Isanya Köhne

As we all know, the world feels kind of heavy right now. A lot is going on and many countries are asking its citizens to stay home due to the COVID-19 virus that we’re all trying to eliminate. Whether you’re currently in the Netherlands or have travelled back home, try to keep as positive as you can. Staying inside isn’t the worst way to spend your day. Even if it doesn’t seem like it right now, there are many things you can do within your safe premises. One of them being, exploring new music. So, to make it even better, let’s talk about Dutch music! 

As you may have discovered already, the music scene in the Netherlands is vibrant and diverse. A lively world music scene spreads across the country, ranging from ska to pop. Wherever you visit, you’ll have the opportunity to pick a genre you like. Every year the Netherlands is blessed with playing new hits in every corner, hosting many famous gigs but also being home to some of the most famously known artists of today. Now, if we look back a little, the Netherlands together with many other European countries struggled with exporting music since the 60s. However, during the 80s a specific scene rose that resulted in one of the biggest music industries of our small country; techno and house (EDM). Coming from the UK underground culture, and being popularised by gabbers (Dutch slang for ‘mate’), the house music in Amsterdam developed, ultimately becoming the popular scene of today. It all started out with just a few parties, promoted by organisations such as ID&T, but grew into some of the biggest house-oriented festivals such as Sensation and Mysteryland. With more than nine Dutch DJs in the top 20, the Netherlands can safely call itself one of the biggest promoters of the Dance genre. 

Some artists to check out: 

Another popular scene within our country is hip hop, which you’ve probably already encountered before during one of your nights out. Being one of the most listened to genres by the Dutch on Spotify (Spotify, 2020), we can safely say that it’s a genre that is loved. This genre has been on the rise ever since the 80s but the peak so far has definitely been in the 2010s with big Dutch rappers releasing many new albums and mixtapes. Even though it’s listened to in many corners of the Netherlands, it’s mainly in the larger cities that the artists and the scenes are divided in. Think of Amsterdam, the Hague, Utrecht, Rotterdam, and Eindhoven. So far we don’t anticipate the popularity of the genre to decrease, meaning it’s never a bad time to explore some of the artists. 

Some artists to check out: 

Then there’s a group that’s also quite high up there according to the Dutch, which are the Dutch singer-songwriters. Known by most citizens, but really praised by a smaller group of fans, the Dutch listen to artists that are known for their Dutch sung lyrics. Many clubs play these ‘sing-alongs’ occasionally during the night or at the very end right before closing time. Rather than dancing to the songs, it’s merely meant as a sing-along that provokes all the Dutch to sing their mother tongue as loud as they can. During the yearly festivity of what we call ‘Carnaval’, the Dutch language is favoured in most songs, so many of these national treats within the music industry will pop by. In comparison to the popular hip-hop genre, these lyrics usually have a deeper meaning. So whenever you want to try out some new Dutch words, definitely try to sing along to artists within this particular genre!

Some artists to check out:

We wish everyone the very best and encourage you to stay calm in this anxious time. We’re going to get through this together, and in the meantime you’ve got the opportunity to explore some of the Netherlands’ finest music scenes, be it within the country or worldwide!

And to end this blog post, we have a great spotify list for you with all the Dutch 'meezingers' (sing-a-longs), so that next time you go out, you can sing-a-long with our classics: