Bassie & Adriaan

Bassie & Adriaan was a television programme series focusing on the adventures and lives of a circus duo consisting of clown Bassie and acrobat Adriaan, played by real-life circus duo Bas and Aad van Toor.

Bassie & Adriaan
Bassie & Adriaan.png
Created byAad van Toor
Bas van Toor
Joop van den Ende
StarringAad van Toor
Bas van Toor
Paul van Gorcum
and others
Country of originNetherlands
No. of episodes144
Running time25 minutes (without commercials)
Original networkNederland 2 (TROS) (1978-1990)
TV 2 (TROS) (1992-1996)
Original release1978 (1978) –
1996 (1996)

Written by Aad van Toor and originally produced by Joop van den Ende, the first series became a television hit in the Netherlands in the spring season of 1978.[1] At its peak, the show attracted over three million viewers, which was noted to be "a lot" for a children's programme.[2] The show ran for nine series, with the last original episode airing in 1996. Between 1980 and 1982, the Van Toor brothers ran their own independent circus, which was named Circus Bassie & Adriaan, which later became a subsidiary of Circus Renz.


Bas van Toor (born 1935) left school at an early age to pursue a number of odd-jobs. At 19 he joined the circus and spent a year on the road. After this, he decided to form an acrobat duo with his brother Aad (born 1942). In 1955, The Melton Brothers/The Crocksons were born. In 1965, they embarked on what was planned to be a two-year stint abroad; they stayed abroad ten years instead. During this period they befriended Siegfried & Roy, incorporated the wives into their act (The Four Crocksons) and staged children's matinees in Dutch, German and English while residing in Spain for nightclub-shows. The seeds for Bassie & Adriaan were sown in 1964 when the brothers did a clown act as part of Rudi Carrell's travelling circus. The brothers wrote a clown act for Pipo de Clown, and incorporated themselves into it as well. It was so successful that the brothers were invited to make their own series under the scrutiny of Joop van den Ende.[3]


1978–1982: First series and Circus Bassie en AdriaanEdit

Bassie and Adriaan with their own circus animals.

In January 1978, TROS released the first series of Bassie & Adriaan, titled De avonturen van Bassie en Adriaan (The adventures of Bassie and Adriaan). With its crossover potential, the series became the most watched children's series of the first half of 1978.[4] As a result, the show was soon renewed for a second season, which received just as high viewing figures. Within the space of two years, three series were shot and released.

In 1980, Joop van den Ende founded a circus around the duo and toured with it throughout the country. The circus proved popular in its first year and sold out nearly every single show.[5]

1982–1987: Closure of the circus, split from Joop van den Ende, split from and return to TROSEdit

After the release of De huilende professor in 1982, TROS saw the appreciation ratings for the series go down and proposed the Van Toor brothers to put the series on halt for a year to give the older series more time to be rebroadcast. Bas van Toor claimed that TROS did not want the brothers anymore, while the head of entertainment of the broadcaster stated that the brothers were allowed to go to other broadcasters if they pleased.[6]

Meanwhile, the brothers Van Toor also ended their long-term collaboration with producer Joop van den Ende after he left in his position of director at Circus Bassie & Adriaan, which left the brothers taking over the daily management of the business. The brothers were soon overworked and let the circus collapse in favour of their own well-being.[7] On top of that, the costs had outweighed the earnings.[8]

They then started their collaboration with Belgian broadcaster BRT, for which they produced several mini-series. BRT was also interested in commissioning a long series with proper episodes.[9] In 1985, TROS commissioned a new series by the duo, which made their return to the TROS official.[10]

1987–1996: Later seriesEdit

In 1987, their first self-produced series, Het geheim van de schatkaart was released. It quickly became the most appreciated television programme of the Netherlands with an average of 7.7 out of 10. Its premiere on 9 January 1987 received a 7.6 and amassed to an audience share of 11%, outscoring other popular television programmes for adults. As a result of the success, the brothers received a contract to produce two more series.[11]

1997–2003: Farewell tour and Aad van Toor's illnessEdit

Bassie & Adriaan at the opening of their exhibition on July 8, 2017

In October 2002 Bassie & Adriaan announced their farewell tour. The final show, planned for January 4, 2004, was to include a guest appearance by the three crooks, however the tour prematurely ended on July 31, 2003 as Aad van Toor was diagnosed with cancer.[12] At the end of the last show, when his relatives brought him flowers, he burst into tears. "You want more?" he asked as usual. "Well so do I, but unfortunately I'm sick. I have to go to hospital".

2003–present: Film appearance and revived successEdit

In 2003, the Dutch branch of Nickelodeon bought the rights to show several seasons of Bassie & Adriaan series on their channel. These reruns proved a success as it quickly became the channels most watched programme at the time, collecting almost half a million viewers per episode. Aad van Toor hosted a special 24-hour marathon of episodes for the channel on New Year's Day 2004.[13]

In September 2014, the show's theme song "Hallo Vriendjes" became a viral internet sensation when Dutch teens and students challenged their international friends to sing along to the lyrics.[14]

In 2015, the Van Toor brothers played Bassie and Adriaan in the picture Koen en Keet en de speurtocht naar Bassie & Adriaan.

