De Vogel Vrijheid (The Bird Freedom), composed by Lex van Delden sr. to an original text by Jan Willem Schulte Nordholt and first performed in the Concertgebouw in 1955, talks about two friends from the Amsterdam student resistance, but also about the Netherlands, still recovering from the horrors of the Second World War, and about how the Jewish family Van Delden ended up on the Name Monument in Amsterdam.

The bird called Freedom rediscovers its wings thanks to the two resistance fighters Van Delden and Schulte Nordholt and flies towards recovery and towards an ideal of an inclusive society, long before inclusivity was a common concept. A slave rebellion plays an important role in the story, in its move from darkness to light. This was remarkable in a time when the history of slavery was not talked about and the Netherlands had just witnessed the Independence of the former colony Indonesia.

Inspired by this inclusive musical idealism, the Rotterdam and Amsterdam Student Orchestras worked together on initiative of the foundation Cultuur Generatie (Music Generations), in order to give the bird its wings back. The original work has been adapted to the present time, reworking the lyrics and adding music by Giuseppe Verdi, among others; the focus lies on urgent matters and themes of the present and the references to the (Dutch) history of slavery.

The Bird Freedom will be performed by students, thus evoking the young students that Lex van Delden and Jan Willem Schulte Nordholt were during the Second World War.

Conductor: Coen Huisman
Soloists: Lisa Roth (singer), Séna Nyaku (spoken-word artist)

More information about RSO:
The RSO is a symphonic orchestra for students from Rotterdam and its vicinity. See for more information:

More information:

  • Date: Friday 24 June 2022
  • Time: 20.30 – 22.00 hours
  • Location: Aula, Campus Woudestein, EUR
  • Ticket information
    Students: € 5.00
    Other visitors: € 8.00


Organised by Rotterdam Student Orchestra in cooperation with Studium Generale