This blog is dedicated to the sublime instruments called nose flutes and which produce the most divine sound ever. We have chosen to discard all the native models from S. Pacific and Asia, for they need fingering to be played. We'll concentrate on "buccal cavity driven" nose flutes : the well patented and trademarked metal or plastic ones, plus, by a condemnable indulgence, some wooden craft or home-made productions.

Jan 22, 2013

Dutch advertisements - Part II: Mainland

[Sequel of the post: Dutch advertisements - Part I: The Colonies]

It is not possible neither to be affirmative about the appearance year of the first nose flutes in the Netherlands, mainland. I found much fewer advertisements in the newspapers than in Dutch Indonesia, and I suppose the explanation is that they were more specifically localised in musical or toys catalogues, which might have been less spread in the colonies.

While the first neusfluit ad found in the indonesian papers dates of 1923, I found none in mainland press before 1927. It's a music instrument shop of Maastricht, selling nose flutes for Saint Nicholas Day. Next year, also for the same celebration, nose flutes are to be sold in Amsterdam, in a stationery.

And that's almost all. Only ads for Saint Nicholas Day. However, nose flutes are not totally absent of the press. They are found in "want ads", like in this 1928 one...

... or this wholesale one, dating of 1981:

Neusfluiten also appear in stories, serial novels or reports on jazz music. Rarely, they make an apparition in the back pages, like in the following article published on 10th of February, 1939, in the Leeuwarder Nieuwsblad:

Mr. Maikel Mei had the gentleness to translate this little gem for us, thanks a lot to him!:

A nose flute solo that ended badly.

[The original article contains Frisian as well as slang from Leeuwarden, the capital of Friesland, in the north of the Netherlands.]

Klaas K., an unemployed young man from Leeuwarden, tries to overcome his difficulties in life by playing music. He uses very simple means to do so, a nose flute. We never heard of this instrument and had always thought that the simplest of musical instruments was the so-called “onion-peel”. That was a small, flat piece of metal held inside the front of the mouth, which was used by a certain artist called “Black-haired Kobus” to accompany his violin solos at fun fairs in the area, many years ago. Even without accompaniment the nose flute itself makes enough noise to fine its player. [It is suggested here that busking was illegal].

This is exactly what happened to Klaas K., apparently a sad case. When the judge asks him “Why did you do it?” the defendant states “Well, I also had a fine left to pay here of 5 Florins, for riding my bicycle in the slipstream of a car, and I just decided to make that money by busking. I had only just started when I already had to quit again.” Charge: 3 Florins or 3 days in jail. How is K. doing today? “Just a tiny little bit of trade, but the yield is only very small these days.” “And those 5 Florins?” “I nearly have them, your honour, but I wanted to pay them in cents, that’s why.” Whether it was this wonderful resolution or his unfortunate and unsuccessful debut on the nose flute, the sentence was 1 Florin or 1 day in jail.


On the same topic:

- Dutch advertisements - Part I: The Colonies
- Dutch advertisements - Part II: Mainland



  1. What?! 100,000 nose flutes for 2 cents a piece?! That is the equivalent of only 9,000 Euros...!!!

    It is really interesting to see the slow but sure decrease in popularity and price from the mid-1920s through to the early 1980s.

    Interestingly, an ordinary loaf of bread in the Netherlands cost the average equivalent of 6 eurocents in 1910, 9 eurocents in 1930, 17 eurocents in 1950, 36 eurocents in 1970 and 79 eurocents in 1980. Source:
    I simply cannot believe that people actually paid the equivalent of up to 90 eurocents in the mid-1920s for a nose flute!

    I wonder if all the Saint Nicolas presents in the 1927 ad were around the same budget?

  2. I have noticed that the nose flute prices have always decreased, unless before/during the WWII.