Amsterdam's last operating street organ has been banned from the streets at least until the end of November because what it has always gleefully done—attract crowds of onlookers—is now exactly what is not wanted.
Ruud Brienen, who owns the organ and has moved it around Amsterdam daily for over 30 years, had been off the streets through most of the city's lockdown, returning only last week. That didn't last long; he received a letter from the City Council banning him for the next three months.
He told Dutch News that "Until the end of November, I can’t come into the city centre of Amsterdam because the council thinks that groups form in front of musicians and don’t keep a 1.5m distance." He says he's filed an appeal but has no idea how long it will take before he gets an answer. He says he's willing to avoid busy times and places.
Brienen's organ is alone now, but in the 1920s and 1930s there were about 40 out each day, according the the Dutch Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage. The first of the small mobile organs appeared in Amsterdam around 1875 when a Belgian, Leon Warnies, started renting them out to operators.