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High Court Upholds 14-Year-Old’s Right To Play His Trumpet

June 20, 1994

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) _ A Dutch high court says 14-year-old Patrick Bekker can continue to play his trumpet whether his neighbor likes it or not.

″Playing the trumpet is my hobby and I have not been playing so loud,″ Patrick said sheepishly Monday after publication of the ruling upholding his right to an hour’s daily practice at his home in the southern Dutch town of Drunen.

Patrick’s trip to the Council of State, which rules on the legality of legislation and citizen complaints against government, began when he picked up the horn three years ago.

His first few toots brought a warning from neighbor Pieter Wilhelm to cut down on the playing or face legal action, according to Patrick’s father, Joop Bekker.

″Wilhelm wrote a letter to us saying Patrick can only play half an hour each day and only between four and six in the afternoon,″ said Joop.

The Bekker family ignored Wilhelm’s warning.

Wilhelm, who has declined comment on the case, took them to court.

Patrick won both that case and an appeal by Wilhelm.

But the complaining didn’t stop, according to Joop, even after the Bekker family got a municipal noise permit for an hour’s worth of practice between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Wilhelm thought that was too much and appealed the permit to the Council of State, but lost again.

″One hour per day is enough for me,″ said Patrick, who has promised to close his window when he practices.

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