Famous Dutch Writers

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 1 
Anne Frank
(Diarist)
Anne Frank
17
Birthdate: June 12, 1929
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany
Died: March 12, 1945

One of the numerous Jewish victims of the Holocaust, Anne Frank gained recognition posthumously after her diary Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl was published. The diary, which has been widely read and translated into numerous other languages, details the lives of Anne Frank and her family when they went into hiding for two years, after Germany occupied Netherlands.

 2 
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
(Critic of Islam and Advocate of Women Rights)
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
4
Birthdate: November 13, 1969
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mogadishu, Somalia

Somali-born Dutch-American activist, feminist, and scholar Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the founder of an organization for the defense of women's rights, the AHA Foundation. She actively opposes forced marriage, honor violence, and child marriage. A former Muslim, she now identifies as an atheist and is a vocal critic of Islam. She is a recipient of the Lantos Human Rights Prize.

 3 
Thomas à Kempis
(German-Dutch Canon and Author of 'The Imitation of Christ')
Thomas à Kempis
3
Birthdate: 1380 AD
Birthplace: Kempen, Germany
Died: July 25, 1471

German-Dutch clergy Thomas à Kempis is largely believed to be the author of Imitatio Christi, or Imitation of Christ. Part of the Devotio Moderna, or the Modern Devotion movement, he was the son of a blacksmith and had moved from Rhineland to the Netherlands, where he was inspired by Gerard Groote’s followers.

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 4 
Halina Reijn
(Actress notable for her work in the war movie Black Book (2006), as well as for her performance in the feature film A Thousand Kisses (2006))
Halina Reijn
3
Birthdate: November 10, 1975
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Dutch actress, writer and film-director Halina Reijn started acting while she was still a student, playing lead roles in plays like Shopping and Fucking. In the ensuing years, she bolstered her acting career with plays like Mourning Becomes Electra and films like A Thousand Kisses and Black Book. She made her debut as a film director with the Dutch drama titled Instinct.   

 5 
Xaviera Hollander
3
Birthdate: June 15, 1943
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Surabaya, Indonesia

Born in Surabaya (modern-day Indonesia), Xaviera Hollander grew up to work at the Dutch consulate in the US. However, she quit her job soon to become a prostitute and brothel keeper willingly. Her bestselling memoir, The Happy Hooker, details her journey as a leading call girl in New York.

 6 
Henri Nouwen
(Catholic priest, professor, writer and theologian)
Henri Nouwen
3
Birthdate: January 24, 1932
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nijkerk, Netherlands
Died: September 21, 1996
 7 
Gerard Kuiper
(Dutch Astronomer, Planetary Scientist, Selenographer, Author and Professor)
Gerard Kuiper
3
Birthdate: December 7, 1905
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tuitjenhorn, Netherlands
Died: December 23, 1973

Gerard Kuiper was blessed with an unusually sharp eyesight and could see stars clearly with the naked eye. The Dutch-born scientist later moved to the U.S., where he established the University of Arizona’s LPL. He also initiated research on the belt of comets surrounding the Sun, known as the Kuiper belt.

 8 
Etty Hillesum
(Dutch Author)
Etty Hillesum
3
Birthdate: January 15, 1914
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Middelburg, Netherlands
Died: November 30, 1943

A nonconformist Dutch Jewish woman, Etty Hillesum left a huge repository of historical events in her diaries and letters in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Her works not only describe the horrors of the Holocaust but also her religious awakening and her relationship with God.

 9 
Max Euwe
(World Chess Champion from 1935 to 1937)
Max Euwe
3
Birthdate: May 20, 1901
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Died: November 26, 1981

Max Euwe scripted history when he became the first chess Grandmaster from the Netherlands. A PhD in math, he also taught both math and computer programming, apart from publishing a mathematical analysis of chess. A chess world champion, he also served as the president of FIDE.

 10 
Michel Faber
(Famous for His Novel 'The Crimson Petal and the White')
Michel Faber
3
Birthdate: April 13, 1960
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: The Hague, Netherlands

Born in the Netherlands, author Michel Faber grew up in Australia. He now lives in Scotland, where he has won countless awards, and mostly writes in English. Initially a nurse, Faber later soared to fame with bestsellers such as The Crimson Petal and the White.

 11 
Multatuli
(Former writer, best known for his satirical novel Max Havelaar (1860), which denounced the abuses of colonialism in the Dutch East Indies (today's Indonesia))
Multatuli
3
Birthdate: March 2, 1820
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Died: February 19, 1887

Eduard Douwes Dekker, better known as Multatuli, soared to fame with his anticolonial satire Max Havelaar. A colonial officer in the Dutch East Indies (modern-day Indonesia), he hoped to bring about a change in the Dutch colonial policy through his works. He is now regarded as the pioneer of contemporary Dutch literature.  

 12 
Willem Arondeus
(Artist and author who joined the Dutch anti-Nazi resistance movement during World War II)
Willem Arondeus
3
Birthdate: August 22, 1894
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Naarden, Netherlands
Died: July 1, 1943

Recognised as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem, Dutch artist-author Willem Arondeus is most noted for his participation in bombing of the Amsterdam civil registry office that formed part of the Dutch anti-Nazi resistance movement during the Second World War. A self-proclaimed gay, his last words before execution were: "Tell the people that homosexuals are not by definition weak."

 13 
Anna Drijver
(Actress)
Anna Drijver
2
Birthdate: October 1, 1983
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: The Hague, Netherlands

Anna Drijver was six when she began her classical ballet lessons and was already modeling by 14. Known for films such as Bride Fight and series such as Heirs of the Night and Undercover, she is also a podcast maker and a novelist. She also supports the UNHCR and works for displaced people.

 14 
Ian Buruma
(Dutch Writer and Editor)
Ian Buruma
3
Birthdate: December 28, 1951
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: The Hague, Netherlands

Apart from studying Chinese literature in the Netherlands, Dutch author Ian Buruma also studied Japanese cinema in Tokyo. His cultural experiences while working as a reviewer and documentary maker in Japan and then as a freelance author in other parts of Asia inspired him to write books such as Inventing Japan.

 15 
Karel Appel
(Dutch Painter & Sculptor Who was One of the Founders of the Avant-Garde Movement ‘CoBrA’ in 1948)
Karel Appel
2
Birthdate: April 25, 1921
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Died: May 3, 2006

Karel Appel was a Dutch poet, painter, and sculptor. He is credited with co-founding COBRA, a European avant-garde movement that was active from 1948 to 1951. He is also credited with establishing the Karel Appel Foundation, which aims at preserving his artworks. Many of his works are displayed at museums all over the world, including the Museum of Modern Art.

 16 
Dries van Agt
(Politician, Diplomat)
Dries van Agt
2
Birthdate: February 2, 1931
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Geldrop, Netherlands

Dries van Agt was once the prime minister of the Netherlands. He has also been the EU ambassador to the US and Japan. He began his career as a criminal defense lawyer and then joined politics, initially as part of the Catholic People's Party and later as a Christian Democratic Appeal leader.

 17 
Jacqueline van Maarsen
(Writer best known for her friendship with diarist Anne Frank)
Jacqueline van Maarsen
0
Birthdate: January 30, 1929
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Fons Trompenaars
2

Part of the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame, Fons Trompenaars is a globally renowned cross-cultural communication consultant and an award-winning writer of the bestselling book Riding the Waves of Culture. His works have made a significant contribution to the development of organizational culture. He also founded the firm Trompenaars Hampden-Turner.

 19 
Marga Minco
(Journalist, Writer)
Marga Minco
2
Birthdate: March 31, 1920
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ginneken en Bavel, Netherlands

Dutch journalist Marga Minco was the only survivor from her family in World War II and spent the entire war hiding. Her Vijverberg Prize-winning book, The Bitter Herb, spoke about the protagonist’s war experiences. Her works mostly narrate the horrors of the Holocaust and have won her numerous awards.

 20 
Amanda Ooms
(Actress, Writer)
Amanda Ooms
2
Birthdate: September 5, 1964
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kalmar, Sweden

Swedish-born Dutch actor Amanda Ooms is best known for her appearance in the Swedish TV show Stjärnorna på slottet. She was also seen in The Expendables 2 and has been part of countless Swedish shows and movies. An author, too, she has penned books such as Tåla mod.

