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History in a nutshell (in English)

For our viewers abroad

Westend drums, the real story in a nutshell

In 1914, Justus de Hooge establishes a shop for musical instruments at Westeinde 176 in The Hague, The Netherlands. He names the firm: J. de Hooge. Almost every type of musical instrument can be bought there. In 1947, two sons of Justus (Bram and Just) become co-owners and founder Justus steps back from active involvement. They re-name the firm: J. de Hooge & Zonen (J. de Hooge & Sons).
Bram en Just sell all kinds of musical instruments, as done by their dad, but they decide to specialize in drums. The brothers start to repair more and more (mainly English and American) drums, and after a while, they gain a lot of knowledge about repairing drums. Therefore they decide to sell and specialize in repair of drums only.

A Dutch well known professional drummer, Tonny Nüsser, likes what Bram and Just are doing and he gives them lots of professional advise. Because of all of that information, the brothers decide to build a drum kit of which they think will be perfect and in 1954 their first custom built drum set is for sale. They name it: Westend, an English version of the name “Westeinde” the street where their shop can be found in the city of The Hague.

The first years are hard on them, not more than about eight drum sets are being sold and mainly to jazz drummers. Bram, the technician of the two brothers, is constantly looking for improvements and that’s why many details are different every time they finish a new drum kit. In 1960, Just decides to leave the firm and Bram is now the sole owner of the company. In spite of that, the name of the firm has never been changed from: J. de Hooge & Zonen.

During the sixties, more and more drummers hear about the high quality of the brand “Westend” and a lot of kits are being ordered. Not only to jazz drummers, but by many rock drummers as well.
Some names of groups playing on Westend in those years: The Dutch Swing College Band, Q65, The Motions, Shocking Blue (with their hit record Venus in 1970) and Golden Earring (Radar Love, recorded in 1973 with two 26” bass drums).

At the end of the sixties, lots of relatively cheap Japanese drums such as Pearl and Tama reach the European market. The American brands, such as Gretsch, Ludwig, Rogers and Slingerland are expensive (because of the high rate of the US dollar), but because of increasing income world wide (and therefore in the Netherlands as well) making it possible to afford the American drums, Westend is loosing its grip on the “drum production” market.

January 1, 1976, after producing 300–400 custom made Westend drum sets (Bram de Hooge is now 69 years old), the production of this remarkable Dutch brand of drums becomes history and the final curtain closes.

Bram (left) and Just in their workshop at the Westeinde. It's the only picture of the brothers we were able to find (Picture: magazine "Rythme", December 1957, page 25).

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