The Netherlands is known as the birthplace of modern-day electronic music by many. The groovy beats of the genre that has slowly taken over the world can be heard everywhere in the country, from supermarkets to driveways. The Electronic Dance Music/ EDM, as it’s called, is even listened to by the Dutch King. The king prefers a sub-genre of EDM called tropical house.
Many world-famous EDM DJs are from the Netherlands blessed by the ‘Godfather of EDM’ in Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren, and currently spear-headed by a spirited twenty-something that goes by the name Martin Garrix.
When one looks at the 2020 DJMags Top 100 list, five out of the Top 10 are Dutch, and the number increases to nine in the top 20. It’s not a coincidence that the Oranje country also plays host to some of the world’s largest electronic music festivals like the Amsterdam Dance Event, the Mysteryland, and the Flying Dutch Show. These large scale celebrations of a music genre based on love and unity are hotbeds for the upcoming Dutch talent. The Flying Dutch show is especially headlined only by the Top Dutch DJs with events happening in the three big cities, Amsterdam, Eindhoven, and Rotterdam.
In this article, we will tell you a little about some top Dutch DJs in the industry. So let’s go.
Tijs Michiel Verwest, or as popularly known by his stage name Tiesto is nicknamed the ‘Godfather of EDM,’ rightly so as the current fifty-one-year-old was there top in the early 90s when the musical revolution was in its infancy. He played a massive role in making the sub-genre of Trance mainstream and famous. His shows like Magik and Elements of Life eventually influenced several festivals today, like the Tomorrowland.
In 2013, the Dutch musical pioneer was voted as the ‘Greatest DJ of the past 20 years’ by DJ Mag readers and is the first dance music artist who got the privilege to perform live at the Olympics opening ceremony. In a career that has spanned around three decades, Tiesto has released seven albums, with the latest addition in his discography being The London Session in the year 2020. He is also the recipient of over 48 wins and 61 nominations across a remarkable career, including a Grammy for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical for his remix of John Legend’s hit, “All of Me.”
2. Armin van Buuren
Armin Van Buuren is regarded as the ‘King of Trance’ by many fans of the genre, and the Dutch Dj who has been in the industry for twenty-five years has achieved enough to be worthy of the title. The forty-three-year-old, who hails from Leiden in South Holland, has won the best Dj of the year award by DJ Mag a record five times and is one of the very few DJs to win a Grammy Award in the Best Dance Recording category. He won the award for his single, ‘This is what it feels like,’ featuring Trevor Guthrie, making him only the fourth trance artist ever to get a Grammy nomination.
Apart from all the awards, nominations, and recognition that the Dutch artist has achieved, his most significant contribution still stands as, A State of Trance.’ The ‘State of Trance’ is a weekly radio show that is currently broadcasted to 40 million listeners across 84 countries on over 100FM radio stations. The radio show propelled the maestro to fame, and the show that was launched in the year 2001 has now blossomed into a full-blown festival hosted by Armin himself. In the United States, Armin Van Buuren also holds the record for the most entries on Electronic/Dance Music charts at twenty-one.
Afrojack, whose real name is Nick Leonardus Van de Wall started Djing at the ripe age of 14 at local clubs and pubs while also designing websites for his fellow artists at the side. His early entrepreneurial skills must have been a signal of what was about to come for now multi-award-winning DJ. He wears various hats like a record producer, remixer, record label owner, and CEO of a management company, among different other things.
He was listed on number 7 on the DJ Mag Top 100 in 2011, a year that saw him become a mainstream artist collaborating with David Guetta, Beyonce, and Pitbull. During this period, the Dutch artist also enjoyed headlining various global dance music festivals like Tomorrowland, Ultra Music Festival, and Coachella.
Apart from his well-acclaimed musical capabilities, Afrojack is also known as the owner of Wall Recordings, a music label that represents artists like D-Wayne, D.O.D, etc., among others. He is also the CEO of LDH Europe, a Japanese management and entertainment company. In 2016, it was reported that the artist has a net worth of about $60 million.
Hardwell or Robbert van de Corput is one of the most influential and popular dance music artists among the genre’s young wave of fans and has gotten accolades for his sets at international festivals like Tomorrowland, Ultra Music Festival, and Sunburn. He got recognition first through his bootleg of “Show Me Love Vs. Be,” which was the start of the DJs journey towards stardom. The EDM explosion that occurred during the period of 2012-13 was vastly shaped by Hardwell, producing popular records in collaboration with Steve Angello, Laidback Luke, Tiesto, Rihanna, and Avicii.
The superstar Dutch artist was at the top of DJ Mag Top 100 list in 2013 and again in 2014, cementing his place in the big leagues in a short span of time. He also started his own record label called ‘Revealed Recordings’ in 2010 and a podcast showcasing young talents across the world called ‘Hardwell on Air’ in 2012. The podcast is broadcasted by many radio stations across the world, including Slam! In the Netherlands. He has also made two documentary films and released eight compilation albums through his labels. His debut album titled ‘United We Are’ released in 2015 to raving reviews with major influences from Big House, rock and roll, and underground trance.
In 2017, Hardwell announced that he would be taking a hiatus from touring indefinitely to focus on his personal life.
5. Martin Garrix
Martin Garrix rose to stardom with his track, “Animals,” in 2013 at seventeen. The track played a vital role in bringing dance music from behind the club doors to mainstream pop. The track eventually went on to accumulate over a billion streams across all platforms. Garrix went on to headline global festivals like Coachella, Creamfields, Electric Daisy Carnival, Ultra Music Festival, and Tomorrowland. He also became the youngest DJ at the age of 17 to headline an Ultra Music event.
Martin, whose real name is Martijn Gerard Garritsen, graduated from a producing school in Utrecht and has since collaborated with Dua Lipa, Troye Sivan, Khalid, Tiesto, Bebe Rexha, etc. These collaborations have taken the dance music’s freshest talent to the pop world’s top and have shown that his producing talent has no bounds. Martin founded the label STMPD Records in the year 2016, after leaving Spinnin’ Records, and with the label firmly established by now, he can focus on the one thing he truly loves: Making Music.
Some honorable mentions would be W&W, R3HAB, Don Diablo, Oliver Heldens, Headhunterz, among many others who keep the Dutch flag at the top of the EDM world.
Tell us in the comments below if we missed some of your favorite Dutch DJs.