3 min28 February 2022

6 inspiring Dutch women

Although the Netherlands is a small country, it can pride itself on a rich and interesting history. At the turn of the century, many brave women lived here, and they are an example for others to this day. Their determination, adventurousness, and willingness to learn about the world or live on their own terms, still inspire to this day. Due to the fact that it is March – the month in which we celebrate Women’s Day, we decided to present the profiles of several inspiring Dutch women. Are you interested? Read on!

Audrey Hepburn

She is on our list, even though she was half Dutch (her mother was a Dutch baroness). Probably everyone knows Audrey – she is an icon of popular culture and fashion. She was a film and theater actress, humanitarian activist, and philanthropist. In the 1960s, she was a sex symbol. To this day, she is admired by millions. She was one of the most respected actresses of the later “Golden Age of Hollywood”. Known from the films “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, “The Innocent” and “Charade”.

Fanny Blankers-Koen

Fanny, known as the “flying housewife”, has her own statue in Rotterdam. It was set to express admiration for her sporting achievements and strength of character. As a mother of two and at the age of 30, she amazed the world at the 1948 Olympics. She won gold medals in 100 and 200 meters, 80 meters hurdles and in the 4×100 meter relay. She proved that being a mother does not mean giving up her passion, and having children and a family home does not exclude success.

Anne Frank

Probably one of the most famous Dutch women. Unfortunately, she is known for her tragic life story. She happened to live during the Second World War. She was a Jewish girl who hid with her family in Amsterdam for 2 years. She kept a diary, which after many years became a well-known record of everyday warfare, full of anxiety, fear, but also hope. Unfortunately, Anne Frank was found by the Nazis – she died at the age of 16 in a concentration camp.

Mata Hari

Who doesn’t know Mata Hari? Her story still ignites curiosity. There are more legends about this woman than facts. To this day, she is surrounded by a mysterious aura, exacerbated by the circumstances of her death (shot by the egyptian squad, accused of double espionage). Margaretha Geertruida McLeod (née Zelle), because that was her real name, was born in Leeuwarden at the end of the 19th century. After an unsuccessful marriage, she left for Paris, pretended to be a Javanese princess and began her career as an exotic dancer under the pseudonym Mata Hari. Apparently she was an extraordinary woman. Her irresistible charm attracted like a magnet the powerful and wealthy men, politicians and army officers with whom she liked to have an affair. Unfortunately, even their influence did not prevent her from being shot.

Aletta Jacobs

She lived at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries and was remembered as a woman full of charisma, strong, free and steadfast. She was the first woman in the Netherlands to graduate from a medical university and become a doctor. It didn’t stop there! She founded the world’s first birth control clinic. She was also (not surprisingly) a suffragist and a leading figure in the Dutch and international women’s movement.

Kenau Simonsdochter Hasselaer

Legend has it that Keanu led an army of 300 women into the battle for Haarlem! She lived in the 16th century and was a timber merchant – which was a very unusual job for a woman at that time. However, her fortitude and commitment to strategic combat brought her fame. It was she who defended Haarlem against the Spanish invaders during the siege of the city in 1573. After the war, she returned to her business as a merchant. Such an extraordinary figure could not simply die – the legend says that she died at the hands of pirates in 1588.

Also interesting!

Read more blogs from these categories

Typical Dutch Food

3 min5 December 2022

How to avoid cultural faux pas in the Netherlands?

3 min1 July 2022

Top 5 amusement parks in the Netherlands

3 min10 June 2022