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"How does it really live in a fairytale castle?"

Photo: Getty Images

TV presenter Carmen Nebel meets the waltz king André Rieu

The most popular orchestra leader welcomes the most popular TV presenter in his hometown! And that just before the big TV summer special from Maastricht on 15 August on ZDF. André Rieu (59) talked to Carmen Nebel about dreams, plans and the mystery of his red sofa ...

Carmen Nebel: You really live in a fairytale castle!

André Rieu: Yes, when I come home after a trip, I always sit down on the steps in front of the entrance, breathe in, and enjoy the feeling of being here again. Incidentally, in this castle a lot of music has always been made. When I was little, I got piano lessons in the then dark, damp rooms. I do not like that or my piano teacher (laughs). Incidentally, the violin lessons took place abroad.

Carmen Nebel: How did you act as a student?

André Rieu: I was a dreamer!

Carmen Nebel: The darkness is now driven out of the castle. You have made it inside and out very romantic. Your favorite hobby is gardening. What ties you to it?

André Rieu: I think it's nature in general. I like the plants and the plants. It should be romantic. Of course I do not do everything alone. I have a home gardener and three others who support him.

Carmen Nebel: Not only the garden, but also cooking in the castle kitchen is a passion of yours.

André Rieu: Absolutely. A typical dish from here is Limburger Sauerfleisch, in Dutch we say "Zuurvlees". My Specialty. In addition you eat French fries and apple compote. Another typical dish is Matjes, which we buy fresh at the market stall. Grab the fish by the tail, directly into the mouth and bite off. With onions or without, and this includes a glass of brandy.

Carmen Nebel: And in your historic walls you have recently been given a very special honor.

André Rieu: Yes, I got a visit from the Duke of Montesquieu, a real descendant of musketeer D'Artagnan. He came to the Societé with his envoys, and I was appointed a Musketeer. That was something special for me. According to tradition, D'Artagnan spent the last days before his death here in the castle.

Carmen Nebel: A red leather sofa is very important to André Rieu. Why?

André Rieu: Because sleeping is so important to me to live this life. Before every concert I lie down on this red couch. There are five identical pieces, one is in Australia, another in America. I travel around the world, I'm not home for half of the year, and on this sofa I'm a bit like being in my own bed.

Carmen Nebel: Do you also sleep at lunchtime?

André Rieu: Yes, from 12.30 to 14.30, I can recommend that to anyone.

Carmen Nebel: You own one of the most modern studios in Europe. How often do you rehearse with the Johann Strauss Orchestra?

André Rieu: Every year we make a new CD, then we are here for a whole month. In Germany, we bring out the next in the fall.

Carmen Nebel: With the backdrop of Schönbrunn Palace, you travel around the world as the Waltz King. How many people fit in exactly with this backdrop?

André Rieu: The dimensions are: 130 meters long and 34 meters high. And 50, 000 people fit in front of it.

TV Tip: Welcome to Carmen Nebel - The big summer special from Maastricht, Saturday, August 15, 8:15 pm on ZDF!