Van Der Aven

Folk-rock band Van Der Aven released their emotional ballad ‘Heimwee’ on 10 June. Image: Supplied Photographer: Dawid van Niekerk

‘Heimwee’: Rising stars Van Der Aven pour their hearts out on new ballad

Rising band Van Der Aven’s new single, ‘Heimwee’, is inspired by JRL van Bruggen’s Afrikaans poem of the same name. Have a listen.

Van Der Aven

Folk-rock band Van Der Aven released their emotional ballad ‘Heimwee’ on 10 June. Image: Supplied Photographer: Dawid van Niekerk

Folk-rock band Van Der Aven rose to fame after winning the Band Or Bust competition at the Toyota Woordfees in March 2020 in the lively town of Stellenbosch. After capturing South African audiences with their lively emotional performances, the three-man band is celebrating the release of their new single, Heimwee

ALSO READ: Local muso Daniel Baron celebrates SAMA nods with emotional ballad


Van Der Aven, made up of Roelof van der Merwe, Theunis van der Merwe and Paul Avenant, were crowned the winners of the Band or Bust competition by judges Theo Crous, Karen Zoid, Wynand Myburg and Tecla Ciolfi, the editor-in-chief of Texx and the City. 

“They’ve got a unique ability to connect with their audience and they’ll leave you feeling light after a show. That’s why I [chose] them,” said Ciolfi. 

“Over the last two years they’ve grown in leaps and bounds and I can’t wait to see how their first single, Heimwee, is received.”


Heimwee is a poem originally written by Afrikaans poet, lecturer and publisher Jan Reinder Leonard van Bruggen during his studies in the Netherlands. Van Bruggen wrote the poem to reflect on the beauty South Africa has to offer. 

 Roelof van der Merwe came across the poem during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. Having grown up in the Karoo, van der Merwe felt homesick whilst in Stellenbosch and turned to Google where he stumbled upon the lyrics of Heimwee. He felt so moved that he wrote his own music to the words. 

When COVID-19 restrictions were eased at the beginning of 2022, Van Der Aven recorded Heimwee alongside Jürgen von Wechmar, who has worked with the likes of Beatenberg, Die Heuwels Fantasties and Albert Frost. 

The track was officially released on 10 June. 


ALSO READ: Afro-soul star SPHEMusic explores love in ‘Khuluma’ music video [watch]


A classic version of Heimwee was released by legendary singer Mimi Coertse as part of her album, Onse Mimi, Vol 2 in 2014. 

“We planned in advance to release our single [on] Friday 10 June and we were surprised to hear that it is Mimi  Coertse’s 90th birthday on 12 June, only two days after our release,” said van der Merwe. 

“We respect the fact that her version of Heimwee is an absolute gem in the treasure chest of the heritage of Afrikaans music.”

With their heartfelt reworking of Heimwee, Van Der Aven hopes to establish themselves as one of the country’s top acts.