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During the 19th century, Abraham de Winter (from Breda) was one of the most popular comedians in the Netherlands and Belgium. Abraham was born in 1841 in a poor Jewish family that lived in the Antwerp barracks, back then one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Breda.

Abraham started his career as a straw trader which he bought from farmers and sold to local factories. Through his job, he met a lot of different people. To make his job a bit more enjoyable he entertained everyone with stories, jokes and magic tricks. This was such a success that he decided to start performing in cafe’s in Breda, after his regular workday days. His big break came in 1884, after which he became a household name in Dutch and Belgian theatres.

Abraham de Winter | Image: Stadsarchief Breda

With his solo-shows Abraham is seen as the predecessor of modern cabaret. With his ‘character comedy’ he imitates several kinds of people and professions such as street sweeper, conductor or doctor. His satirical performances and compassion for suffering fellow-citizens made him loved by both the rich and the poor. In Breda he was mostly loved for his free shows for the poor in the Concordia Theatre.

In 1901 the ‘Dutch Representatives of The Gramophone Company’ offered him a contract to record a record. This makes him one of the first (maybe even the very first) Dutch person who’s voice was preserved thanks to the gramophone.

In honour of the 750th anniversary of Breda, musician Spinvis wrote 3 songs that feature recordings of Abraham, released as ‘Nog Meer Apen!’ Which you can check out on Spotify here.


Image: Stedelijk Museum Breda

Inspired by this story, Collin van der Sluijs created a mural behind former city theatre Concordia. In his mural Collin painted a song thrush. In addition to his own song, this bird can easily mimic 7 other bird species.

We’re sharing this series of Blind Wall stories for everyone that could use some distraction during this scary and uncertain situation. Stay safe everyone.

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