How will we be remembered?
Marja & Henk were my oldest contributors. They'd joined 6moons when Ivette and I still called Taos/NM our home and listened to Avantgarde Duo speakers like our Dutchies did. They also were the only wife/husband reviewers I knew and knew of. Sunday before last, Marja emailed me a long, very carefully crafted and detailed letter. After very invasive surgeries following sudden hospitalization, Henk was in an induced coma to aid recovery before attempting subsequent procedures. Due to Covid lock-down, she could only visit at very restricted times. She said Henk looked very peaceful in his bed. She was simply uncertain whether he'd come out of the coma again, never mind would have the stomach for subsequent surgeries if he did.
We called her immediately. Ivette was on the same line. Marja was heart-broken yet incredibly clear and practical. She and Henk had discussed death well in advance. They'd made their arrangements. They'd made very specific promises to each other.
Mid-week, Marja & Henk came to me in a dream. We had a lengthy conversation. In the bits I remember, Henk at first looked very pale and exhausted just as you'd imagine someone in a hospital bed. But then the scenery changed and so did he. He spun 'round and 'round in an exuberant wild-man's dervish dance moving slowly into the distance. He was full of joy, colors and vitality and said things I don't remember.
That should have been a sign but with dreams, how much is symbolic, how much filtered through our own psyche and imagination? It's only in hindsight when we recognize some dreams to really be different. My wife had her own dream. Yesterday a reader whose staff members knew Marja & Henk from their day job informed me that Marja had joined Henk in the hereafter. Life without him just wasn't acceptable. Our phone call with her had been a good-bye. These two very private people always signed their communications M/H. They had lived a 40-year love affair exactly as they wanted. They did everything together like one being in two bodies. Even at the end, they did it together, on their own terms.
I don't know much about their earlier history. I know that they had been authentic Amsterdam hippies for a time, later Art gallery owners. When I knew them, they worked in corporate IT. But really, you and I only know them through their regular contributions in these pages. And that's quite the body of work.
How will we be remembered when we go?
Given our readership numbers, I expect that the remembrances will be many and all of them fond. Most cultures celebrate a wake in which those who gather for a formal farewell share stories and anecdotes about those who went into spirit. If you enjoyed M&H's reviews over the years—were inspired by them, entertained, amused, educated—take a few moments now. Share your appreciation for them with that quiet voice in your heart. As my spiritual teacher Osho said: "Just sing your song. Trust that existence will deliver it to those for whom it is meant. Don't be worried about the how. Be worried only to sing from your heart without holding back."
So,…whatever your beliefs may be, trust that your gratitude and appreciation for Marja & Henk's sharings in our pages will reach them!
Not all of us are lucky enough to leave behind something tangible by which people well past our time in the body can still connect with us. Marja & Henk did. Our archives are your pick for that anytime you choose. Here is what they said about themselves.
