35 Best Rock Bands From the Netherlands

The greatest Dutch rockers.

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35 Best Rock Bands From the Netherlands
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The Netherlands (informally knownas Holland) has multiple musical traditions and really interesting music scene. Contemporary Dutch popular music (Nederpop) is heavily influenced by music styles that emerged in the 1950s, in the United Kingdom and United States. Another popular genre of Dutch music is known as "Levenslied," meaning "Song of/about life." Dutch electronic music is also widely known around the world, with such different artists as Junkie XL, Tiësto, Armin van Buuren, Noisia, Black Sun Empire, Afrojack, Ferry Corsten, Legowelt, Bong-Ra, etc. Many famous artists in various genres are from the Netherlands too: 2Unlimited, C.C. Catch, Candy Dulfer, Jozef van Wissem, The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble, etc. And Eddie Van Halen is also Dutch!

So we prepared a list of 35 famous and influential rock and metal bands which are from the Netherlands - check it out below!

NOTE: The Netherlands has A LOT of famous rock and metal bands, and of course it's not possible to include all of them into the main list, so we create a special page on our forum with the list of "honorable mentions," including other famous and interesting bands from the country - check out it HERE.

And here's the actual list:

35. Kong

Kong are an experimental instrumental band from The Netherlands, formed in 1988. They combine elements of heavy metal, progressive rock, electronica, industrial and avant-garde - with an extensive sampling and sound effects. Adding to their unconventional approach, their music conceived and performed quadraphonically, with each member of the group taking over a different corner of the venue for ideal sonic delivery.

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34. An Autumn for Crippled Children

An Autumn for Crippled Children are a post-black metal/blackgaze band from Friesland, formed in 2008. The band consists of three members, who keep their identities in a secret. The band name was taken from a song by EbonyLake.

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33. Urban Dance Squad

Urban Dance Squad were an influential rap/rock band, formed in Utrecht in 1986. The band's rap-rock hybrid style was influential on several groups, such as Rage Against the Machine. Also a late 1980's tour with the Beastie Boys was what convinced the latter group to return performing their own instruments.

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32. Urfaust

Urfaust were formed in Asten in 2003. They play their own unique style of black metal, utilizing clean vocals and dark ambient elements.

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31. 35007

35007 were formed in Eindhoven, Netherlands at the end of the eighties. Their music style is a unique mix of stoner rock, psychedelic rock, space rock and progressive rock.

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30. DeWolff

DeWolff are a psychedelic rock band from Sittard-Geleen, formed in 2007. In 2010, then still aged 15, 18 and 19, DeWolff played in front of an audience of 10,000 at Europe's oldest music festival Pinkpop.

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29. Gorefest

Gorefest were formed in Goes, Netherlands in 1989 as a death metal. Their 1994 album "Erase" revealed their more mature sound with a different attitude towards traditional death metal and started their international success.

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28. The Devil's Blood

The Devil's Blood were a female-fronted occult/psychedelic rock band The Netherlands, formed in 2007. The group split up in 2013.

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27. Exivious

Exivious are an instrumental band from the Netherlands. They were originally formed in 1997 as a progressive death metal band, but later changed their style to a mix of progressive metal and jazz fusion.

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26. Carach Angren

Carach Angren are a symphonic black metal band from Landgraaf, formed in 2003. All of their studio albums are concept albums with lyrics based on ghost stories and folk lore (such as "Flying Dutchman"). They set themselves apart from other symphonic black metal artists in showcasing songs often using multiple languages apart from English, such as French, German and Dutch.

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25. Clan of Xymox

Clan of Xymox (also known as Xymox) are a cult gothic band from the Netherlands, formed in 1983. Their style is an eclectic and vibrant mix of gothic rock, synthpop, and darkwave.

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24. Legion of the Damned

Legion of the Damned are a death/thrash metal band originally from Geldrop, Netherlands. They were formerly known as Occult, but changed their name to Legion of the Damned in 2004.

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23. Delain

Delain are a symphonic metal band, formed in Zwolle in 2002. Delain were founded by Martijn Westerholt, former pianist of Within Temptation and brother of Within Temptation co-founder Robert Westerholt. Martijn left Within Temptation in 2001 after contracting Pfeiffer's disease, and then he started Delain in 2002.

