Andre, the animal lover
Interview on ZDF on June 7,2006
Translated by Ineke Cornelissen/Sonja
In the beginning of May, Andre Rieu was the star guest in our program. He invited us
to his lovely castle in Maastricht to get acquainted to his animals. Today he wants to
share a part of his private life with you, (which he does not do very often!).
Andre Rieu is a passionate animal lover. After a series of strenuous concerts, in
which he“gives all, he can relax at home amongst his animals. The
most virtuoso violin player of the 21st century, lives in a fairytale castle in Maastricht,
together with his family and animals.
Andre: May I present you? This is Wily, this is Tummy and this is my son
Little wild Wily, the poodle, is 1 ½ years old, Tommy the Boxer, is already 6
Andre: It is so nice to come home and the dogs are here. Of course I am
happy that my wife is here too, but dogs give so such unconditional love
and trust. Of all the animals I think that trait is only seen with dogs.
Rieu’s hands do not only control the violin perfectly, he also very often perfectly uses a hand computer (Black
berry). The dogs are a real relaxation for him.
Andre: I believe that we have to make sure that the dogs have a happy life. Then they give us the most pleasure and
we become happy as well. Families with dogs are more relaxed, they see things more in perspective. The dogs keep
us down to earth. They send out: “do normal, I am here as well”.
Andre also has a pond in his garden with Japanese koi (carps) of which
one gives problems.
Andre: the yellow one, he is very old, turns to lie on his back every now
and than. There is something wrong. When I saw it for the first time, I
thought he was dead. But he was not dead, he lives. I had him checked,
but the carp is not ill, he is healthy. I think he has a problem in his genes.
Something like schizophrenia, I think.
Dogs, fish, also birds. Andre Rieu is an animal lover. In the big aviary live different kinds of birds, with different
qualities of characters.
Andre: It is hard to match the characters of the birds. For instance: the
Japanese nightingale is beautiful to see and they are great singers. But
they are aggressive birds, stealing eggs from other birds all the time. I like
an atmosphere of harmony in my aviary. Just like I want to have an
atmosphere of harmony in my orchestra. Nobody should say: I am the boss
For the first time Andre Rieu played the violin at the age of 5. Since than a lot of things happened, also concerning
his animal playmates.
When I was young I had a parrot. I walked with him sitting on my shoulder, together we went shopping. Till he bit me
in my lip!. Well, I guess it was my own fault, for I was practicing singing the scales. I think he did not like that and
wanted to say: “Stop it”. Than he bit me.
Andre Rieu does not only play the first violin in his orchestra, Tummy the Boxer also loves his entertainment.
Andre: Boxers are one big lump of love and sweetness. Poodles are totally different, I did not know that! Poodles are
kind of hunting dogs. Every day Wily comes home with mice, birds or frogs. Boxers are too slow and too gentle to do
The star violin player Andre Rieu fully enjoys live. Whether he is conducting, playing the violin himself, practicing
with his orchestra or performing, Rieu always seems to be happy.
At any case his dogs are completing his happiness.
This is an older picture
and I think this is Xander
Andre, Pierre, Tummi and Wily
Andre with Wily and Tummi
Andre and Wily
Andre with Tummi and Xander
Andre's pond with the yellow koi
Parrot sat on my shoulder
He bit me, right here.
Andre and a young Tummi