Dutch Pop Music

Dutch pop singers may sing in both English and in Dutch, creating fan bases in their native Holland and, in some cases, all around the world. There are those that have managed to break the international pop music market and those that are largely only heard within Holland.Of those that are popular worldwide, people are often surprised to learn that they are in fact Dutch, as many bands and singers from Holland are often mistaken for coming from other countries.


Many early influences in Dutch pop music came from the USA and the UK, with early Dutch pop bands including the Skymasters and Max van Praag. It wasn’t until the 1960s, however, that Dutch pop music really started to make a huge impression on the country. With this new found confidence and talent, some groups were able to achieve popularity overseas. Other types of music also started to take off in Holland, and influences from different genres can be heard in the music from this era. For example, rock music really began to become big in Holland.

Until this time, the type of Dutch ballad known as the levenslied was more popular. The levenslied is typically slower, about love and loss, and has heart-felt lyrics


A decade later, in the 1970s, it was common for many bands to sing their lyrics in English. It was increasingly believed that the Dutch language was mainly used for sadder songs and English for more upbeat songs. An exception to this was in the northern parts of the country, where it was common for people to perform traditional folk songs in Frisian; they did not follow the rest of the country’s passion for pop and the English language. A famous band to have come from this time includes the well known Golden Earring.


In the 1980s, many new bands starting to sing in their mother tongue once again, and thus creating a mixture of English and Dutch singing groups. A lot of groups used slang and sang about controversial topics in order to appeal to younger listeners. The target group was mainly teenagers. This trend continued into the 1990s, with some famous names including Rene Froger, Blof, Marco Borstato, and De Kast. The internationally acclaimed DJ Tiesto, a huge name on the dance and club circuit, is from Holland.


There is a large number of Dutch radio stations, with many dedicated to playing the very latest pop music tunes. Some are regional, whilst others have national coverage.


Over the years there have been collaborations between Dutch singers and musicians and those from other countries. An example is 2Unlimited, who were popular in the 1990s. The group was founded by Belgians, with the two main vocalists from Holland.

Some Dutch singers and groups include Anouk, The Fringe, Marco Borstato, Jan Smits, Lange Frans, Yes-R, Ali B, Frans Bauer, Partysquad, and Gebroeders Ko.

Pop Music Festivals and Events 

Whilst there are bands from all over the country, Den Haag is known as being the country’s capital for pop music. It plays host to several big music events throughout the year, and is where people go to see acts and to be seen. It is the number one spot for Dutch people hoping to break into the music industry, and you can quite often watch up and coming performers play at smaller gigs. Amsterdam is well known for its vibrant dance music scene, and there are numerous pumping dance festivals in the capital city. Many top Amsterdam music venues attract visitors from abroad.

Parkpop in The Hague is a free pop event, attracting acts and crowds from all over Europe and beyond. There are three main stages and numerous events to entertain and amuse all. In 2014 it will be held on the 29th of June - it is sure to be a great time with plenty of fun!

Amsterdam’s music events for 2014 include the Pacha Festival, the 909 Festival, and Het Lente Kabinet in May, June’s Amsterdam Open Air, July’s Amsterdam Live on Stage, Sensation, Pitch Festival, Buiten Westen, and Sky City Festival, Loveland Festival, and Mysteryland in August. Others are the Awakenings Festival, and Dance Valley, with each event set to attract a large crowd for lots of revelry and enjoyment.