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Famous people from the Netherlands

Famous Dutch people

Monarchs & Politicians

  • William the Silent (1533-1584), founder of the House of Orange-Nassau, and main leader of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish that set off the Eighty Years' War.

  • Peter Stuyvesant (1592-1672), last Dutch governor of the colony of New Netherland (modern NY, NJ and CT) from 1647 to 1664.

  • William III of Orange (1650-1702), stadtholder and king of England
  • Johan de Witt (1625-1672), statesman


  • Abel Tasman (1603-1659), navigator who discovered among others Tasmania (named after him), New Zealand & Tonga
  • Michiel de Ruyter (1607-1676), most famous admirals in Dutch history
  • Jakob Roggeveen (1659-1729), navigator who discovered Easter Island



  • Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516), Renaissance painter
  • Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), painter
  • Jan Vermeer (1632-1675), painter
  • Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), Impressionist painter
  • Piet Mondrian (1872-1944), Expressionist painter
  • Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993), actress (Dutch by her mother, English by her father, Belgian by birth)
  • Theo van Gogh (1957-2004), film director

Other famous Dutch people

  • Pope Adrian VI (1459-1523), one of the few non-Italian popes in history.

  • Desiderius Erasmus (1466/1469- 1536), writer, polemicist, humanist and theologian.

  • Hugo Grotius (1583-1645), jurist who laid the foundations for international law.

  • Baruch Spinoza, (1632-1677), philosopher.

  • Christiaan Huygens, (1629-1695), mathematician, astronomer and physicist, inventor of the pendulum clock.

  • Gerard (1858-1942) and Anton Philips (1874-1951), co-founders of the Royal Philips Electronics.

  • Anne Frank (1929-1945), Jewish diarist during World War II.

  • Wim Duisenberg (1935-2005), first president of the European Central Bank.

  • Frans van der Hoff (1939-), Co-founder of Max Havelaar, the first Fairtrade certification initiative.

Notable Dutch-American people

  • Martin Van Buren (1782-1862), 8th President of the United States, first president whose family did not come from the British Isles, only president in the history of the United States whose first language wasn't English (but Dutch).

  • Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877), industrial entrepreneur.

  • Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931), renowned inventor. Accumulated 1500-plus patents worldwide for his inventions.

  • Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), 26th President of the United States
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), 32nd President of the United States

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