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Presentation of knighthood by the mayor of the municipality of Woerden, Mr Victor, Molkenboer, July 3, 2020.

“And so I come to the last of this series, Mr van Zijl, Reinold and Marijke. I had a very nice telephone conversation with you. I didn’t know that at the time, I’m going to tell you later what special things you have done, very nice, but I am also a novice in the field of musical instruments. I’m going to explain it in a minute.

Mr. Van Zijl, in 1978 you started as a flute teacher at the Regional Music School Abraham Feijten in Vleuten. When the joint arrangement between the former municipalities of Maarssen and Vleuten-de Meern expired in 1992, the music school was privatized on your initiative and under your leadership. After this, you became director of the new Nieuwe Vaart arts center in 1993. KNV. You played an important role in the preservation of the arts center and the outcome of the joint arrangement. By the way, that was a period when all those Music Schools and all those communal arrangements disappeared. I experienced it myself in Gorcum, unfortunately I also had to do it myself and it really hurt. I must say how we have done this in Woerden is unique and you can see that it is now flourishing. You disposed of the arts center through a complex privatization process and that makes it all the more valuable that the institution continued to exist.

The new teachers’ collective was created in particular due to your leadership and involvement. After the termination of the subsidy by the municipality of Utrecht, you once again achieved a fresh start and managed to maintain employment in Vleuten. That is a truly special achievement and I know how difficult this is. You are also committed to maintaining music education in Maarssen and Breukelen. You also maintained the Musical department by allowing it to continue independently under the name Musicalos. During difficult financial periods you stood up for the preservation of the cultural institution and it is thanks to your efforts that the music school continues to exist. Under your leadership, the offering was also expanded to include dance, drama and musical theater and you also initiated various music initiatives at schools. You are an extremely committed director. You are always there for the teachers and students. If there is a performance, you will help make invitations and build sets. And if something needs to be done to the buildings, we simply help out and paint. You don’t care. Despite your formal part-time appointment, you are active for the Arts Center twice as many hours.

You are also an instrument maker. And owner of the Reinold van Zijl Clavion I was talking about. Now it comes. You developed a new musical instrument called Clavion.

“Does anyone here know what a Clavion is? No? I sometimes think I’m the only one but no one knows, that makes me happy.” I’m going to tell you. A practice instrument for carillonneurs in training. Previously, every carillonneur had a homemade living room carillon to practice. But these homemade practice instruments produced so much noise that it was difficult to hear the actual music. I can imagine that if you are banging on those sticks at home, there must be something to learn it on. Thanks to the development of a new practice instrument, carillonneurs can now even give living room concerts. The Dordrecht City Hall is the first in the world to have a clavion keyboard, making it the best-playing chime in the world. As a result, this development has also been included in the restorations of the carillons in Edam and De Haar Castle. You were also at the origin of the development and realization of the Glass Carillon of Leidsche Rijn Utrecht. A unique instrument. And I agree with that because I was previously mayor in Leerdam and am well acquainted with Bernard Heesen and I spent many hours with him while he was blowing those glass bells for the carillon. And it was still questionable whether it would work because those bells had to be tuned. Now, as you know, it worked, you were also involved. It is really worth taking another look there, located near the Cultural Campus. Unique to see that, there hangs that glass carillon.

The director of the Netherlands Carillon Institute and also president of Euro Carillon states that your practice instrument is now used all over the world. You also developed so-called linear keyboards. We learn a lot here, Linear keyboards!!! This modified instrument has two rows of keys instead of one, making the instrument smaller and allowing it to be built in locations where this was previously not possible. You also built a mobile carillon keyboard for the Johan Strauss Orchestra of André Rieu that, despite its limited size, still had the full tonal range and could therefore introduce the entire world to the Dutch-sounding heritage. And of course, keeping it in tune is where the finesse lies. You offer the instruments at cost price to support as many carillonneurs as possible with their music education during their studies. You are also a volunteer at the “Torenmuziek Nederland Foundation”. You initiated various technical innovations in keyboard (study) construction. Carillonneurs worldwide study on the instruments you developed and you are a volunteer at the care organization Careijn, which is also located at the Snavelenburg Maarssen location. You are an organizer of free concerts for the elderly. And finally, I would like to mention your activities for the Cloche Art foundation. This foundation represents the interests of carillons in the Netherlands. The Netherlands has more than 200 carillons, 1/3 of the total number worldwide. You are an advisor in the field of keyboard construction in the restoration of these tower instruments. You also made an important contribution to countless innovative projects during the national “Klinkend Erfgoed Festival” in Maastricht that took place in 2018. It is stated that you have been of great importance in the development of Dutch carillon art in recent decades. And that is no small feat.

Mr. Van Zijl, you are praised for your perseverance, your unbridled optimism for music and education. If only I had met you as a music teacher, I might have learned something from that. I had a recorder exam, my teacher then said to me, son, if you decide to stay, you will come back. The music world is grateful for your talent and commitment. The advice they received from the Chapter of Civil Orders stated, and I quote: The person concerned can be qualified as someone who has performed work in an excellent manner that has benefited society to a very important extent. You have had an impressive career and that includes an impressive award.

His Majesty our King is pleased to appoint you Knight in the order of the Netherlands Lion. Yes, that’s no small feat. Congratulations.”