K3 (band)

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File:K3 ahoy.jpg
Background information
Origin Belgium
Genres Pop
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1998–present
Labels BMG (1999–2002)
Studio 100 (2002–present)
Website Official website (Dutch)
Members Klaasje Meijer
Marthe De Pillecyn
Hanne Verbruggen
Past members Kathleen Aerts
Karen Damen
Josje Huisman
Kristel Verbeke

K3 is a Belgian-Dutch girl band with a Dutch repertoire, whose current line-up is composed of Hanne Verbruggen, Marthe De Pillecyn and Klaasje Meijer, mainly aimed at pre-adolescent children. The name of the group is derived from the names of the three original members: Karen Damen, Kristel Verbeke and Kathleen Aerts. Kathleen Aerts left the group in 2009. Josje Huisman was chosen as K3's new member on October 3, 2009. Their music is produced by production company Studio 100 and is written by Miguel Wiels, Alain Vande Putte and Peter Gillis. K3 was founded by Niels William.

The band became famous without any airplay from the regular music television channels like MTV, instead marketing directly to children via children- and cartoon-channels.[1]

Their signature is that the girls in the group all three mostly wear the same outfit. The band is mostly known as one of Europe's biggest acts[citation needed] and longest running girl band and they are famous for their poppy-happy songs[citation needed] and K3 dances.[citation needed]


File:Optreden K3.jpg
K3 performance - Oostende - 2001
File:K3 performance - Hasselt - Belgium.jpg
K3 performance - Hasselt - April 2006

Rise to fame (1998-2002)

The band K3 started by Niels William. Initially their goal was to be the Flemish version of the Spice Girls, and they had females in their twenties as their target audience, which is noticeable in their early song lyrics. Their first single, "Wat ik wil" (What I want), was not very successful.

In 1999 K3 participated in the live television shows to select the Belgian entry for the Eurovision Song Contest, with their song "Heyah Mama". The song was not well received by one of the judges, Marcel Vanthilt, who referred to the band members as assorted meat products. Notwithstanding, "Heyah Mama" was released as a single and became the first big hit for the band, staying at the number one spot of the Flemish Ultratop 50 chart for 25 weeks. Their next two singles also reached the number one position, resulting in an uninterrupted period of 32 weeks in which a K3 song was at the top of that chart. About a year after becoming famous in Flanders, K3 also became famous in the Netherlands.

Their songs are written by Miguel Wiels, Alain Vande Putte and Peter Gillis. This trio previously collaborated as songwriters for Flemish singer Isabelle A.

K3 is noted for being the first pop act to break through to the top of the charts without receiving any airplay from the regular music television channels like MTV and TMF. Niels William's new marketing concept was based on promotion via children and cartoon channels like Fox Kids.[1]

Joining Studio 100 (2002 - 2009)

In 2002, Niels William sold the band to Studio 100, a Flemish television production company for Dutch and Belgian children's programs.

Songs like "Heyah Mama", "I love you baby", "Alle Kleuren" (All colours), "Blub, ik ben een vis!" (Blub, I'm a fish!), "Tele-Romeo", "Toveren" (Doing Magic), "Verliefd" (So In love), "De 3 biggetjes" (The Three Little Piglets), "Oya lélé", "Hart verloren" (Heart lost), "Liefdeskapitein" (Captain of Love), "Kuma He", "Ya Ya Yippee", "Dokter Dokter" (Doctor doctor) and "Kusjesdag" (Kisses Day) were hits for the band. K3 has released nine albums. Their eighth album Ya Ya Yippee sold more than 50,000 copies in pre-sales within the Benelux. The ninth album, Kusjes (Kisses), sold 20,000.

K3 has a children's television program called De wereld van K3 (K3's World). Originally there were Dutch and Flemish versions, but only the Dutch version remains.

The band has released several DVD's with video clips, musicals and films, and with specially recorded footage like K3 in de Ardennen (K3 in the Ardennes).

In 2007 a team from Madame Tussauds in London took measurements of the band members for wax statues.[2] K3 unveiled these wax statues at Madame Tussauds Amsterdam on 4 July 2007.[3]

On 10 May 2008, the band celebrated their 10-year anniversary with a new show 10 jaar K3 (10 years of k3). It was also celebrated in Plopsaland, a popular theme park for kids. They opened the K3 museum, in which there's an overview of their career. Pieces include show outfits, interviews and props from the movies like the flying scooters from K3 en het magische medaillon (k3 and the magic mediallon), and their numerous golden and platinum records.

Kathleen leaves K3 (2009)

On Monday March 23, 2009, Kathleen, the blonde singer, announced her departure at a press conference. "It was a tough decision, after all I gave the best years of my life to K3. People change and life is constantly in motion; I'm 30 now and after ten years it's time to move on". She made her last two appearances with K3 in June at a Studio 100 showcase at the Rotterdam Ahoy. Karen and Kristel would then search for a replacement on television.[4]

Belgian shownews-programme De Rode Loper reported that two celebrities were auditioning for the vacant spot but this appeared to be an April Fool's joke. Meanwhile, Kathleen has signed up for UNICEF ambassadorship and is likely to quit singing altogether.