In 2019, their production company started uploading their episodes on YouTube, after they had registered a channel in 2012. This proved popular, as their old episodes got over 90 million views all together. It led Veronica's Superguide joke that "you do not have to young and handsome to become a YouTube success".[15] The brothers stated that they initially had wanted to sell their series to Netflix, but that Netflix had rejected them because of the series' poor picture quality.[16]

The Van Toor brothers were in a long-term legal battle with actor Paul van Gorcum, who played the Baron in several series. Together with three other actors, they sued the Van Toor brothers over their own right on royalty payments for the series produced with Joop van den Ende.[17] In 2020, the Rotterdam district court court ruled that Van Toor brothers had to pay damages of €15,000 in total to four actors including Van Gorcum.[18] This sum was significantly less than the claimed €193,000. The district court ruled that the actors had been underpaid but that that the claimed sum was diproportional to the screentime that the actors had had in series.[19]

Main charactersEdit

  • Adriaan (Aad van Toor) - an acrobat in a blue (originally purple) 1970s-style satin shirt; his philosophy is: "Wat er ook gebeurt, altijd blijven lachen." (Translation: "Whatever happens, always keep smiling"). Adriaan is the wiser half of the duo, often creating solutions to their problems.
  • Bassie (Bas van Toor) - ginger-haired red-nosed clown who wears a red tartan-jacket and green trousers; he's fond of cream-cakes, and calls himself "stupid, but not smart". Bassie is the more relaxed one with a strong sense of humour.


Year Series Original start date Original end date Audience grade
1978 De avonturen van Bassie en Adriaan 10 January 1978 4 April 1978 7,1-7,5[20]
Bassie and Adriaan find themselves abandoned by their own circus because they overslept, and with no tour-schedule in sight or any money they're forced to take other jobs but lose each one. A mischievous prankster ("plaaggeest") is responsible in part for their misery. Bassie and Adriaan are saved by a self-proclaimed free spirit called Douwe whom they meet on the work-floor. Adriaan suspects that Douwe is the "plaaggeest", but cannot prove it. In fact, the "plaaggeest" disappears, regretting his actions in an open letter. In the final episode Bassie and Adriaan return to the circus. (Note: Aad van Toor later regretted not disclosing who the "plaaggeest" actually was, but many fans regard Douwe to be the culprit.)

The series was later retitled to De plaaggeest.

1978-1979 De nieuwe avonturen van Bassie en Adriaan 9 October 1978 21 May 1979 7,1-7,5[21]
Bassie and Adriaan take a well-earned holiday but find themselves chased by two diamond thieves, referred to as B1 and B2, who mistake Bassie for the go-between who came to collect the key to the vault of the stolen diamonds. B1 and B2 stage many fruitless efforts to get the key back in Spain, where Bassie and Adriaan are on holidays. Upon their return at Rotterdam Airport, they finally manage to lure the clown and his pet bird Sweety to their car and drag him inside. When Adriaan manages to release Bassie, they set up a sting operation at Rotterdam's Central Station.

The series was later retitled to het geheim van de sleutel

1979-1980 De diamant 17 November 1979 7 June 1980 7,1-7,5[22]
Bassie and Adriaan have a diamond named after them. Escaped from prison, the diamond thieves from the previous series attempt to steal it, dressing up as Bassie and Adriaan. The actual Bassie and Adriaan are arrested but soon released because their fingerprints do not match those on the crime scene. Because of their damaged reputations, Bassie and Adriaan have to leave the circus. They are given three days to prove their innocence and they eventually do so using a secretly videotaped confession of the actual diamond thieves. Unable to return to the circus afterwards, they are offered to join a circus that is named after them.
1982 De huilende professor 4 April 1982 6 December 1982 7,1-7,5[23]
Professor Archibald Chagrijn wants to expose the world to a gas that he invented ("Grien gas") which makes people sad and causes them to cry. Bassie proves immune to the effects of the gas as he has had an overdose of laughing gas. The professor is hiding on the Canary Islands, but Bassie and Adriaan manage to track him down.

This series also featured the last scenes with Sweety and the first with Robin, a robot born out of Bassie's attempt to fix an alarm-clock and a radio by merging them into one.

1987 Het geheim van de schatkaart 2 January 1987 17 April 1987 7.7[24]
Bassie and Adriaan buy a painting with a treasure map on the back. Chased by the Baron, Vlugge Japie and B2, they go to Lanzarote to find the treasure.
1988 De verdwenen kroon 5 January 1988 23 February 1988 N/A
The Baron, Vlugge Japie and B2 escape from prison to steal a crown from a museum. Bassie and Adriaan are instructed to bring the ransom money but they are heading for a trap, leaving themselves accused of pocketing the cash.
1989 De verzonken stad 6 October 1989 1 December 1989 N/A
Bassie and Adriaan are taking a mind-easing holiday in Greece, trying to not involve themselves in any adventures. However, Bassie discovers an ancient stone with mysterious inscriptions that initially partially translate to "wise man", "power" and "whoever possesses this is the world's richest man". The Baron, Vlugge Japie and B2 also find themselves in Greece after escaping from prison. They eventually manage to steal the stone and try to translate the rest of the inscriptions. Eventually, Bassie and Adriaan discover that the criminals are also in Greece and try to catch them, once and for all.
1992 De geheimzinnige opdracht 7 February 1992 25 April 1992 7,6[25]
A fan of Bassie and Adriaan's lets the duo collect mysterious parcels as mysterious riddles and tasks inside them, which leads them eventually travel throughout Europe. Meanwhile, The Baron, Vlugge Japie and B2 divert roads upon release from prison. The Baron, in search for new accomplices, recruits Harry and an anonymous man in a trenchcoat who adopts the codename B100. The crooks assume that Bassie and Adriaan are on another treasure-hunting trip and are determined to find them.

