Dearest mister Krammer and all those present,
It is a miracle that I am here. Or, as matter of fact, it is a miracle that you are here. I know that you have had a very difficult time lately and that it is owed to your own willpower and zest for life that we are here together now. And besides, not to forget the care and love of your neighbors.
But maybe there is STILL a power that has given you strength to go on, namely your love for music.
As Ludwig van Beethoven once said: ''Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy''. Just like you, Beethoven got hampered by a serious ailment. In his case that was deafness. In his opinion music was an almost religious experience. And I can imagine very well, that the music has often been a saver in distress also for you.
But there is more for you then only the music at itself. Just like Van Beethoven you don't keep your music for yourself, but you want to pass on your love, your knowledge and your skills to others and you have done so entirely disinterestedly.
Already almost twenty years you inspire others on the piano. You have tutored the love for music and especially the love for improvisation on the piano to hundreds of people. It is also on behalf of all your students, that I am here today, to thank you for that dedication and that inspiration.
The fact that you are so engaged with improvisation has made me think. Because: what does that really say about you? Are you a man that gladly leaves the cleared ways? Are you autonomous? Are you someone who does not get scared off by the unknown, but who throws himself in the depth and hopes for a good outcome, who knows how to get the maximum out of every experience by free expression? A man with guts, perseverance, innovation urgency? What is it all together? Or is it maybe a little bit of everything?
Still not so long ago the acting mayor has honored you for all your services. You received the Zilveren Waalbrugspeld (literally translated from Dutch to English: ''the Silver Waal Bridge Pin'', referring to the river Waal and its famous bridge, that became more or less the symbol of the city of Nijmegen) of the city of Nijmegen on October 24 2005.
But also outside our municipal borders everything that you have done has leaded to fame. And not only outside the city hall or outside here, outside the town, but also in palace circles.... And I am therefore very honored that I may let you know that it has pleased Her Majesty to knight you as a Member in the Order of Oranje Nassau.
(Mayor G. ter Horst pins up the royal decoration and whispers into Jan's ear: ''You are very welcome to it.'')