Monday, November 28, 2022

The Nits: In The Dutch Mountains 1987


Dutch alternative pop group formed in 1974 in Amsterdam. In 1989, the band name "The Nits" was

changed to simply "Nits". Their musical style has varied considerably over the years, as has their line-up with the core of Henk Hofstede (the group's lead singer and lyricist), Rob Kloet, drummer, and Robert Jan Stips (Supersister, Gruppo Sportivo, Golden Earring), keyboards.

Their biggest hit in the Netherlands was "Nescio" (1983), a tribute to the Dutch author Jan Hendrik

Frederik Grönloh. The major hit that brought the band to the attention of an international audience was "In the Dutch Mountains" (1987). Other well-known Nits songs include "J.O.S. Days", "Adieu, Sweet Bahnhof" and "Sketches of Spain". Top 10 albums include Omsk (1983), In the Dutch Mountains (1987), Urk (1989), Doing the Dishes (2008) and Hotel Europa (2015).

The Nits originally consisted of Henk Hofstede (vocals, guitar), Alex Roelofs (bass), Michiel Peters (guitar) and Rob Kloet (drums). Influenced by British pop music, especially the Beatles, they also incorporated influences from new wave music into their sound. They made their live debut in 1974, and

released their self-financed, limited-run debut LP, The Nits, in 1978. This brought them to the attention of Columbia Records, for whom The Nits would continue to record for the next 22 years. Their major-label debut, Tent (1979), carried on the new wave style of The Nits, but was considerably more polished, partly due to the influence of producer Robert Jan Stips. On New Flat (1980) and Work (1981), which made increasing use of synthesisers, "Hofstede reveals a growing aptitude for creating little emotional postcards."

After the synthesized hijinks and tomfoolery that blighted much of Henk, the Nits -- once again a four-

piece with the addition of bassist Joke Geraets -- opted for a return to simplicity with In the Dutch Mountains. The result was an album that probably did more to seduce listeners far beyond their homeland than any other, not least because it was the first to secure a release in the U.S. and the U.K. Yet although it was recorded live in the studio direct to two-track tape, this is no mere exercise in bash-it-out, one-take boogie. It's a warmly atmospheric set that contains some of the Nits' most fully realized work to date.

Many of the songs are inspired by childhood memories, including the title track with its reference to the young Henk Hofstede's assumption that there must be mountains beyond the borders of his home town

of Amsterdam. A massive hit across continental Europe, "In the Dutch Mountains" still generates a storm of applause at Nits concerts. Another live mainstay is "J.O.S. Days," an atypically rustic song about Hofstede's failure to make his local football team, featuring sampled acoustic guitar and (real) harmonica. This contrasts sharply with the dreamy "Two Skaters," at around seven minutes one of the longest songs in the Nits' repertoire and as close as they've ever gotten to an exercise in pure atmospherics.

Other highlights include "The Swimmer" (yet another in a long line of film references), with frenzied accelerating piano assaults framing a delicate melody; the faintly berserk "An Eating House"; and the

gorgeous lullaby "Good Night," with Hofstede's tender vocals cushioned by a remarkably convincing brass band sample. On the vinyl edition, this made for a wonderful coda to the album, but for the CD release three bonus tracks -- none of them quite in keeping with the rest -- were tacked onto the end. Nevertheless, In the Dutch Mountains marked the beginning of a richly creative five-year period that the Nits have yet to top.

The Nits – In The Dutch Mountains
Label: CBS – 467417 2
Format:    CD, Album, Repress, Sony Music
Country: Benelux
Released: 1987   
Genre: Rock
Style: Alternative Rock



01. In The Dutch Mountains    3:26
02. J.O.S. Days    3:13
03. Two Skaters    6:51
04. Pelican & Penguin    3:57
05. In A Play (Das Mädchen Im Pelz)    3:36
06. Oom-pah-pah    1:21
07. The Panorama Man    3:28
08. Mountain Jan    4:42
09. One Eye Open    3:16
10. An Eating House    5:53
11. The Swimmer    3:50
12. Goodnight    2:44
13. Strangers Of The Night    4:27
14. The Magic Of Lassie    1:38
15. Moon And Stars    4:30

Flac Size: 302 MB



  1. I have 7 cds from THE NITS. I must have overlooked or forgotten this one. Thank you Kostas.
    Other very good bands from the Netherlands: The Prodigal Sons, Claw Boys Clow, Daryll-Ann, Blue Guitars, Johan, The Ace-Tones, Fatal Flowers etc etc...

  2. I remember that "In the Dutch Mountains" got lots of airplay on European TV sometime around 1987-1988. Kostas, when was that concert at Rodon? 3000 drachmas was perhaps the cost of two vinyl albums, which was rather expensive at the time (the vinyl).

    1. It was near the 1988, but I am not sure because during the 80's I was living in Italy

  3. Just now 105.2 FM plays In The Dutch Mountains, I hadn't heard it on the radio/TV for years and immediately remembered your post.