In the ‘Icons’ series, we each time add a new portrait to the hall of fame of North Holland greats. This week it is singer and ‘all-rounder’ Ellen ten Damme.

    Ellen ten Damme – Robert Jan de Boer


    name: Ellen ten Damme

    born: Warnsveld, 1967

    profession: singer, musician, theater maker

    honors list: Gold record for Do you dare?2009

    Ellen ten Damme continues a long musical family tradition. “The Ten Dammetjes all played an instrument. They are also known in Winterswijk, where they come from, as the musical family.”

    But when it comes to her own musicality, Ellen tries to temper expectations: “I’m sure there are people more musical than me.”

    But the outside world thinks otherwise. She sings and plays many instruments and it comes easily to her. At least, that’s the impression she gives. “No”, says Ellen, “I can’t do everything at all. I’m not a virtuoso at all. I’m a singer and I like to use all those different instruments. Then it seems like you can do it all well. But that’s not too bad, I think so myself. If you can play one instrument, you can also learn all those other instruments fairly quickly, if you know the theory. I think that applies to every musician.”

    “If you can play one instrument, you can also learn all those other instruments pretty quickly”

    Ellen ten damme, singer

    Piano lesson

    To indicate that she also has to make an effort to master all those instruments, Ellen says that she has used the corona time by taking piano lessons for the first time.

    “I already played some and made songs on the piano, but now I really had to learn pieces.” As an example of her newfound skills, she plays a piece by Bach for us on the piano. “I just enjoy doing it myself,” she says. “You have to make it your own, you have to make an effort. Me too, for sure”, she says with a broad smile.


    In a previous life Ellen ten Damme could also be admired as an actress, but she has not been doing that for a long time. “That being an actor was thrown into my lap by my first film. That was a music film in which everything was sung. That’s why I ended up completely in the film world, also in Germany.”

    Ten Damme liked acting in itself, but in the end it could not be combined with her work as a singer. “The acting took a lot of time every time. Then I had to choose and I always chose the music.”

    “As an actor you are a very small cog in a big picture. You don’t feel that you have much influence. I didn’t like that. Sometimes it didn’t turn out what I wanted at all. It was always very different than I thought.”


    Ellen ten Damme therefore finds working on a theater show much more fun, and a new program of hers will soon be premiered. Here, too, things always go differently than planned, with one major advantage, according to Ten Damme: “Everyone can say what they think about me. If they have a good idea, I’d love to. But I like the agreement that I can decide it.” .”

    Look here for more North Holland icons.

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