 21 
Joost van den Vondel
(Dutch Author of Christian Poetry and Verse Dramas)
Joost van den Vondel
2
Birthdate: November 17, 1587
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cologne, Germany
Died: February 5, 1679

Born to Belgian migrants who had moved to Germany and then to the Netherlands, because of their Mennonite origins, Joost van den Vondel grew up to be one of the most celebrated Dutch authors and dramatists. He not only translated Greek tragedies such as Electra, but also penned masterpieces such as Lucifer.

 22 
Frits Bolkestein
(Politician)
Frits Bolkestein
2
Birthdate: April 4, 1933
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Former EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, Frits Bolkestein also led the Dutch political party People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, or VVD. His job at the Shell Group took him to places such as Honduras, France, and Indonesia. He has also penned countless books, mostly related to politics.

 23 
Josje Huisman
(Singer, Actress)
Josje Huisman
2
Birthdate: February 16, 1986
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Heusden, Netherlands

Dutch entertainer Josje Huisman is best known as a member of the Belgian-Dutch girl group K3, which was formed by the winners of a TV talent contest. She has also written a book and appeared as Belle in a production of the musical Beauty and the Beast.

Lex van Dam
2
Birthdate: 1968 AD
Birthplace: Drachten

One of the most respected hedge-fund managers of Europe, Lex van Dam began his career as a trader for Goldman Sachs. He is now associated with the London-based Hampstead Capital. Known for his BBC2 reality show Million Dollar Traders, he now runs a trading academy, teaching people investment tactics.

 25 
Gerard Reve
(One of the Greatest Post-War Dutch Authors and the First Openly Gay Writer in the Country’s History)
Gerard Reve
2
Birthdate: December 14, 1923
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Died: April 8, 2006

One of the first Dutch authors to come out as gay, Gerard Reve was known for his ironic and humorous manner of writing about homosexuality. Known for works such as The Evenings, he used the format of epistolary autobiography and won many awards such as the P.C. Hooft Prize.

 26 
Joop den Uyl
(Politician)
Joop den Uyl
2
Birthdate: August 9, 1919
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Hilversum, Netherlands
Died: December 24, 1987

A pragmatic Dutch political leader, Joop den Uyl studied economics and worked as a civil servant before serving as the country’s prime minister in the 1970s. The Labour Party member is remembered for his social-welfare programs. An anti-military campaigner, he reduced the Dutch military budget and supported international disarmament.

 27 
Theodore van Houten
2
Birthdate: August 9, 1952
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Aalsmeer, Netherlands
Died: April 7, 2016

A professor of Hittite and Anatolian languages at the University of Chicago, Theodore van Hout has also edited the Chicago Hittite Dictionary. His countless articles and books such as The Elements of Hittite reveal his interest in Hittite history and culture and Late Bronze and Iron Age Anatolia.

 28 
Tonke Dragt
(Writer, Illustrator)
Tonke Dragt
2
Birthdate: November 12, 1930
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Jakarta, Indonesia

Born in the Dutch East Indies, Tonke Dragt was 12 when she was interned at a Japanese prisoners’ camp, where she began writing using a pseudonym. She later moved to the Netherlands and emerged as one of the best authors of children's books, including The Letter for the King.         

 29 
Harry Mulisch
(Dutch Writer Known Chiefly for His Clear, Economical Prose)
Harry Mulisch
2
Birthdate: July 29, 1927
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Haarlem, Netherlands
Died: October 30, 2010

Harry Mulisch and his Jewish mother escaped a Nazi concentration camp owing to his father’s Nazi links, though he lost his maternal grandmother in the Holocaust. His writings, such as The Assault and Last Call, narrated the loss and betrayal in war-torn backdrops, making him one of the greatest Dutch post-war authors.

 30 
Lale Gül
(Writer)
Lale Gül
0
Birthdate: November 3, 1997
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Amsterdam, Netherlands
 31 
Jacob Israël de Haan
2
Birthdate: December 31, 1881
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Smilde, Netherlands
Died: June 30, 1924

A qualified lawyer who also taught law, Jacob Israël de Haan has gained more fame as an author and a journalist. His Lines from De Pijp, which suggested he was gay, led to him being dismissed from his job in the Netherlands. He later moved to Palestine, and was assassinated in Jerusalem.