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22. Asphyx

Asphyx is a death metal band from the Netherlands, formed in 1987. They are also known for incorporating doom metal and thrash metal elements into their music.

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21. Stream of Passion

Stream of Passion are a progressive metal band with symphonic metal influence, formed in 2005 in the Netherlands. It all started with Ayreon's frontman Arjen Anthony Lucassen being impressed by a recording he received from Marcela Bovio, the lead singer of a Mexican band Elfonía.

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20. The Ex

The Ex are were formed in Amsterdam in 1979. Initially known as an anarcho-punk band, they have since released over 20 full-length albums, including numerous experiments, blending punk, post-punk, free jazz, folk, noise rock, industrial, etc, being one of the longest-lived and most influential underground bands.

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19. God Dethroned

God Dethroned are blackened death metal band, formed in Beilen in 1991. They were originally formed as a death metal band, but when they reformed in 1996, they switched to blackened death metal and stayed that way until 2006, when they shifted to melodic death metal. Their final two albums saw a return to their original blackened death metal sound. They are also, however, "an important part of the Dutch black metal scene," according to "The Encyclopedia of Dutch Black Metal."

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18. BLØF

BLØF are a rock band from Vlissingen, formed in 1992. They have become popular regionally and internationally for their music, as well as for frequent collaborations with bands from other parts of the world. BLØF have twice won the Edison Award for "Best Band" in the Netherlands.

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17. Heidevolk

Heidevolk are a folk/viking metal band from the Netherlands, formed in 2002. Their music and lyrics are inspired by nature, mythology, and the history of northwestern-Europe in general, and of the Dutch province of Gelderland in particular. Most of their lyrics are in Dutch.

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16. Sinister

Sinister is a death metal band, originally formed in Schiedam in 1988. The group disassembled in 2003, and reassembled again in 2005.

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15. The Legendary Pink Dots

The Legendary Pink Dots are an Anglo-Dutch experimental rock. Though they originally formed in 1980 in London, in 1984 the band moved to Amsterdam, where they released almost all of their albums. They're known for mixing a lot of genres such as avant-garde rock, experimental, neo-psychedelia, ambient, post-punk, industrial, synthpop, noise rock, etc. Although outside the mainstream, they have released more than 40 albums and have a devoted worldwide following.

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14. Racoon

Racoon are a Dutch pop-rock band, formed in 1997 in Goes. The band made a breakthrough appearance at the 1999 Noorderslagfestival in Groningen, resulting in lots of record deal offers.

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13. Kayak

Kayak are a legendary Dutch progressive rock band, mostly known during the 1970s. They were formed in the city Hilversum in 1972.

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12. After Forever

After Forever were a metal band that was previously named Apocalypse when they were first formed in 1995. Their genre can be described as a symphonic metal with influences from classical music, doom metal, gothic metal, power metal and progressive metal. In February 2009, it was announced that After Forever had disbanded. Singer Floor Jansen and keyboardist Joost van den Broek both collaborated again in bands ReVamp and Star One. In 2013, Jansen also joined Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish.

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11. Epica

Epica are a symphonic metal band with gothic metal, progressive metal, death metal, etc influences. They were formed in 2002 by guitarist and vocalist Mark Jansen after his departure from After Forever.

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10. Earth and Fire

Earth and Fire were a progressive and symphonic rock band, formed in 1968, who over time evolved into a pop group. Being most popular in the 1970s when fronted by singer Jerney Kaagman, Earth and Fire have many chart topping hits in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe.

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9. Textures

Textures were a progressive metal/metalcore band, formed in 2001 in Tilburg. In May 2017, Textures announced their breakup.

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8. Golden Earring

Golden Earring are a Dutch rock band, founded in 1961 in The Hague as The Golden Earrings. They achieved worldwide fame with their international hit songs and nearly 30 top-ten singles on the Dutch charts. Mixing hard rock, progressive rock, psychedelic rock and Nederbeat, Golden Earring are one of the best known and internationally most successful rock bands to come out of the Netherlands.

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7. Pestilence

Pestilence are a death metal band, formed in Enschede in 1986. Originally the group started as a thrash metal band, but later they incorporated more jazz and fusion elements into their music and became one of the first technical death metal bands.

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6. Supersister

Supersister were a progressive rock band from The Hague, that existed from 1968 to 1974. They played prog rock ranging from jazz to pop, and although Dutch, they are generally considered to be part of the Canterbury scene due to their complicated sound.

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5. Shocking Blue

Shocking Blue were a Dutch rock band, formed in The Hague in 1967. The band spawned a number of psychedelic rock hits throughout the counterculture movements era during the 1960s and early 1970s, with "Venus" being the biggest one - it went to No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and many other countries during 1969 and 1970. The band had sold 13.5 million discs by 1973, but disbanded in 1974.

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4. Ayreon

Ayreon is a progressive metal project by Dutch songwriter, singer, multi-instrumentalist musician and record producer Arjen Anthony Lucassen. Formed in Hilversum in 1995, Ayreon's musical style derives mostly from heavy metal and progressive rock, but combines them with genres like folk, classical and electronica. The majority of Ayreon's albums are dubbed a "rock opera" with an ongoing science fiction storyline featuring a host of characters, usually with each one being represented by a unique vocalist.

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3. Within Temptation

Within Temptation are a Dutch symphonic metal band formed in 1995 in Waddinxveen. Despite being labeled by the media as a gothic metal band, Within Temptation consider themselves "more a symphonic rock/metal band" with various influences.

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2. The Gathering

The Gathering are a gothic metal/progressive rock/alternative rock band formed in Oss in 1989. Their earliest releases were categorized as atmospheric doom metal with influences from death metal. In 1998 with the release of their 5th studio album, "How to Measure a Planet?," they had a major shift in musical style, with the group acknowledging the growing influence of shoegaze, progressive rock, post-rock, experimental rock and the more ethereal sounds of 4AD bands, such as Dead Can Dance, Cocteau Twins, as well as Pink Floyd and Massive Attack. They expanded their sound, which acquired characteristics of progressive, alternative, and trip rock and gained success and recognition beyond the European borders.

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1. Focus

Focus are a Dutch progressive rock band formed in Amsterdam in 1969. They are one of the most well-known and influential rock bands from the Netherlands. They successfully fuse jazz, rock, and blues genres, as well as classical musical structures and accessible pop melodies into a powerful and instantly recognizable sound.

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Know more bands from the Netherlands? Feel free to share them in the comment section below. (And don't forget to check out the list of honorable mentions here.)

