Why Are So Many DJs From The Netherlands?

February 10, 2021

EDM music is very popular here in the Netherlands, there are barely any parties without some Electronic Dance Music. A lot of the dance music I know is made by Dutch DJs. The Netherlands has produced many DJs over the years who are successful both nationally and internationally. The Netherlands is one of the countries with the most DJs in the world. This got me wondering, "why are so many DJs Dutch?".

There are so many Dutch DJs because EDM got popular in the Netherlands before most other countries. The music got played in public places, festivals, and on the radio, generating a broad audience. This led to EDM becoming part of Dutch culture, which led to lots of interest in becoming a DJ.

So there are a lot of Dutch DJs, they are successful too. The Netherlands produced quite some DJs who are internationally known and still very much active. Not only that, but the country is also home to quite some EDM events, some of which are important globally. More about the Dutch pride of the dance music industry later.

Why Are so Many DJs Dutch?

When Electronic Dance Music, EDM for short, started to emerge, it did not take long before it became popular in the Netherlands. Even though this genre of music did start in the United States, it flew over to Europe and there it caught on much more quickly.

In the Netherlands, EDM started to be played everywhere. You could hear it at several radio stations, in public areas, and at parties. To this day it is still very common to hear some dance music while you’re visiting the Netherlands.

Because dance became so big in the Netherlands, people of all ages listened to it. This broad audience caused quite some interest in the act of DJing. The Netherlands has the most dance events in the world and the festivals have become part of the culture.

As many people got interested in DJing, this meant there was a lot of competition. In order to become big, you had to be the very best. This explains why the famous Dutch DJs nowadays seem to know what they are doing, they had to become the absolute best in order to succeed.

At one point, DJing was so popular in the Netherlands that DJ schools were even opened where people could learn how to become a good DJ. This also has played a big part in why there are so many DJs from the Netherlands.

The last factor that has contributed to the fact there are so many big Dutch DJs, is that we had a bit of a head start. As mentioned before, EDM became popular in the Netherlands way before it caught on in the United States.

The music industry in the United States of America is way bigger than the music industry in the Netherlands, but this was not the case for EDM specifically. This means that while there was a lot of competition within the country, there was significantly less competition worldwide.

Who Are The Most Famous Dutch DJs?

There are quite some Dutch DJs trying to take over the scene, but there are a few names everyone has probably heard of. With millions of people listening to them on Spotify and playing on the biggest festivals in the world, these are some of the most famous Dutch DJs worldwide.

Martin Garrix:

When talking about the most famous Dutch DJs, Martin Garrix is someone that has to be named. He started when he was very young and grew to be one of the most famous DJs in the world at only 23 years old. With a whopping 16.2 million followers on Instagram, this DJ cannot be overlooked. In 2021 Martin Garrix became the first Dutch artist with more than 1 billion Spotify streams.

He performs at the biggest festivals all over the world, such as Coachella and Ultra Music Festival. In 2017 he became the youngest Dutch person ever to be mentioned in the Quote-top 100 (list of richest people in the Netherlands), so there is no denying he is successful. Besides this, Martin Garrix was ranked 1st in the DJ top 100 magazine in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

Tiësto:

Tiësto is a DJ worth mentioning as well. While not having as many followers as Martin Garrix, Tiësto has earned himself the nickname of "Godfather of EDM". He became the first DJ ever to play live at the Olympics when he did this in Athens, which got followed by plenty of awards and nominations. Tiësto has been named the best DJ in the world more than once, so every EDM lover should be familiar with him.

Armin van Buuren:

Another name you most likely have heard of is Armin van Buuren. He is a DJ who started his career in 1995 and first got a number one position in DJ magazine’s list of best DJs in 2007. He hasn’t left the top 5 of that list since 2004.

He has been active for quite some years now and grew a large fanbase. This resulted in 3.2 million followers on Instagram and 4.8 million subscribers on Youtube. Armin van Buuren is one of the biggest names in the game and plays at events all over the world.

Other famous Dutch DJs:

These are just a few examples of famous DJs from the Netherlands. Some other honorable mentions are Don Diablo and Afrojack, who both landed a spot in the top 10 best DJs in the world as well. Hardwell and Nicky Romero may not be in the top 10, but they do both have a spot in the top 100.

The History of Dance Music in The Netherlands

EDM is a relatively young form of music, originating in the 20th century. This is due to the fact the music is not made with traditional instruments, but rather with computers and synthesizers.

When house music started to become commercialized in the Netherlands, the Dutch people started to show some resistance. This resistance took the form of "gabber" music.

This genre of music is a form of EDM that originated in Rotterdam. Nowadays gabber music is often described as a form of hardcore, which eventually leads to hardstyle.

Soon EDM started to become more popular and more substyles got added. A company that played a big part in the development of the Dutch dance scene is ID&T.

They started organizing festivals with strictly EDM music. They grew to have offices all over the world, influencing the dance scene wherever they go.

They host events like Mysteryland and even won a couple of International Dance Music Awards in the category of best event promoter. ID&T is probably best known for their Sensation White events. These were initially only held in the Netherlands, but later all over the world.

The Best EDM Events in The Netherlands

Since there are so many Dutch DJs, you might wonder where they all perform. They get booked at festivals all over the globe, but due to the popularity of dance music in the Netherlands, there are quite some festivals organized locally as well.

The best DJs from all over the world come to play their set here in the Netherlands while the visitors have the time of their life. The Netherlands is home to one of the biggest EDM festivals in the world when looking at the number of visitors. Mysteryland takes place in Haarlemmermeer and attracts over 100.000 attendees.

Another important event that takes place in the Netherlands is the Amsterdam Dance Event. This is the place for people working in the EDM industry to meet up and connect, and for EDM lovers to find each other.

It is hosted at different locations through Amsterdam and lasts for five days. It is split up into two kinds of programs. During the day there are conferences, workshops, and lots of opportunities to grow your network.

During the night, EDM lovers can do what they do best: partying! DJs from both the Netherlands as well as other countries perform in clubs and on stages throughout the city.

Why Are So Many DJs From The Netherlands - DJ playing at Festivals

Which Country Has The Most DJs?

When it comes to the number of DJs per country, it is not easy to attach a number to each country. There are lots of DJs who aren’t very well known yet or only play locally. When you look at the number of DJs listed on Wikipedia, it is clear that the United States of America has the most DJs. They are then followed by the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France.

DJ magazine can help determine which country has the most successful DJs. Each year they make a top 100 of the best DJs in the world. When you look at the top 10 of 2020, half of them have Dutch nationality. This means that in terms of which country has the most DJs that are really good, the Netherlands is taking the lead.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you now understand why there are so many Dutch DJs, who are successful as well. EDM has been popular in the Netherlands for quite a while now, which resulted in several festivals and events. If you want to see the Dutch DJs in action in their own country, I recommend visiting Mysteryland. Who knows, you might just fall in love with Dutch EDM.

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Written by

Leo van den Berg
As a Dutchman I am extremely proud of the beautiful country in which I live. My goal is to convey my passion and love for the Netherlands to as many people as possible.

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