Famous Dutch Writers

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 
Anne Frank
(Diarist)

Anne Frank
15
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 
Corrie ten Boom
(Writer and watchmaker)

Corrie ten Boom
4
Birthdate: April 15, 1892
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Haarlem, Netherlands
Died: April 15, 1983

Born to jeweler and watchmaker Casper ten Boom, Corrie ten Boom followed in her father’s footsteps and became the first female licensed watchmaker in the Netherlands. She and her family hid scores of Jewish refugees during the Holocaust. Corrie later penned The Hiding Place, based on her experiences.

 3 
Edsger W. Dijkstra
(Computer scientist)

Edsger W. Dijkstra
4
Birthdate: May 11, 1930
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Died: August 6, 2002

A pioneering computer scientist from the Netherlands, Edsger W. Dijkstra had initially studied theoretical physics, before focusing on computers. He developed the domain of structured programming and also won honors such as the Turing Award. He died at 72, after a long struggle with cancer.

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 4 
Tom Six
(Director, writer, and producer known for creating the controversial Human Centipede trilogy, which came to be defined by its grotesque story and violence.)

Tom Six
3
Birthdate: August 29, 1973
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Alkmaar, Netherlands

Tom Six is a Dutch filmmaker, actor, and writer best known for his Human Centipede trilogy. The film trilogy gained widespread attention and notoriety due to its brutal depictions of sexual violence. Tom Six is also credited with creating the original Big Brother reality TV series, which went on to become an international franchise.

 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 
Pim Fortuyn
(Politician)

Pim Fortuyn
3
Birthdate: February 19, 1948
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Driehuis, Netherlands
Died: May 6, 2002

A Dutch sociology professor, Pim Fortuyn was also a prominent politician, who founded the Pim Fortuyn List party. Known for his Islamophobic and anti-immigration comments, he was also openly gay. He was assassinated by a Dutch animal rights activist, who confessed to shooting him for targeting weaker communities in his political campaigns.

 7 
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
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 8 
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.   

 9 
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."

 10 

Theo van Doesburg
3
Birthdate: August 30, 1883
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Utrecht, Netherlands
Died: March 7, 1931

One of the pioneering figures of the Dutch art movement De Stijl, or The Style, Theo van Doesburg stressed on the importance of simplified and geometric visual arts. The son of a photographer, he grew up to create scores of abstract paintings and designed aesthetic room décor and furniture, too.

 11 
Max Euwe
(Chess player, Mathematician)

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.

 12 

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.

 13 
Michel Faber
(Writer)

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.

 14 
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.  

 15 
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.

 16 
Ian Buruma
(Writer)

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.

 17 
Herman Brood
(Musician)

Herman Brood
3
Birthdate: November 5, 1946
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Zwolle, Netherlands
Died: July 11, 2001

Best known as part of Wild Romance, Dutch musician Herman Brood was the poster child of Dutch rock and roll and the Netherlands’s biggest rock superstar but was also notorious for his addiction to drugs and alcohol. He later turned to painting but committed suicide by jumping from an Amsterdam hotel at 54.

 18 
Karel Appel
(Was a Dutch Painter, Sculptor)

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.

 19 
Keren Ann
(Singer-songwriter known for her song)

Keren Ann
2
Birthdate: March 10, 1974
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Caesarea, Israel

Keren Ann is a singer, songwriter, producer, composer, and engineer. In addition to playing the guitar, clarinet, and piano, Ann also writes and engineers musical and choir arrangements. Over the years, she has also contributed to the soundtrack of films like Thelma, Louise et Chantal and Yossi.

 20 

Daphne Deckers
2
Birthdate: November 10, 1968
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nijmegen, Netherlands

Initially a model, Daphne Deckers has hosted shows such as Big Brother and been part of movies like All Stars and Tomorrow Never Dies. She has also penned columns for newspapers and weeklies and published books, one of which was adapted into a hit film, Life as It Should Be.

 21 
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.

 22 
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
Birthdate: 0000 AD

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.

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.

 25 
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.

 26 
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.

 27 
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.

 28 
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.

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.

 30 
Gerard Reve
(Writer)

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.

 31 
Lale Gül
(Writer)

Lale Gül
0
Birthdate: November 3, 1997
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Amsterdam, Netherlands

 32 
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.         

 33 
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.

 34 

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.

 35 
Edward Bok
(Editor)

Edward Bok
2
Birthdate: October 9, 1863
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Den Helder, Netherlands
Died: January 9, 1930

In spite of being the editor of the Ladies' Home Journal for 3 decades, Dutch-born American editor Edward Bok was strongly anti-women’s rights and believed women’s liberation and education would lead to higher divorce rates. His memoir, The Americanization of Edward Bok, won him a Pulitzer Prize.

 36 
Harry Mulisch
(Former Writer known for His novel The Assault (1982), The Discovery of Heaven (1992))

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.

 37 

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.

 38 

Johan Rudolf Thorbecke
2
Birthdate: January 14, 1798
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Zwolle, Netherlands
Died: June 4, 1872

One of the most significant 19th-century politicians from the Netherlands, Johan Rudolf Thorbecke led the country as its prime minister. The Liberal Party politician began his career as a lecturer. As a prime minister, he encouraged free trade by abolishing excise duties and built many new canals.

 39 
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.

 40 
Cees Nooteboom
(Novelist)

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.

 41 
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.

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.

 43 

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.

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.

 45 
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.

 46 
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.

 47 

Karel van Mander
2
Birthdate: September 4, 1971, 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.

 48 
Louis Couperus
(Novelist)

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.

 49 
Jan de Hartog
(Playwright)

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.

Frederik Willem 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.