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Levenslied (Dutch, literally "life song" or "song about life") is a sentimental Dutch-language subgenre of popular music.[1] Levenslied lyrics can be sweet or bitter, light and sentimental, but also reflective and dark, about subjects such as love, misery and far-away, sunny, exotic holiday places. The darker, more sentimental songs are also known as "smartlap" (literally: "grief cloth"). The levenslied is related to the chanson though for a lower-class audience, like the schlager.

A typical levenslied has catchy, simple rhythms and melodies and is built up in couplets and refrains. Traditional musical instruments in levenslied music are the accordion and the barrel organ. Modern levenslied artists also use synthesizers and guitars.

Two cities in the Netherlands, Tilburg and Nijmegen, have annual Levenslied festivals.[2][3]


Notable Dutch levenslied singers:

Famous Flemish levenslied-artists:


  1. ^ Meyer, Gust de (2004). Cultuur met een kleine c (in Dutch). ACCO. p. 213. ISBN 9789033456626. 
  2. ^ Pennings, Mattijs (1 June 2016). "Django Wagner, Rene Schuurmans en Corry Konings naar Tilburgs Festival van het Levenslied" (in Dutch). Omroep Brabant. Retrieved 18 July 2016. 
  3. ^ "Kunst tijdens Dag van het Levenslied". De Gelderlander (in Dutch). 19 April 2016. Retrieved 18 July 2016. 
  4. ^ "Vuile Huichelaar-zangeres Renée de Haan overleden" (in Dutch). RTL Nieuws. 2 July 2016. Retrieved 18 July 2016. 
  5. ^ Strong, Catherine; Lebrun, Barbara (2016-03-03). Death and the Rock Star. Taylor & Francis. pp. 35–. ISBN 9781317154501. 
  6. ^ Sinnema, Leonie (20 June 2016). "Imca Marina verlaat De Vicarie, maar blijft trouwen in Oldambt". Dagblad van het Noorden (in Dutch). Retrieved 18 July 2016.