queen. It would also be the last Netherlands Military Tattoo in Breda, because by reducing the possibilities for material support and the reduction of facilities by the Ministry of Defense, the Taptoe was forced to look for another location, outside the Defense facilities.  
  NT-Delft-Vaandel.png
 

This new location was found in "De Brabanthallen" in 's-Hertogenbosch. This was the first "indoor tattoo". The duration and the number of performances were also shortened to 5 days and 7 performances. Since 2006, The Netherlands Military Tattoo is held in Ahoy Rotterdam preceded by a Street Parade through the center of the city of Rotterdam. The street parade was replaced in 2017 by a number of short concerts at various locations in the center of Rotterdam.

Taking in account the increasing international cooperation, "Nationale Taptoe" (The official Dutch name of the Tattoo) has adopted the Englisch names "The Netherlands Military Tattoo" and "The Dutch Military Tattoo." A separation was made between management and executive organization. New board members were appointed, the old board was to function as a management team of the executive organization, of which the Inspector Military Music takes part as representative of the ministery Defense. This also brought an end to a long standing tradition, since 1954, in which The Netherlands Military Tattoo has always been an open-air event.

 
  Since 2011, the function of Inspector Military Music no longer exists. Military music now is the responsibility of the Commander Military Music who acts as a representative of Defense in the organization of The Netherlands Military Tattoo. The Commander Military Music is also the staffconductor in charge of the musical and artistic direction of The Netherlands Military Tattoo and who also conducts the final.