I betcha you didn’t know they were Dutch-The Music edition.


This is slight deviation from my usual heavier history blogs. Every once in a while something lighthearted is needed.

The Netherlands, a small country in the Northwest of Europe. Known for great painters and footballers and for Tulips and windmills and a lot of other things.

It is however not so much known for its music.and to an extend rightfully so. Because lets face it, the majority of Dutch music just isn’t great. But there have been some bits of music  which have become global classics and a lot of people,including Dutch, don’t know the origin lies in the Netherlands. Even some of the worlds biggest acts have some Dutch connection.

Starting off Down Under

Harry Vanda


The name Harry Vanda on its own will mean very little to most, but connect it to the name George Young and it becomes a different story.

Born Johannes Hendrikus Jacob van den Berg , the young musician Harry emigrated to Australia in 1963. Where he met George Young and teamed up to form the band “the Easybeats”  they achieved a global hit with the song “Friday on my Mind” with the Easybeats.

But it was in their songwriting/producing capacity they achieved the biggest successes, Songs like “Love is in the air” and “Standing in the rain” performen by John Paul Young became massive hits. However the biggest impact they had in the music industry was as producers of the band formed by George Young’s brothers,Malcolm and Angus,AC/DC.

This is one of my favourite Vanda/Young productions. It is the duo in the incarnation of the band “Flash in the Pan” the song “Hey St.Peter”




This band started off as more of a hobby project  of former members of legendary Dutch symphonic rock band Kayak. In 1981 their song Sausalito Summernightgot to No.25 in the US Charts and No.1 in Canada. It also did very well in a number of European countries.

Shocking Blue


Shocking Blue are probably responsible for one of the biggest hits, if not the biggest hit ever written by a Dutch band. The song “Venus” still gets an awful lot of airplay in a variety of versions and if it’s not on radio it is on TV, where the song is often used in commercials ranging from products like yogurt to razors for ladies.

This is the original from 1969




This one is a bit difficult to definee, I suppose the best way to describe Dave is a French Disco chansonier, but he wan’t French but Dutch.Born Wouter Otto Levenbach in Amsterdam. He had a string of hits in French, the most successful song  Dansez Maintenant. Most people in the Netherlands don’t know he is Dutch.

The George Baker Selection

george baker

Some bands need only to be heard and not to be seen, well at least that is what I think about this band and especially the singer George Baker aka Hans Bouwens, his fake smile just annoys me. But having that said he is responsible for a massive hit which had an unexpected revival due to the Quentin Tarantino movie “Reservoir Dogs” the son of course is “Little Green Bag” first released in 1970.




This is like a country and western music fairy tale, Three sisters, telephone operators form a rural part of the Netherlands, the south east of the country. They team up with some musicians and a song writer/lyricist and create a classic Country song which topped the charts in most countries worldwide. A song of a river which they hadn’t seen. The river Mississippi.


Caro Emerald


Now before I get accused on only focusing on 20th century music. This one sneaked in a few years ago. Caro Emerald born Caroline Esmeralda van der Leeuw had a big world wide hit with the Jazz song “A Night like This” which was released in 2009.

To me the quality sign of approval for any musician is when they appear on “Later with Jools Holland” on the BBC. Caro appeared on Jools Holland’s new Year’s eve edition of his show in 2011.


I could have added the more commonly known dutch artists like Van Halen,The Golden Earring, 2 Unlimited, DJ Tiesto and Andre Rieu, but I think this is a good compilation of bands and musicians most people outside of the Netherlands know are Dutch.


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