The series was produced as a tribute to the newly-established European Community, which was founded in the year that the series was recorded. This series had an educational element about the visited countries. At later instances, the series was also dubbed as De reis door Europa.

1994 De reis vol verassingen 7 January 1994 13 May 1994 N/A
Bassie and Adriaan embark on another parcel-hunting trip on Curaçao. However, it is a booby trap set up by the Baron, Harry and B100. Vlugge Japie, now residing on the island, spoils everything by stealing the parcel. Back in the Netherlands, the crooks spot Bassie taking part in a television quiz, winning a trip through the United States. Bassie and Adriaan head of on a road trip and try to catch the criminals one last time.
1996 Liedjes uit grootmoeders tijd 1 September 1995 11 August 1996 N/A
Bassie and Adriaan explore the Netherlands and sing classic children's songs.

In other mediaEdit

The characters received their own comic strip series between 1983 and 1985, drawn by Frans Verschoor.[26]


  1. ^ "TROS meeste kijkers, niet hoogste waardering". Leeuwarder Courant. 25 October 1978. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  2. ^ Berkenbosch, Co (23 January 1980). "Bassie en Adriaan scoren hoog". De Telegraaf. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  3. ^ van Baars, Laura (6 July 2007). "profiel Bas van Toor / Handen af van Bassie". Trouw. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  4. ^ "TROS meeste kijkers, niet hoogste waardering". Leeuwarder Courant. 25 October 1978. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  5. ^ "Clown Bassie huilt na mislukt circusavontuur". De Telegraaf. 21 October 1982. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  6. ^ Koster, Piet (13 December 1982). "TROS zet Bassie en Adriaan aan de dijk". Het Vrije Volk. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  7. ^ Koster, Piet (6 August 1982). "Circus B en A stopt". Het Vrije Volk. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  8. ^ "Clown Bassie huilt na mislukt circusavontuur". De Telegraaf. 21 October 1982. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  9. ^ "Belgen verrukt van Bassie en Adriaan". Het Vrije Volk. 9 October 1984. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  10. ^ "Clowns in vuur en vlam". Het Vrije Volk. 22 November 1985. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  11. ^ Onze radio- en televisieredactie (26 February 1987). "'Geheim van de schatkaart' bezorgt Bassie en Adriaan topwaardering". Het Vrije Volk. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  12. ^ van Baars, Laura (6 July 2007). "profiel Bas van Toor / Handen af van Bassie". Trouw. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  13. ^ "Bassie & Adriaan". Beeld en Geluid Wiki. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  14. ^ Redactie (10 September 2014). "Hele wereld zingt mee met Bassie en Adriaan". Algemeen Dagblad. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  15. ^ Regeling, Judith (23 March 2020). "Bassie en Adriaan zijn een hit op YouTube". Superguide. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  16. ^ EditieNL (30 March 2018). "Bassie en Adriaan naar Netflix? 'Nog steeds dagelijks een uur bezig met fanmail'". RTL Nieuws. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  17. ^ Vermeeren, Renée (23 January 2020). "Drommels! De Baron eist geld van Bassie en Adriaan". Superguide. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  18. ^ "Bassie en Adriaan moeten 'baron' Paul van Gorcum alsnog betalen". Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  19. ^ van Wijk, Leon (25 November 2020). "Bassie en Adriaan moeten 15.000 euro schadevergoeding betalen aan tegenspelers: 'Altijd blijven lachen'". Algemeen Dagblad. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  20. ^ Koster, Piet (13 December 1982). "TROS zet Bassie en Adriaan aan de dijk". Het Vrije Volk. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  21. ^ Koster, Piet (13 December 1982). "TROS zet Bassie en Adriaan aan de dijk". Het Vrije Volk. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  22. ^ Koster, Piet (13 December 1982). "TROS zet Bassie en Adriaan aan de dijk". Het Vrije Volk. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  23. ^ Koster, Piet (13 December 1982). "TROS zet Bassie en Adriaan aan de dijk". Het Vrije Volk. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  24. ^ Onze radio- en televisieredactie (26 February 1987). "'Geheim van de schatkaart' bezorgt Bassie en Adriaan topwaardering". Het Vrije Volk. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  25. ^ "TV Toptien vorige week". Algemeen Dagblad. 3 March 1992. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  26. ^ "Frans Verschoor". Retrieved 29 January 2018.


External linksEdit