Josje joins (2009 - 2010)

The two remaining members of K3 kept searching for a new member. This time through a talent show called 'K2 zoekt K3' ('K2 searching for K3'). In the final episode the Dutch Josje Huisman was chosen as the newest member of K3.

Further success (2010 - 2014)

In 2010 K3 shot new episodes for their kids-talkshow (this time with Josje) and also started their own sitcom called "Hello K3", in which they portray fictional versions of themselves living in the same building and trying to balance a normal life with being superstars. This creates comic situations reminiscent of the television series The Monkees and also Friends. The first season of sitcom aired on television in fall 2010. A new single with the same name was also released on 15 September, on the album Eyo!. Their sitcom was also renewed for a second season which premiered in the Netherlands and Belgium in September 2011.

In 2014 they also started a new unscripted TV-show, 'K3 kan het!' (K3 can do it!'), in which they travel through Belgium and The Netherlands to help children fulfil their dreams.

Line-up changes: The new K3 (2015 - present)

On March 18, 2015, it was announced that all current members would leave the group. K3's label has announced however that they'll look for new members in late 2015.[5] A televised competition to determine who would become the new K3 started airing in The Netherlands and Belgium in August 2015. In November of that same year Marthe De Pillecyn, Hanne Verbuggen and Klaasje Meijer had been chosen as Karen, Kristel and Josje's successors (respectively) and would become the new K3.

Later it had also been revealed that Kristel Verbeke, one of the original members, would become their new manager.[6]


Name Date of birth Place of birth
Klaasje Meijer (1995-03-02) 2 March 1995 (age 26) Lutjegast, Netherlands
Marthe De Pillecyn (1996-07-16) 16 July 1996 (age 25) Duffel, Belgium
Hanne Verbruggen (1994-03-03) 3 March 1994 (age 27) Hamme, Belgium
Former members
Name Date of birth Position
Kathleen Aerts (1978-06-18) 18 June 1978 (age 43) Geel, Belgium
Karen Damen (1974-10-28) 28 October 1974 (age 47) Wilrijk, Belgium
Josje Huisman (1986-02-16) 16 February 1986 (age 35) Heusden, Netherlands
Kristel Verbeke (1975-12-10) 10 December 1975 (age 46) Hamme, Belgium


Member '98 '99 '00 '01 '02 '03 '04 '05 '06 '07 '08 '09 '10 '11 '12 '13 '14 '15 '16
Kathleen Aerts
Karen Damen
Kristel Verbeke
Josje Huisman
Hanne Verbruggen
Marthe De Pillecyn
Klaasje Meijer


K3 performed in several musicals. In Doornroosje (Sleeping Beauty), during 2002, they played three good fairies and in De 3 biggetjes (The three piglets), during 2003. They played the eponymous three piglets, Knirrie (Verbeke), Knarrie (Damen) and Knorrie (Aerts) and reprised these roles in 2007 for a tour of both Belgium and the Netherlands.

In 2010 they came back with a new musical Alice In Wonderland (the first 3D-Musical in the whole world) this time with Josje Huisman, who had joined the group the previous year. The musical is one of the first live musicals to use 3D projections. The production toured Belgium and then The Netherlands in 2011.

K3 Museum

On 10 June 2006 a party was held at Plopsaland to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Studio 100. At this occasion the band members opened the K3 Museum which provides an overview of their career. There are interviews, clothes and props from the films to be seen, including the air scooters from the film K3 en het Magische Medaillon (K3 and the magic medallion). The countless gold and platinum discs can be seen too.

K3 Language

Through making music, the girls created their own Language. Called K3lish. Heyah Mama was their first song that featured K3lish, just a few words in the chorus. A lot of songs of the band have words like this in the songs. The self-made language is a mix between African[clarification needed] and Simlish.

Projects in other languages

In 2002 K3 recorded English, French and German versions of their Tele-Romeo album.

After having sold K3 to Studio 100, the founder Niels William moved to South Africa in 2002 and started his own music studio there. In March 2007 he launched X4, a 4-girl group singing translations of K3-songs in Afrikaans and English. They released one album: Heyah Mama, which also featured the single of the same name.[7]

In May 2007 Studio 100 launched a German version of K3: Wir 3. They do not only sing translated versions of K3 songs (starting off with Heyah Mama) they're also modelled after the originals (consisting of a redhead, a brunette and a blonde) .[8]

Band members in non-K3 activities

Aerts was the stand-in for the title role in the musical Sneeuwwitje (Snow White) and during the pregnancy of Verbeke, Aerts played the title role in De kleine zeemeermin (The Little Mermaid).

From February till May 2008 Verbeke appeared in the musical Pinokkio as Nina de Ballerina, the title character's conscience.

Damen plays a PE teacher in television series Het Huis Anubis (The House of Anubis) for the Dutch Nickelodeon channel.

In September 2007 Damen was a panel judge voting the Belgian entry for Junior Eurovision Song Contest.