And now, in the spirit of wake-based storytelling to honor the two who have left us, I invite those who have M&H anecdotes or acknowledgements they wish to share to contact me [srajanat6moons.com]. I'll add them to this page with your name. Hopefully it will become a very long page indeed. Farewell my friends. Wherever you are now, you are together again just like you wanted. Thank you for your many kindnesses across these many long years! Srajan
PS. As per Marja's instructions, today I was contacted by their accountant. He told me that Henk passed away in the hospital bed last Tuesday, October 27th. His funeral was on Saturday the same week. By 22:00 that evening, the accountant received Marja's e-mail letter. By Sunday, she had gone as well. Her funeral is still to happen…
I want to offer my sincerest condolences for the passing of Marja & Henk. Meeting them at hifi shows all over the world over 30+ odd years, I got to know them enough to think of them in the highest regard not only as professional reviewers of our beloved high-end audio equipment but even more as warm human beings. It really saddens me to the core of my being that they are no longer with us. At the same time I try to see the beauty of Marja's decision to join Henk. They have always been inseparable and will continue to be so for eternity. My heart goes out to you and your loved ones and I wish you strength and all the best for the time to come. I'm sure we will find that special place in our hearts for them. They will be missed all over the world and remembered for their knowledge and kindness.With love, Ernst Neve, editor in chief, hvt.nl
My sincerest condolences on the loss of Marja and Henk. The news has come as quite a shock to my co-workers, some of whom have known them for many years. I can't imagine how it must be for you. How very remarkable how they've chosen their own path here. As you probably know, they helped to build Hifi.nl when it first launched in 1999 and have written for our platform for well over a decade. I did not know them personally as I arrived a few years after they had left but would like to write an IM on our website as well. Kind regards, Rob Nijman, editor in chief
How terribly sad. But also how telling of their relationship that Marja would choose to join Henk in the hereafter. I did not know them personally but they could often be found at audio shows, always arm in arm. They seemed like such nice and authentic people. The colorful duo will be missed – Christiaan Punter, HFA
I feel very agitated by these news. My deep condolences on the loss of two great people. They were the class of 6moons. Sasa Cokic, Trafomatic Audio
I was so shocked to hear about Marja and Henk! A real blow… Never met them formally. We crossed paths a couple of times in Munich, each rushing to go to the next meeting or audition, a nod and a smile in acknowledgement as we weaved through the corridors. Never got to chat. I know you were close. My deepest. Edgar Kramer, SoundStage Australia
We were shocked to hear the sudden and sad news of these two beautiful people passing. Sudden and sad but simultaneously beautiful and in their own unique way; just like they lived their lives. Always together, even now. Goodbye dear Marja & Henk. Ivo Sparidaens and Paul Rassin, Æquo Audio
We're all heartbroken here. Well-respected audio reviewers and unusually, almost abnormally gentle and sensitive folk. What stood out at every contact and visit is just how much they functioned as a unit. Marja-en-Henk. Henkenmarja. Not two names, one. Wherever spirits go when life ends, they went together. We salute them. Bruno Putzeys and the Kii team
I send my commiserations to the 6moons family and community on the passing of M&H. I corresponded with Marja not long ago regarding my Devialet Expert 220 Pro. I was thinking about changing my setup and recalled that M&H had done the initial review of the Devialet D-Premier. I thought it would be worthwhile asking their thoughts on the current Devialet lineup and a replacement. Marja responded that they still had the original D-Premier, in fact two of them. She said they were heavily corroded so "stuck with them." I recall they still used them in review comparisons. Marja then proceeded to share some insights I'll not share here but which gave me good insights. As you would suspect, she was candid and pulled no punches. Nice Dutch forthrightness tinged with some colorful descriptions. When my father died, I recited the poem Requiem by one of his favorite writers, Robert Louis Stevenson. I find it fitting for M&H too.
"Under the wide and starry sky, dig the grave and let me lie. Glad did I live and gladly die, and I laid me down with a will. This be the verse you grave for me: Here he lies where he longed to be, home is the sailor, home from sea, and the hunter home from the hill." Michael Fanning
What a shock it was reading about the loss of two good friends Marja and Henk. We met several times in the near past and spent hours with high-end audio and music overall, first in their beautiful place in Rotterdam, later in their new place. We lost two very very nice people. Thank you for writing this on 6moons, the place they loved so much. We will remember Marja & Henk forever. All the best from Holland, Cor Dekker