 32 
Tim Krabbé
(Journalist, Novelist)
Tim Krabbé
2
Birthdate: April 13, 1943
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Born to a painter father and a novelist mother, Tim Krabbé was not just a competitive cyclist but also a talented chess player. He has authored numerous volumes on chess and is also known for his novel on cycle-racing, The Rider. His book The Vanishing was made into a Dutch film.

 33 
Cees Nooteboom
(Dutch Novelist, Poet and Journalist Known for His Novels and Travel Writing)
Cees Nooteboom
2
Birthdate: July 31, 1933
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: The Hague, Netherlands

Best known for his Pegasus Prize-winning novel Rituals, Dutch author Cees Nooteboom has also been an oft-mentioned candidate for the Nobel Prize. He has also worked as a travel columnist for various Dutch periodicals. Roads to Santiago remains one of his best travel-oriented works and has inspired a musical.

 34 
Constantijn Huygens
(Dutch Golden Age Poet and Composer)
Constantijn Huygens
2
Birthdate: September 4, 1596
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: The Hague, Netherlands
Died: March 28, 1687

Part of the Dutch Golden Age, Constantijn Huygens was at the same time a composer and a poet. A diplomat, too, he went to England multiple times, where he was introduced to New Science by Francis Bacon, which he then popularized in the Netherlands. He also translated John Donne’s poems.

 35 
Annie M. G. Schmidt
2
Birthdate: May 20, 1911
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kapelle, Netherlands
Died: May 21, 1995

Known as the queen of children’s literature in the Netherlands, Annie M. G. Schmidt was the winner of the first Dutch State Prize for Children’s and Youth Literature. Initially a librarian, she later worked for Het Parool. She is perhaps best remembered for her Jip and Janneke series.

 36 
Youp van 't Hek
(Comedian, Singer)
Youp van 't Hek
2
Birthdate: February 28, 1954
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Naarden, Netherlands

Youp van 't Hek was 12 when he decided to be a comedian. Born Joseph, or Joep, he changed his name to Youp at 17 and later co-founded Cabaret NAR. He soared to fame with De alles is anders-show and his signature style of self-deprecating humor. He also penned columns for NRC Handelsblad.

 37 
Willem Frederik Hermans
(One of the Most Prolific and Versatile Dutch Authors of the Twentieth Century)
Willem Frederik Hermans
2
Birthdate: September 1, 1921
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Died: April 27, 1995

Dutch Literature Prize-winning author Willem Frederik Hermans was one of his country’s most versatile writers and one of the most significant from the post-war era. His satirical works focused on social evils. An Untouched House and The Darkroom of Damocles remain 2 of his best-known works.

 38 
Teun van de Keuken
(Television producers, Novelist)
Teun van de Keuken
1
Birthdate: September 4, 1971
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Amsterdam, Netherlands

When Teun van de Keuken read a book about illegal child labor in the cocoa industry, he got determined to make a difference and launched his slave-free chocolate brand, Tony's Chocolonely. A columnist, too, he later penned a novel, Goed Volk, which was largely semi-autobiographical.

 39 
Louis Couperus
(Dutch Novelist and Poet)
Louis Couperus
2
Birthdate: June 10, 1863
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: The Hague, Netherlands
Died: July 16, 1923

Author Louis Couperus was one of the most significant figures of the Dutch literary revival in the 1880s. Born in the Dutch East Indies, he later lived in Italy, the Netherlands, and parts of Asia and Africa. He experimented with styles and themes such as French realism, the occult, and Oriental culture.

 40 
Joseph de la Vega
(Financial expert, Poet)
Joseph de la Vega
2
Birthdate: 1650 AD
Birthplace: Espejo, Spain
Died: November 13, 1692

A respected diamond merchant, moral philosopher and poet, Joseph de la Vega spent most of his life in Amsterdam, occupying important positions in several literary academies.  Author of seven published works, most significant of which is Confusion of Confusions, a book based on Amsterdam Stock Exchange, he is also credited with writing more than 200 letters to different European statesman.

 41 
Jan de Hartog
(Dutch Playwright and Novelist Who Wrote Adventure Stories in Both Dutch and English)
Jan de Hartog
2
Birthdate: April 22, 1914
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Haarlem, Netherlands
Died: September 22, 2002

An adventurer at heart, Jan de Hartog apparently ran away from home twice, to work at sea, and was also part of the Dutch resistance during World War II. He is best known for his Nobel Prize-nominated historical novel, The Peaceable Kingdom, and his Tony Award-winning play The Fourposter.