78 comments sorted by best / new / date

    yntebraaksma
    Im so glad Focus is first on the list! You should absolutely check them out if you dont know them yet. Jan Akkerman is a fantastic guitar player and he was succesful in Brainbox too.
    dennis.1960
    Hamburger Concerto is my fave Focus album (Moving Waves is also a winner) and Jan Akkerman had a fantastic 1973 solo album of medieval lute/guitar called Tabernakel.  Great band.
    toateridax2010
    I'm actually going to the Netherlands this summer, so this is a great list for me. A few names I recognize, most of this sounds awesome!
    slash_015
    Focus are da shit! But what's with Sungrazer? Sungrazer? Sungrazer? Sungrazer? Sungrazer? Sungrazer? Sungrazer? Sungrazer?
    vinay.
    That's a nice and varied list, well done . Including the honourable mentions list you linked to, there are only a few to add. Of course being such a small country, many bands share or transfered from one band to the other. Who'd have thought Gorefest, God Dethroned, Epica, After Forever, Delain, Mayan, Ayreon, The Gentle Storm, Vuur and The Gathering are related and often through more than a few members. A few more deserve a mention: Vuur (see their website vuur.band) will soon release their debut. The band largely consists of members from The Gentle Storm which then again consists of several seasoned artists like Anneke van Giersbergen and Ed Warby. Should be good. Zuco103. I first saw them at North Sea Jazz Heats The Hague. Back in the day North Sea Jazz Festival was held in The Hague until it grew too big and moved to Rotterdam. But with so many legendary artists attending the festival, it only made sense to have a million small jazz concerts surrounding the festival. NSJ Heats The Hague was a free open air festival in the city center the day before the main event kicked off and that's where I first saw Zuco103. They're fun and cool. A mix of jazz and salsa, good times. Chef'Special. Nice and mellow, still need to get their album but they're getting decent airtime on the radio. Their only hit I know is "In Your Arms" but the rest I've heard is good too. Junkie XL. Not necessarily my cup of tea but if you're interested in electronic dance music you may like to check it out. Related to Urban Dance Squad if I recall correctly. He had a hit with an Elvis cover/remix, "A Little Less Complicated". And as Elvis (according to those in the know) had a backing band that sucked, the cover is actually better than Elvis' original. Anouk. How can you miss that? Like it or not, a very varied artist. People from The Golden Earring kickstarted her carreer but she ows loads to her own talent. The Golden Earring are and have been pretty important to the The Hague scene, actually. The Postmen. Rap. I'm not into rap but I enjoyed their music. Ilse de Lange. She's got quite a few tunes I like. Officially it is called country I suppose. It may not be the country element I like, but there is enough good besides that. And otherwise you can always just look at her.
    N-D
    Great! Thanks for your recommendations! Personally I'm waiting for the VUUR's debut
    vinay.
    Oh yeah, and of course Laberinto! I think these artists are originally from Venezuela but are now based in Amsterdam. They make a crossover between salsa and NY hardcore. Another interesting band is Mala Vita. Not sure whether you can actually get hold of their work abroad but the band consists of several refugees from former Yugoslavia and Dutch natives though I think the singer has roots in Italy too. What you get is a mix of Balkan and rock and the singing too is in several languages. Now, I only have two of their records (Disorganizzata and En Exilio) so I don't know what their other work is like. But it should be good and interesting.
    vinay.
    Cheers. I noticed you mentioned Candy Dulfer in the intro, but you forgot her dad Hans Dulfer. Candy is really smooth and maybe a bit commercial sounding, Hans is a bit more rough but definitely gets recognition. Another death metal band from The Hague that deserves a mention is Blo.Torch (with the period). Saw them live a few times, have got their cd. They're cool . Now that we're at it, maybe Purest of Pain could be mentioned. Not sure what the current state is, but they we're in the studio last time I checked. Guitarist Merel Bechtold is also busy as a member of Delain and Mayan and might rock up for a live concert with The Gentle Storm so I hope they can work it out. Mayan wouldn't be that much of an issue as that is a side project for most musicians involved, but Delain is a full time affair.  Kudos for updating that list on the forum: https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthrea...
    BjarnedeGraaf
    Too bad Kensington, The Charm the Fury or the band John Coffey (known for that viral video of him catching and drinking a bear thrown at him on stage at a festival) Didn't make the list. They are 3 epic bands. Here are some songs and that viral video:
    thillian1997
    Kensington?
    joplambrix
    What's with the downvotes? Kensington is a great band who's making quite the name for itself.
    sactorius
    Y they should be on the list, on the list of the worst 35 band from the Netherlands. Please don't try to even put them on the same level as focus. And rest of you do not place one hit wonders like intwine or john coffey in this list. They are not bad but also not very interesting.
    N-D
    Personally I also don't understand a reason for downvotes - though their music is not my cup of tea, they are really good at what they're doing.
    RockingDutchman
    All their songs sound the same. The singer always sings with a whiny voice. I don't know why they are so popular. 
