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The village Nietap, laying in the head of Drenthe at the border of the province of Groningen, had in the former years a flowered trade with the city of Groningen.

Through the Leekster Hoofddiep, the Leekstermeer, that then was called Zulthemeer (meer=lake), the Gave en the Hoendiep there was daily a trip by boat to the city of Groningen.

The little village of Nietap, that in the former years was called Nijentap, had a lot of pubs, some tradehouses and farmerhouses. Because the taxes of the lords from Nienoord pressed on Leek, but not over the frontier in Nietap, a drink in Nietap was much cheaper than in Leek. So it happened that there came a busy frontier-traffic, where especialy the bad logement of Diene Fei, who also was called Diene Butter (because she also sold butter, cheese and eggs) did not play such an important part. So, those are the roots, that made a shantychoir was founded in the head of the province of Drenthe.

The idea to found a shantychoir came in 1993, as the village Nietap celebrated her 300-years anniversary. A small number of thirty men were capable to fulfill the severe conditions to be a member of the choir. These conditions were:

  • Be an inhabitant of Nietap,
  • affinity with the water,
  • and be in love with the booze and women.

It was remarkable that the capability of singing not was requierd.

As you probably know a shantychoir is only a real shantychoir when all choirmembers are real sailormen. Because according to a wellknown and old expression bachelors’ wives and maidens’ children are well taught, you can really assume that we have to do with real sailormen. Besides, at the deep grooved faces of the now 36 singers you can see that wind and seawater have not missed their effectivity. Nietap belongs to the municipality of Noordenveld (until 1999 Roden) in the province of Drenthe, borders on Leek in the province of Groningen and borders also the Leekstermeer. From this Leekstermeer, that in the early days was called Zulthemeer, because of the saltisch water, the shantychoir of Nietap took her name Zulthesingers.

Right after the start in 1994 it turned out, that the enthousiastic radiation of the choir worked out catching the audience, what resulted in many performances. At home and abroad was taken part in shantyfestivals as for example in Spakenburg, Roden, Haren, Muntendam, Veendam, GŁtersloh en Gelsenkirchen. Many performances were given in homes for the aged. In 1999 was reached the 100th performance.
To see some pictures, look at:

The shantychoir de Zulthesingers is from the beginning member of the ISSA, the International Shanty & Seasong Association.

On the occasion of the fifth existence in 1999 the choir was dressed in original 17th century clothes. At that occasion the members got a title, such as shipmate, sailor, caulker, cooper, shipcook, steward, shipcarpenter, surgeon, writer, boatswain, almoner, chiefmate and second mate and of course the captain. Sometimes their are also stowaways on board.

In 1996 our first CD was produced, which was soon sold out, so it was neccesary that a new CD was made. The second CD was recorded in May 2000 during two intensive days in the little church of Niebert. The CD was produced by AE audio Productions from Muntendam. During a special performance in Nietap the new CD could be presented in september 2000. The first specimen was given to the alderman of culture of the municipality of Noordenveld, mr. Geert Wolters, who also lives in Nietap. The third CD was recorded in 2004.
All CD's are for sale during the performances of the Zulthesingers

The choir chooses for a pleasant unconstraint, what especialy finds expression in the repertoire and the various clothes of these uncontrolled men.