Best known for his iconic book De jure belli ac pacis, or The Rights of War and Peace, Hugo Grotius was a Dutch humanist and author, who had also been a jurist. Due to his involvement in the Calvinist debate, he was exiled to France, where he penned most of his significant works.
Born as an illegitimate child of a priest from Rotterdam, Desiderius Erasmus later grew up to be a significant figure of the northern Renaissance. He is remembered for his research on free will and for being the first to edit the New Testament, replacing traditional elements with new-age humanism.
Dutch theologian and professor Jacobus Arminius opposed the orthodox Calvinism of his time and introduced a new system, known as Arminianism, in response. He is remembered for his Opera theologica, published posthumously, and for paving the path for the growth of Methodism in the West.
Best known for his The Waning of the Middle Ages, Dutch historian Johan Huizinga is considered one of the pioneers of modern cultural history. Apart from teaching history, he had also taught Indian literature and was once detained by the Nazis for his criticism of fascism.
Anglo-Dutch social philosopher Bernard Mandeville is best remembered for his satirical work The Fable of the Bees. A qualified physician just like his father, he later settled in London, where he gained fame with his writings. He believed that even the most negative actions are capable of producing positive outcomes.
Best remembered for introducing the concepts of the fixed-point theorem and mathematical intuitionism, Dutch mathematician L. E. J. Brouwer was dragged into a controversy when he opposed David Hilbert’s formalism. He was also interested in philosophy and penned volumes such as Life, Art, and Mysticism.
Dutch documentary maker Sunny Bergman is best known for exploring controversial topics such as beauty standards, racism, and sexuality. Her works such as Sunny Side of Sex and Limited Tenability have challenged the mainstream ideals of life. She is also an activist, an author, and an actor.
A Carmelite friar and Catholic priest, Titus Brandsma initially taught theology in the Netherlands. A strong critic of Nazi ideals, he was sent to the Dachau concentration camp, where he was starved and beaten, and eventually poisoned to death. In 1985, he was declared “Blessed” by Pope John Paul II.
Gemma Frisius introduced the triangulation method for map-making, that is still an integral part of surveys these days. He also created detailed globes and mathematical instruments and was a co-founder of the Netherlandish school of cartography. He also released the first published drawing of a pinhole camera obscura.
Apart from teaching law at Vrije Universiteit, Herman Dooyeweerd also made significant contributions to the domain of philosophy. He co-established the neo-Calvinistic movement known as Reformational philosophy and is best remembered for his suite of fifteen aspects. His works include his 4-volume magnum opus A New Critique of Theoretical Thought.
Gerard van der Leeuw was a Dutch historian, ordained minister, philosopher of religion, and politician. He is best remembered for his influential work Religion in Essence and Manifestation, which was originally published in German and later translated to English in 1938. Gerard van der Leeuw also served as a professor at the University of Groningen.
Dirck Volckertszoon Coornhert, or Theodore Cornhert, was the man who introduced Humanism in Dutch literature. Known for works such as Liedekens, De wellevenskunste, and Comedie van Israël, he was an engraver in Haarlem and also worked for the city’s government. He also created the manifesto of William the Silent, Prince of Orange.
The Dutch Socrates, François Hemsterhuis is best remembered for his works on aesthetics and moral philosophy. One of the first Dutch authors to represent the Enlightenment, he was also one of the pioneers of Romanticism in the Netherlands. His best-known works, such as Sophyle and Alexis, were all authored in French.