Herman van Veen is one of the most famous and successful Dutch artists. He is not only a singer, composer and violinist but also a writer, actor, director and painter. Born in Utrecht, he grew up as the only boy in a working-class family and went on to study violin, voice and music education at the Music Conservatory of Utrecht.
In 1965, he made his stage debut with Harlekijn, a solo programme in which he performed as a musical clown. Since then, he has travelled around the world, giving performances in four languages. To date, he has produced more than 180 CDs, more than 80 books as well as dozens of DVDs and screenplays.
When asked about the intention behind his music, Herman van Veen once said in an interview:
„With each song, I send a letter to people – I have no influence on how the recipients respond. Nor do I expect a reply, that would be presumptuous. However, I do hope to brighten some of the darker rooms of human existence.“
The self-proclaimed “Dutch clown with the bald head” has committed himself firmly to human cardinal virtues such as love, empathy, tolerance and respect. He has always attached great importance to the protection of children’s rights. He has been actively involved in various organisations such as UNICEF ever since he was a teenager and has set up several foundations advocating the rights of children. One of his most famous artistic creations is Alfred Jodocus Kwak, a brave little duck featured in a 52-episode cartoon TV series, who has captivated children and their parents around the world with his charming songs.
Herman van Veen has received numerous awards for both his creative work and his charity work, including the Louis-Davidsring (1976), the Goldene Kamera (1991), the Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros (2003), the World Peace Flame (2004), the Martin Buber Plaque (2005), the Edison Oeuvrepreis Kleinkunst (2010) and the Münchhausen Price (2012). In 1993, he was made Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau by the Queen of the Netherlands, and in 2008 he was appointed Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion. In 1999, he received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his outstanding contribution to relations between Germany and the Netherlands.