4 Dutch musicians who found success abroad

4 Dutch musicians who found success abroad

Over the years there have been many hits by Dutch artists that resonated across the world. Some prove to be one-hit wonders, whilst in other cases, artists go on to have enduring popularity and success across the globe.

Dutch musicians conquering the world

Take a look at the following four Dutch musicians of our time who have found fame and success abroad!

1. Caro Emerald

Caro Emerald is one of the most prolific female Dutch vocalists who has made a name for herself internationally. Her songs have been in peak chart positions in countries all over the world, from Ireland to South Korea.

Caro Emerald (real name Caroline Esmeralda van der Leeuw) was born in Amsterdam to a Dutch father and an Aruban mother and studied jazz singing at the Amsterdam Conservatory. She came to prominence in the Netherlands with the song Back It Up in 2007, which came after a songwriter asked her to record a demo of his latest creation.

The popularity of her sound led her to work on her first album, Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor, which entered the sound world of 1940s, 50s and 60s Hollywood, with ballroom jazz songs, alluring tangos, fleeting mambos and irresistible beats. With memorable songs like A Night Like This, the album went straight to number one and reached platinum status within six weeks.

Caro Emerald has since won an MTV Europe Music Award and over a dozen other prestigious accolades. Her other studio album The Shocking Miss Emerald was released in May 2013, and she released a live album Live at the Heineken Music Hall in 2011. In her Emerald Island tour with the Grandmono Orchestra, Caro Emerald ventures even further into tropical and Latin sounds of the 50s and 60s

2. Tiësto 

Back in 2013, Tiësto was voted “best DJ of the last 20 years”. With five studio albums, over 60 prestigious awards, frequently sold-out live performances worldwide and even the title of Officer of the Order of Oranje Nassau, Tiësto is synonymous with Dutch success in music.

Tijs Michiel Verwest, better known as Tiësto, was born in Breda in the province of North Brabant, where he began working the DJ decks at parties at the age of 14. He became renowned early on for his DJ sets in his own unique sound: new beat and acid house were amongst his early styles. In the mid-90s he was discovered and signed a deal with Basic Beat Recordings, based in Rotterdam, and from there he exploded onto the scene.


His most widely recognised track is arguably Adagio for Strings, with fragments of the orchestral work by the composer Samuel Barber. Together with fellow Dutch DJ Armin van Buuren, Tiësto created two projects, Wonder Where You Are? and Eternity. He has made many cross-disciplinary collaborations, and he even teamed up with fashion designer Giorgio Armani on a limited-edition t-shirt.

Besides Tiësto, the Netherlands has proven to be an important hotbed for top DJs: Hardwell, Armin van Buuren, Don Diablo, Junkie XL, Afrojack, Martin Garrix, Oliver Heldens and many more! 

3. Andre Rieu

It may surprise some people that the world’s most successful male touring artist in the world in 2009, according to Billboard magazine, was not a pop or rock artist, but rather, a musician of the classical genre. That honour went to Andre Rieu and his orchestra. Rieu specialises in waltzes by the Viennese composer Johann Strauss, which stay on the lighter and “easy-listening” side of the vast classical spectrum.

His concerts are as renowned for their emotional impact as for the music itself: an Andre Rieu concert is a spectacle, which can sometimes involve falling confetti or balloons, emotional tears in the audience and slapstick antics. Musicians dress up in Viennese ballroom-style attire, and sometimes the costumes venture towards other novelty themes.

The Maastricht-born violinist and conductor has created not just an orchestra and an impressive touring roster, but a massive, distinctive brand. Concerts are often televised and this has broadened the audience to include living rooms all over the world. In the Netherlands, you can catch Andre Rieu and his orchestra at open-air concerts at the Vrijthof Square in his native Maastricht, or at some of the country’s most massive venues like the Ziggo Dome on New Year's Eve.

Whether it’s your taste or not, it has to be said that Andre Rieu is not only a skilled musician and showman but also possesses impressive business and branding convictions that make him stand out.

4. Glennis Grace

Dutch singer Glennis Grace is famous for her enchanting voice and charming stage presence. She turned heads internationally when she made it into the final of America’s Got Talent in 2018.

Before ever appearing on America's Got Talent, Glennis Grace had already proved herself as a true vocal treasure in the Netherlands. She sang on stage with Julio Iglesias aged 11, she won a major youth contest singing Whitney Houston’s One Moment in Time aged 16, and in 2005 she made the Netherlands proud by participating in the Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev.

Glenda Hulita Elisabeth Batta, better known by her stage name Glennis Grace, was born in Amsterdam where she was encouraged from a young age to explore her singing talents. She has a massive following both in the Netherlands and internationally and sings in her native Dutch language and in English. In 2019. she undertook an impressive tour across the Netherlands and Belgium as a tribute to Whitney Houston!

International success stories: Dutch artists 

The Netherlands has produced many fantastic artists who have made their mark internationally. In a world where culture becomes more and more globalised, it is impressive to see Dutch performing artists standing out in the hugely competitive international music industry.

Rachel Deloughry


Rachel Deloughry

Rachel is a writer, editor and digital content creator, passionate about the arts, culture and lifestyle.

Read more



Leave a comment