The band members have occasionally, separately or collectively, taken part in the television program De Notenclub, which allowed them to sing a more grown-up repertoire. Miguel Wiels, who is the co-author of most of the K3 songs, is one of the two regular piano players in the Flemish version of that program. Another songwriter for K3, Alain Vande Putte, has also appeared as singer on that show.

Karen Damen is also a judge on 'Belgium's Got Talent'.

In 2014 Josje Huisman played the main character in the TV-series 'Fashion Planet'. She portrayed a young intern at a prestigious fashion magazine. The show was cancelled after one season.


Studio albums


The members of K3 have also starred in several theatrical films and TV-specials. They usually portray fictional versions of themselves, having all kind of adventures (some magical, some more normal).

In 2004 they released their first theatrical film: K3 en het Magische Medaillon (K3 and the magic medallion). The film premiered on 29 September 2004 and received favourable reviews. In the film Dutch television celebrity Paul de Leeuw played the stark raving mad genie.

In 2006 the second theatrical film, K3 en het IJsprinsesje (K3 and the little ice princess), was released. In this fairy tale film Carry Tefsen played the witch at the pancake house, Peter Faber played the king and famous Belgian comedian Urbanus played the wizard. More than half a million people in Belgium and the Netherlands went to the cinemas to see the threesome melt the spoilt princess' frozen heart.

The third theatrical film, K3 en de Kattenprins (K3 and the Catprince) had its Dutch premiere on December 20, 2007 and reached gold status (attendance in excess of 150,000 people) in two weeks time.[citation needed]

On December 12, 2012, a fourth theatrical K3 movie was released, K3 Bengeltjes (K3 Little Dangles), in Belgian and Dutch theaters. This will be the first movie without Kathleen, Josje's predecessor. The movie in connected to their sitcom, Hallo K3! (Hello K3!), and stars some of the same actors and characters.

On February 12, 2014, a fifth theatrical K3 movie was released K3 Dierenhotel (K3 Animalhotel), in Belgian and Dutch theaters. This is the second movie with Josje Huisman and also includes actors and characters from the sitcom.

Recordings of their musicals and concert shows are also released on DVD.

Title Translation DVD release date Remarks
Alle Kleuren All colours 13-9-2001
Tele-Romeo 17-6-2002
Doornroosje, de musical Sleeping Beauty, the musical 23-1-2003 First Musical
Toveren Tour Magic tour 2-5-2003
De 3 biggetjes, de musical The three piglets, the musical 30-10-2003 Second Musical
K3 in de Ardennen K3 in the Ardennes 24-11-2003
K3 in Wonderland K3 in Wonderland 16-2-2004
5 jaar K3 5 years of K3 10-3-2004
K3 en het Magische Medaillon K3 and the magic medallion 27-1-2005 First Bigscreen Movie
De wereld rond Around the world 9-5-2005
K3 in Ahoy K3 in Ahoy 27-4-2006
K3 en het IJsprinsesje K3 and the little ice princess 16-11-2006 Second Bigscreen Movie
K3 in de sneeuw K3 in the snow 10-01-2007
K3 Clipparade K3 clip parade 08-04-2007
K3 Superfan Quiz Game 11-04-2007
K3 en het Heksenexamen K3 and the Witch's exam 23-05-2007
K3 Karaoke 12-11-2007
K3 en de Kattenprins K3 and the Catprince 09-04-2008 Third Bigscreen Movie
K3 en het Toverhart K3 and the magic heart 12-11-2008
K2 terug K3 K2 back K3 10-02-2010 first DVD with Josje Huisman
K3 Show MaMaSé! 19-05-2010
Hallo K3!Volume 1 Hello K3, vol 1 2011 with 3 episodes
K3 en het wensspel! K3 and the wish game 2011 clips of old and new songs
Alice in Wonderland, de musical Alice in Wonderland, the musical 2011 Third Musical
K3 Bengeltjes K3 Little Dangles 2012 Fourth Bigscreen Movie
K3 Dierenhotel K3 Animalhotel 2014 Fifth Bigscreen Movie

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Cabenda, Pablo (2001-11-26). "Peuterpop". Voorkant (in Dutch). de Volkskrant. p. 9.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "K3 in was gegoten" (in Dutch). Telegraaf. 2007-06-25. Retrieved 2007-09-11.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "K3 in was gegoten" (in Dutch). Algemeen Dagblad. 2007-07-04. Retrieved 2007-09-11.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Kathleen stapt uit K3" (in Dutch). De Standaard. 2009-03-23. Retrieved 2009-03-23.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Zangeressen van K3 geven stokje door" (in Dutch). NU.nl. 2015-03-18. Retrieved 2015-11-29.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Kristel Verbeke manager nieuwe K3" (in Dutch). NU.nl. 2015-11-09. Retrieved 2015-11-29.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "X4 is Zuid-Afrikaanse versie van K3" (in Dutch). Studio 100. 2004-03-13. Retrieved 2007-11-30.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "K3-variant moet Duitse kinderharten veroveren" (in Dutch). Telegraaf. 2007-05-25. Retrieved 2007-09-11.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links