I'm very shocked to get this terribly sad news. I still can't believe it. They were a wonderful couple and this is very heartbreaking. To see their commitment to stay together until the end was very courageous. May their souls rest in peace. Forever will they be missed. I have followed their articles for a long time and I'm proud to have my products reviewed by them. This will always have a special meaning and be my fond memory of them. Hendry Ramli, Vermouth Audio
Like so many others, I enjoyed Marja and Henk's reviews and reports over nearly two decades. More than enjoyed, I always read them carefully because I felt that their systems were a cut above; that and you could see by their choices that they had an insatiable curiosity for what might be a better moment. While praising, they never felt the need to exclaim beyond appreciation. That made me trust them all the more. I exchanged some emails with Marja (who in my experience answered for the pair) when questions arose as a result of this or that review. Always informative and knowledgeable. Aside from their insightful reviews, there was something else. Looking at them, reading their audio lives led to a natural curiosity. Who were these incredibly hip people? So, I read their bios and did your basic Google searches years ago. Perhaps the seed of my interest was the rarity of running into a couple so obviously preordained to be together; certainly individuals but you couldn't get a piece of paper between their souls. That's a wonderful thing which to bear witness to even when you may not recognize it in the moment. They snuck it in for years under the guise of audio reviews. I'll miss their writings and the idea that they're among us. They remain exceptional. My condolences to their families, to Srajan and to the 6moons staff. Thank you for sharing them all these years. Fred Crane, Prana Distribution LLC
I too would like to express my deepest condolences to the 6moons team for this tragic loss. Personally, Marja and Henk were not familiar to me except through occasional encounters at audio fairs. However I was very close to them through our common interest in the 'Kulturgut Musik' and its reproduction. I am a regular visitor to 6moons and this tragic loss has both shocked and deeply touched me. Joachim Bembennek, horn-kultur
I've read about Henk and Marja. It is sad news. My sincere condolences. May they walk free and happy together in the fields of God. Andrea Vitali, Blumenhofer Acoustics
My heartfelt condolences to all concerned. My only lengthy encounter with Marja & Henk was at the AVS show in Warsaw in 2018 and it became clear to me that they worked on a different level and enjoyed it for the love of music. Poets would die of loneliness but for companionship. Martin Gateley, sound|kaos
Although I never had the opportunity to meet Marja or Henk personally, I had many warm and insightful email exchanges over the years and am feeling very sad to know M&H are no longer with us. Chris Malcolm, Perth, Australia
I heard the sad news. I am so sorry for the loss of not only great reviewers but great people, Marja and Henk. My condolences to their families and the 6moons family. This has not been the greatest year for most people but all we can do is remember all the happy memories we shared with our loved ones. Marja and Henk will never be forgotten. May they rest in peace,Tony Minasian, Tonian Labs
Old hippies never die. They just fade into the next song. Michele Surdi from Rome
Goodbye to M&H. Their passing away will be strongly felt among the 6moons readers who enjoyed their unique work and personality. They were at the forefront of many hifi innovations, opening new grounds to many of us. You could count on them for straight reviews, highly technical yet focused on what they loved most: beautiful music reproduction which gives thrilling emotions to the listeners. RIP. Vincenzo Picone
I'm shocked and very sad to hear the news of Marja & Henk's passings. I remember reading their wisdom from the early 6moons days and I was truly honored that they listened and enjoyed our AMP-13R recently in their home. This is a true loss not only to those who are close to them but also to audiophiles and music lovers all around the world. I pray for their eternal love and may they rest in peace. Soo In Chae, Bakoon
My sincere condolences to you and the whole 6moons team. What incredibly sad news and what a lovely and touching tribute you gave them. Despite my only brief interactions with this kind couple—unfortunately never in person though—I believe that Marja and Henk were such a valuable addition to 6moons. Here at Gold Note we are honored to have had our products reviewed by them. They were always so professional to work with. You could tell their relationship was very special and their love, profound knowledge and curiosity transpired through their writing. They will be missed! Marie Greggers, Gold Note
We were so surprised to learn about the sudden passing of your dear friends Marja & Henk. We have known them to be wonderful people not only for you but also for all of audio lovers in the world. Their passing is a great loss to all of us. Yoshi Hontani, muSon Project Inc.
I would like to express my condolences about Marja and Henk. It is with the deepest sorrow that I heard the news of their passing. Please let me send my deepest sympathies to you. May they rest in peace. And may God bless you. Shuzo Ishimi, president, SPEC Corp.
