AMSTERDAM – The paparazzi outside the gate of his London home, Garden Lodge, are literally out in the cold when, on the eve of November 24, 1991, Farrokh Bulsara breathes his last after an unwinnable battle against AIDS. The man who conquered the world as Freddie Mercury was only 45 years old. “As a result, he remains eternally young,” said the Dutch Queen expert Edger Hamer.

The fact that this is the thirtieth anniversary of Freddie Mercury’s death makes little difference to Hamer, who has devoted three thick, detailed books to Queen: “This date is circled in my diary. Firstly, because I traditionally start the day playing Teo torriatte, a part Japanese song by Queen. It begins with the words: “When I’m gone no need to wonder if I ever think of you,” followed later by the equally appropriate: “Let us cling together as the years go by.” For years I have also been ritually attending the so-called Freddie’s Dinner, where we raise a glass to his life with a large group of Dutch Queen fans and his former personal assistant Peter Freestone.”

If you analyze the person and artist Freddie Mercury, you will arrive at three areas in which he excelled, explains Hamer. “Of course he was a showman through and through. In fact, he pretty much invented it, you could say. Admittedly, he looked closely at Jimi Hendrix. Dressed accordingly in the early years. He realized very early on that you have to play some kind of role on stage. That’s exactly what he said to later bandmates Brian May and Roger Taylor when they were still in the band Smile. You had to connect with the audience, interact. He was a genuine people’s advocate, in the good sense of the word.”

Hamer continues: “As a singer he was also unique in his kind. He had a range of 4.5 octaves and sang rock, pop or opera with equal ease. The last thing that made him unique is that he completely mastered all those styles and genres in his writing as well. He was a fan of Elvis Presley and wrote Crazy little thing called love, by Aretha Franklin and so he wrote Somebody to love, Barcelona because he loved opera. Bohemian rhapsody will be played into eternity just like Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Queen is as popular now as it was in the 70s and 80s.”

Even more popular in some places. Because where we are now accustomed to putting Freddie Mercury and Queen on a pedestal, in the 1970s there were critics who recommended that they only give their records to deaf relatives as a gift. “It became too kitsch for the critical English press in particular after a few records,” says Hamer. “That hate relationship only turned into praise after his death. But of course this band didn’t make music for journalists either. They did that for all those fans who have always admired them.”

As a journalist, Hamer knows that what-if questions should not be answered. But certainly in the case of someone like Freddie Mercury they are interesting. “What would have become of him had he not died? What would he have sounded like now, after all that drink and drugs in the 80s? Because of his early death he has become immortal, he remains forever young. That is and remains sour, but it also has something beautiful.”

If the Queen expert may make a final suggestion: “Freddie Mercury also deserves a statue in the Netherlands. As far as I’m concerned in Sound and Vision when Bohemian rhapsody is number one in the Top 2000 for the twentieth time that is broadcast from there. The counter is now at seventeen