 42 
Frederik van Eeden
(Dutch Writer and Psychiatrist)
Frederik van Eeden
2
Birthdate: April 3, 1860
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Haarlem, Netherlands
Died: June 16, 1932

Apart from being a physician and the first Dutch psychiatrist to gain international fame, Frederik Willem van Eeden was also an author. Known for inventing the term lucid dream, he later penned books that revolved around themes such as symbolism and psychiatric experiences. He also translated Tagore’s works into Dutch.

 43 
Karel van Mander
(Dutch Painter, Poet, Art Historian and Art Theoretician)
Karel van Mander
3
Birthdate: 1548
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Meulebeke, Belgium
Died: September 2, 1606

Dutch painter and poet Karel van Mander was a significant part of the Mannerist movement. Best known for his Het Schilder-boeck, or The Book of Painters, a biographical work on artists and painters of northern Europe, he was patronized by the Haarlem city council.

 44 
Jan Hein Donner
(Chess player)
Jan Hein Donner
0
Birthdate: July 6, 1927
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: The Hague, Netherlands
Died: November 27, 1988

Dutch chess Grandmaster Jan Hein Donner was not just a 3-time Dutch Championship winner but also represented his country in the Chess Olympiads 11 times. Interestingly, he had started his career as a chess author/reporter, writing columns, and his columns have been collated in the book The King.

 45 
Herman Gorter
1
Birthdate: November 26, 1864
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Wormerveer, Netherlands
Died: September 15, 1927

Dutch poet Herman Gorter was part of the literary revival of the 1880s and of the group Tachtigers, or the Eightiers. He is best remembered for his epic poem Mei, which consisted of 4,000 verses. He later deviated to communism, which is clearly reflected in his epic poem Pan.

 46 
Jan Luyken
(Dutch Poet, Illustrator, and Engraver)
Jan Luyken
1
Birthdate: April 16, 1649
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Died: April 5, 1712

A professional engraver and lithographer like his father, Jan Luyken illustrated books such as Martyrs Mirror with his etchings. He later had a spiritual awakening and focused on religious poetry, writing pieces such as Jesus and the Soul. He died a poor man, in spite of his talent.

 47 
Isabelle de Charrière
(Dutch-Swiss Writer Best Known for Her Letters and Novels)
Isabelle de Charrière
1
Birthdate: October 20, 1740
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Utrecht, Netherlands
Died: December 27, 1805

Isabelle de Charrière was born to a Dutch noble family but later married her brother’s Swiss teacher and settled in Switzerland. A fine novelist, known for works such as Trois Femmes and Caliste; ou, lettres écrites de Lausanne, she critiqued social conventions and aristocratic privilege.

 48 
Connie Palmen
1
Birthdate: November 25, 1955
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Sint Odiliënberg, Netherlands

Libris Prize-winning Dutch author Connie Palmen is best known for her bestselling novels such as De wetten, or The Laws, and De vriendschap, or The Friendship. She was also nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award and has published several essay collections, such as A Short Philosophy of Murder, too.

 49 
Hella Haasse
(Dutch Novelist)
Hella Haasse
1
Birthdate: February 2, 1918
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Jakarta, Indonesia
Died: September 29, 2011

Regarded as the Grand Dame of Dutch literature, author Hella Haasse is remembered for her historical fiction, such as In a Dark Wood Wandering. She had lived in France, resulting in many French versions of her works. She was also the first from her country to have an online museum dedicated to her.

 50 
James S. Holmes
(He was the first non-Dutch translator to receive the prestigious Martinus Nijhoff Award)
James S. Holmes
0
Birthdate: May 2, 1924
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Collins, Iowa, United States
Died: November 6, 1986
James S. Holmes was an American-born poet, translatologist, and translator who became the first non-Dutch person to be honored with the best-known Dutch award for achievements in the field of literary translation, the Martinus Nijhoff Translation Prize, in 1956. His best work was his translation of Nijhoff's Awater, which earned praises from Nobel Prize winners, Joseph Brodsky and TS Eliot.