Ben Houdijk – Toast!
Deputy mayor Touria Meliani presented Leon Ramakers with the Orde van Oranje Nassau for his contributions to the Dutch concert and festival culture
Leon Ramakers, the long-time director of Mojo Concerts, received the Orde van Oranje Nassau (Order of Orange Nassau) for his contributions to the Dutch concert and festival culture.
Deputy mayor Touria Meliani, who presented Ramakers with the award during a surprise ceremony at AFAS Live, said: “You have built up the concert and festival culture in the Netherlands from scratch. You did that on your terms with respect for both sides, the audience and the musician. With an eye for the long term.”
Meliani pointed out that Ramakers had worked with the biggest international acts but never lost sight of the up and coming talent. “You are a great connector who works with a pleasant modesty. People that know you praise your unsurpassed musical knowledge, your entrepreneurship and social commitment. Your moral compass and your business instinct.”
Leon Ramakers started working at Mojo Concerts, which was founded by Berry Visser in 1968, almost fifty years ago. Starting out from Delft, he brought thousands of international artists to the Netherlands and developed the live industry in the country.
Pollstar met Ramakers in Groningen, Netherlands, earlier this year to talk about his and Mojo’s history.
Ramakers was instrumental in the building of Amsterdam’s flagship concert venues, the 6,000 capacity AFAS Live, which leads Pollstar‘s first ever Europe-focused Magna Charta ranking in the theater category, and the 16,800 capacity Ziggo Dome, which landed among the top ten in the arena category.
Over the years, Ramakers has grown Mojo Concerts into an internationally respected company that puts on live entertainment for two million visitors every year. Ramakers stepped down as director of Mojo several years ago, but has remained hands-on.
He was not only awarded for his work in the live industry, but also for his support of start-ups in the music industry and in other cultural areas as well as for his contributions while holding various administrative and supervisory positions in the Dutch cultural landscape, including architecture and publishing.
Ramakers told Pollstar that was “totally surprised” by the award. “Mojo got me to come to AFAS Live to supposedly celebrate a (very late) New Year’s drink. And at the end of the evening the alderman of the city came in and decorated me to “Officier in de orde van Oranje Nassau”, quite an honour.
“My wife got the same award last year for her cultural work in the Netherlands (Droog Design), so we’re now one of the very few couples that both have been granted this honour,” he explained.
Ramakers is also a 2019 recipient of the Goude Harp (Golden Harp), a award handed out by Dutch authors’ rights society BUMA honouring Dutch musicians and music professionals.
A statement from Mojo reads: “Ramakers is internationally and nationally praised for his respectful and honorable way of working. He is averse to glamor and he usually stays in the background.”