200 years of militairy music

It’s a mighty sensation when one of those bands passes by right in front of you, isn’t it? The cream of the crop of the Dutch armed forces participates in the Four Days Marches. On Friday, just ahead of the entry, participating military bands line up at Charlemagne (the field near McDonald’s on Rijksweg) to march ahead of the troops, as they traditionally did in the army, and add a festive touch to the final few kilometres.


The bands’ music whips up the walkers, sets a rhythm and literally keeps those who are struggling on their feet. Forward march! Eke out those final steps. Forget about the blisters. Listen to the music and immerse yourself in the cadence. This year, the Netherlands is celebrating 200 years of military music. Want to join in the celebrations?

200 years of militairy music

It’s a mighty sensation when one of those bands passes by right in front of you, isn’t it? The cream of the crop of the Dutch armed forces participates in the Four Days Marches. On Friday, just ahead of the entry, participating military bands line up at Charlemagne (the field near McDonald’s on Rijksweg) to march ahead of the troops, as they traditionally did in the army, and add a festive touch to the final few kilometres.


The bands’ music whips up the walkers, sets a rhythm and literally keeps those who are struggling on their feet. Forward march! Eke out those final steps. Forget about the blisters. Listen to the music and immerse yourself in the cadence. This year, the Netherlands is celebrating 200 years of military music. Want to join in the celebrations?

On show

The following bands will delight us with their inspirational music at this year’s Four Days Marches:


  • Bereden Wapens Brass Band (opening/Flag parade, plus three concerts along the route)
  • National Reserve Brass Band (entry)
  • Royal Netherlands Navy’s Marine Band (entry)
  • Royal Netherlands Army Band ‘Johan Willem Friso’ (entry)


The purpose of military music

Military music dates as far back as the fifteenth century, although ‘music’ is perhaps not the right word for it. The sounds produced by drummers and trumpeters were intended to send signals and commands to troops out in the battlefield. And to intimidate the enemy, of course. Later on, the sounds became more varied and turned into music that marked the march tempo, created a sense of unity (also between soldiers and civilians), and added a touch of prestige to ceremonies and national events.

Did you know that……the musicians of the Dutch armed forces’ military bands not only make fantastic music but are also fully-fledged soldiers?

Want more military music?

From 27 to 29 September, you can indulge yourself at the 2019 edition of the Netherlands Military Tattoo at Rotterdam’s Ahoy venue, which is themed on 200 years of military music this year. Besides all Dutch military bands, there will also be military bands from Germany, Korea, the United States, Scotland and Australia at this event. This year's Netherlands Military Tattoo will commemorate the 75th anniversary of Operation Market Garden.

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