Dutch-Americans - Notable Dutch Americans

Notable Dutch Americans

Harmen Jansen Knickerbocker was an early Dutch settler of New York's Hudson River Valley.

In art, Willem de Kooning was a leading Abstract Expressionist painter, often depicting the human form in violent brush strokes and daring color juxtapositions. Muralist Anthony Heinsbergen interior designs are still seen today in most of the world's movie theaters.

In literature, Jan-Willem van de Wetering is renowned for his detective fiction; his most popular creation being that of Grijpstra and de Gier. Edward W. Bok was a Pulitzer Prize-winning autobiographer and magazine editor. He is also credited with coining the term "living room". Greta Van Susteren's father was a Dutch American. Calvin Ziegler published poetry in Pennsylvania Dutch in the 19th Century. Pennsylvania Dutch is German from the Rhineland and not Dutch at all. Prolific poet Leo Vroman escaped from Nazi occupied Holland to the Dutch East Indies to end up in Japanese concentration camps. After the war he immigrated to the US. His Dutch Indonesian friend, fellow camp survivor and author Tjalie Robinson also lived in the US where he founded several cultural institutions. The author Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema, writer of the book Soldier of Orange, was a Dutch resistance fighter, spy and decorated war hero that immigrated to the US after WWII. Born on Java in the Dutch East Indies, he died in his home on Hawaii.

In entertainment, actor, presenter and entertainer Dick Van Dyke is of Dutch descent, with a career spanning six decades. He is best known for his starring roles in Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Dick Van Dyke Show and Diagnosis: Murder. The X-Men trilogy starred Dutch actress Famke Janssen and Dutch-descended Rebecca Romijn who is perhaps best known for her TV-roles on such comedies as Ugly Betty. Anneliese van der Pol, a singer and actress, is the star of Disney's Thats so Raven. Iconic star Audrey Hepburn was born in Belgium to a Dutch expatriate. Musicians Eddie and Alex van Halen are the lead guitarist, respectively drummer and co-founders of the band Van Halen, born to a Dutch father and Dutch-Indonesian mother. Singer Whitney Houston had Dutch ancestry. Don Van Vliet, stage name of musician Captain Beefheart, changed his middle name from Glen to the preposition to 1965 to honor his Dutch heritage. Actor Mark-Paul Gosselaar, known from the series Saved by the Bell, was born to a Dutch father and a Dutch-Indonesian mother. Matt Groening, the author of The Simpsons and Futurama has Dutch Mennonite ancestors, his family name originating from the Dutch city of Groningen.

In politics, Peter Stuyvesant was the last Director-General of the colony of New Netherland. Stuyvesant greatly expanded the settle of New Amsterdam, today known as New York. Stuyvesant's administration built the protective wall on Wall Street, and the canal that became Broad Street, known today as Broadway. The prestigious Stuyvesant High School is named after him. Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, presidents of the United States, were not only Dutch descent, but cousins. Martin Van Buren was another president of Dutch descent. Martin Kalbfleisch served as a US Representative for the state of New York. Today, Pete Hoekstra is a long-running congressman for the state of Michigan. Jacob Aaron Westervelt was a renowned and prolific shipbuilder and Mayor of New York (1853–1855)

In science and technology, Nicolaas Bloembergen won the Nobel Prize in 1981 for his work in laser spectroscopy. He was also awarded the Lorentz Medal in 1978. Physicists Samuel Abraham Goudsmit and George Eugene Uhlenbeck proposed the concept of electron spin. Goudsmit was also the scientific head of the Operation Alsos mission in the Manhattan Project. Tjalling Koopmans was the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1975.

In astronomy, Maarten Schmidt pioneered the research of quasars. Astronomer Gerard Kuiper discovered two new moons in our solar system and predicted the existence of the Kuiper belt, which is named in his honor. Popular astronomer Bart J. Bok won the Klumpke-Roberts Award in 1982 and the Bruce Medal in 1977. Jan Schilt invented the Schilt photometer.

In sports, baseball player and twice World Series champion Bert Blyleven gained fame for his curveball.

In religion, Albertus van Raalte was a Reformed Church of America pastor who led the Dutch immigrants who founded the city of Holland, Michigan in 1846. Louis Berkhof, a Reformed systematic theologian, is greatly studied today in seminaries and Bible colleges. Herman Hoeksema, a theologian, was instrumental in the series of events that precipitated the creation of the Protestant Reformed Church. Prominent Christian author Lewis B. Smedes wrote Forgive and Forget, an influential work discussing a religious view on sexuality and forgiveness.

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