Dutch Celebrities

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The Netherlands is, perhaps, best known for the romantic canals of Amsterdam, its colourful landscapes and scenic windmills, but its people have also left their mark on the world, shining in a variety of genres – from science to art, entertainment to music.

Marisa Cutillas invites you to discover more about just a handful of Holland’s most famous personalities.

Paul Verhoeven

This talented director, producer and screenwriter directed some of cinema’s most exciting and lucrative films, including RoboCop (1987), Total Recall (1990) and Basic Instinct (1992). Boasting a total of nine Oscar nominations, Verhoeven is known as much for his ability to create fast-paced thrillers, as he is for being a learned scholar with a profound interest in history.

In 2011, he published the book Jesus of Nazareth, which taps into the characteristic shared by the Messiah with some of modern history’s greatest political leaders. Verhoeven does the unimaginable, distancing himself from the Christ of myth to emphasise his important role as political leader: “The Romans saw [Jesus] as an insurrectionist, what today is often called a terrorist.

It is very likely there were ‘wanted’ posters of him on the gates of Jerusalem. He was dangerous because he was proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven, but this wasn’t the Kingdom of Heaven as we think of it now, some spectral thing in the future, up in the sky.

For Jesus, the Kingdom of Heaven was a very tangible thing. Something that was already present on Earth, in the same way that Che Guevara proclaimed Marxism as the advent of world change. If you were totalitarian rulers, running an occupation like the Romans, this was troubling talk, and that was why Jesus was killed.”

One of Verhoeven’s most fascinating works is Starship Troopers (a comical satire about right-wing militarism). The film, which was largely misunderstood upon its release in 1997, is centred on man’s obsession with colonising outer space.

After one too many provocations, a group of gigantic black aliens decide to take revenge, attacking Planet Earth and provoking the wrath of soldiers, whose motto throughout the film is “The only good bug is a dead bug.” A truly hilarious, entertaining, riveting work that taps into the addictive nature of war.

Additional Verhoeven must-sees include Turkish Delight (1973) – the most romantic of all the director’s work; Black Book (2006) – set during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands; and Elle (2016) – a powerful CEO of a successful video gaming company tries to discover the identity of the man who raped her.

Tiësto

There are many talented DJs who make us get up and dance – David Guetta, Calvin Harris, Avicii and Skrillex are some of the world’s best known. However, when it comes to the cold hard figures, the indisputable king is Tiësto, estimated to have a net worth of $22 million and reputed to rake in around €238.000 per nightly performance…

Words Marisa Cutillas

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