We are shocked about the loss of Marja and Henk. Although we didn't know them personally, we knew them well enough to see that they leave a void in the audio scene and especially in the team of 6moosn. We send our sincere condolences. Ralph Werner / Jörg Dames, fairaudio.de
My condolences for the loss of M&H, a big and unexpected loss. I always imagined they would outlive most of us. Emile Bok, Taiko Audio
It is very sad news. My sincere condolences to their families and to the 6moons family. I met them a few times, they were kind and warm. We had interesting conversations and they were also looking to get closer to different and new solutions. We will all miss them. Sasa Burian, Audio Alto
With great regret and grief I was made aware of H&M's passing. It's hard for me to even write their full names now, this is how unreal I perceive this. What is real and stays real for as long as I live are the moments shared with them: even on the most formal occasions pollinating, sharing and warm-hearted, never prim. They made me a happier person whenever they appeared. I miss them. Break: Yes, we had fun! So it'll be not only a tear but also a smile, an inner laugh that'll go with every thought about them. With warmest regards. Armin Krauss, Avantgarde Acoustics
We are so sorry to hear about the passing of Marja and Henk. Petra and I didn't know them but we met them briefly many years ago in our Overkill Audio show days,. We both remember them having a tangible aura of kindness and warmth. To us, Marja and Henk define the timeless wisdom: "People will forget what you say, they will even forget what you do but they will always remember the way you make them feel." In our short time together, M&H made us feel good and we will always remember them for that. I believe thousands of others will feel the same. RIP Marja and Henk. Derek and Petra
I was shocked and deeply saddened when I came across your page just yesterday in memory of Marja & Henk. I haven't been keeping up with events at 6moons recently. I remember spending a day with them in 2016 together with Emile Bok of Taiko. It was clear on that day and every occasion I met them at trade shows, how closely in harmony they were with each other. We were treated to their terrific hospitality on the day of our visit. I still have the Frank Tchang acoustic resonator above my bed which Henk gifted to me as we were leaving, to help me sleep at night. I was thinking about them sometime towards the end of last year and how we hadn't been in touch for a while. I know they will be terribly missed by all who knew them in the industry. As you said, they left us their legacy of excellent, meticulously well thought-out and entertaining articles they wrote for 6moons which will continue to be read and referenced way into the future. Geoff Armstrong, Sound Galleries
Yesterday a business partner visited and somehow Marja & Henk came up. He told me how both passed away months ago and I was in shock. Our deepest condolences. Although looking much different than most other people, they were amazingly friendly in a way many can learn from. They even liked practical jokes like making a huge billboard for Dutch department store chain HEMA once and of course getting attention because of their different looks. Only people who knew them noticed what they really meant: "greetings to all who know HEnk & MArja", says Marja's smile. Several years ago they visited us at the VAD show in Veldhoven immediately after opening. In our room we only had our two small speakers playing on some older Accuphase equipment. Henk knew me and what I did for a living and asked "what trick is this? Where is the subwoofer ? This fantastic sound cannot come from this small setup with just a single 16cm driver!" Peculiar that while writing this, I can still see the scene like a movie. Strange. After over an hour of listening, I asked them if it wasn't about time they visited other rooms. Of course we also wanted some other people in the hot spot. Henk looked at his watch and sh… I promised to bring the speakers to their home right after the show and we did. Marja was so fond of their special looks and very comfortable sound that she wanted to build these herself. It never happened and unfortunately now never will. My girlfriend and I had a very nice and warm afternoon with them which we both still remember in detail. Even she was shocked when I told her that they both passed away. I often quote myself by saying "the nicest people go first". Unfortunately this is another example of that. Louis Timmers, Eltim Audio BV.
I just learnt about Marja and Henk. You mentioned them in your Boenicke review and I then went looking and found your article on their departure. My last and extremely pleasant interaction with them was at Warsaw 2019. Their 'togetherness' whenever I met them at shows always left an impression but this was unexpected. Wow. Blessed are those who have found companionship of this kind. Jacob George, Rethm