    OriginOfFeces
    Where is THE only true Rock & Roll junkie our country has ever known?! No fucking love for Herman Brood in this list yet you put such lame acts as Racoon, Bløf and Delain in this list? Fucking hell... Oh and where is Armand? The Monolith Deathcult?!  I just puked a little in my mouth.
    eppohheermans
    Missing Q65, Motions, Alquin, Navarone (best Rock-singer today!), Green Lizard, de Staat, Alabama Kids... Interesting list thought...
    sndr.vrkk
    even in the long list two great instrumental bands from the 80s are omitted: GORE
    and GOD
    N-D
    Oh, thanks a lot! Never heard about these bands before - but they're definitely great! Personally I really like noise rock so I enjoyed Gore a lot! And God are great too - I only knew British God before - project of Justin Broadrick from Godflesh - by the way, they're amazing too! Thanks again!
    NeilTheDruid
    Great to see Supersister on the list. If you like Focus you would probably enjoy them.
    Paulsax
    I miss Cuby & The Blizzards and of course, not to forget, Solution !!!!
    ptleruuh
    That Kong video is from a different band of the same name. They're definitely British. Worth checking out anyway, but yea, not the right example for this list.
    N-D
    Thanks a lot - my bad! Fixed it - but both bands are definitely great anyway!
    fretjuuh
    I want to add Monomyth and The Mysterons as some more obscure, but really cool bands more people should know about!
    sactorius
    I wanted to recommended monomyth aswell but 1st mentioning credits goes to you!
    kmath2220
    This is the first of these lists where I didn't know a single band! Netherlands, why you gotta be so obscure?!
    sweenster
    Definitely give Carach Angren a try! Shocking blue is great too, check out "love buzz" by them.  You may be familiar with the Nirvana cover of that song but the original has a mystique about it that I love.
    johnnywinter12
    Considering what was on the top bands from Canada list last week, makes we wonder how  many people from the Netherlands are looking at this list and saying, " Whaaaaat??"
    vinay.
    It is quite a decent list considering it had to be limited to 25. If you include the longer list that was linked to at the beginning of the article, we're getting somewhere. Of course you can always argue which 25 should have been in the main article and which should have shifted to that longer list on the forum. Personally I think Altar deserved a spot in the main article considering the media attention (and attention by the Christian church) they got with their album "Youth Against Christ" and considering their metal is right up there with the best. But bands like Shocking Blue, Epica, Within Temptation and The Golden Earring are quite well known worldwide, aren't they?
    BjarnedeGraaf
    I totally forgot intwine, the frontman participated in a tv-show called Idols but refused to sign the contract for the live shows as it was too restricting.  he then made his own band and got pretty big around here.  they are now split up and the singer is somewhere on a tropical island singing covers somewhere haha.
    peekaa
    "Spin" .... Two great jazz-rock fusion albums at the end of the 70's....
    cleany
    So....where are Bettie Serveert, Undeclinable Ambuscade, Travoltas & De Heideroosjes?
    sactorius
    How did "De Raggende Manne" (Which means "The Ragging Men") made this worthy mention's list. I only know them from "Poep in je hoofd". Which is semi-famous because of their absurdist lyrics. When i translate (im dutch), you'll get this in English.  Zal ik jouw eens even lekker in je bek schijten of heb je al poep poep in je hoofd Shall i tastily shit in your mouth Or do you already have shit Shit in your head This will be repeated several times. It's funny but not a noteworthy mention. XD
    sactorius
    Anouk should be on this list. Her old stuff is pop-rock and pretty good. But i would not recommend her newer shit (like the last 15 years). Check this one out.
    Although not really a rock-band (although punk is rock right?), I would recommend "Doe Maar". They are a dutch sung pop-ska-punk-reggae band and are very unique and influential in the Netherlands. They also have very good lyrics. 
    Monomyth is a newer band and is very unknown (also in Holland), but i personally would recommend them for UG users. They are a psychedelic-stoner-space-rock band and are great live!
    peekaa
    and "Solution" (mix of jazz, rock, progressive from mainly the 70's) !  Actually "Tommy" by Focus is a Solution cover....
    peekaa
    totally agree with Focus as nr. 1 ! but the band "Partner" (1977-1981) really deserves at least an honorable mention (altough in my opinion they should be in the top-35 list)
    julien112
    Where the hell is Schizoid Lloyd? They have some great avant-garde progressive music!
    Downfault
    I wonder what a list with famous bands from the U.S. would look like?
    N-D
    Hah Definitely it's impossible to create such list - 35 is such a little number for it)
    Guitar_Jester
    De Wolff andere Racoon should not be on this list.
    karschnyphilip
    Why shouldn't they?
    sactorius
    Anouk, Kane, De Dijk, George Baker Selection, Ayreon, Normaal, Van Dik hout, Di-rect, The Cats, Heideroosjes are bigger.
    sactorius
    Raccoon a 2 hit wonder, and they do not rock. Listen to them. There are waaaaay (like thousands) more band above them on this list.
    TheTrent
    I would have put Intwine into the list - listened to their albums non-stop as a teenager.
    Momo320
    You forgot John Coffey and their legendary Beer Toss (2:26 in the video)