Top 10 Famous Dutch Inventions

We do not count as many inhabitants and occupy little space on the world map, but you can call the Dutch people very well! Below – in chronological order – you will find an overview of the most famous inventions by Dutch people.

Microscope – 1595


Although Antoni van Leeuwenhoek is often referred to as the inventor of the microscope, this honor brings the Jansen family. In 1595, the first composite microscope with two lenses was invented by Sacharias Jansen. Most likely, father Hans laid the foundation for this invention. That’s why the Jansen microscope is mentioned. However, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek has made various improvements to this device. Thus, he developed a method that made it possible to get strong glass lenses. Then you should think of magnifications of 275 times. With other microscopes, enlargements were only realized 30 times! For years, Van Leeuwenhoek refused to share his insights. Exactly 50 years later, scientist Van Cittert Van Leeuwenhoek knew to analyze a different microscope.

Stock Market – 1602


Did you know that you have been engaged in trade in loans and futures contracts in antiquity? It was not until the eleventh century that it was found that it is more convenient to do in central places. Then in France the so-called ‘courtiers the change’ were arranged. In the sixteenth century the first exhibition buildings opened their doors. Although the focus was on commodity trading, loans and bonds were also traded in the stock exchanges of Antwerp and London. From 1602 Amsterdam was able to trade in shares and equity derivatives. Initially, it involved stocks in the VOC. Later, as from 1621, there was also trading in shares in the WIC. At the time the stock trading took place in locations on the Kalverstraat, on the Dam and in the ‘Beurs van Hendrick de Keyser’.

Telescope – 1608

Telescoop - TOP 10 MOST FAMOUS DUTCH INVENTIONSPhoto: Caseman / Wikicommons

As with the invention of the microscope, Sacharias Jansen was also involved with the telescope. It is not clear whether he was the first one; This is also called Hans Lipperhey’s name! The fact is that both men were employed as a spectacle sharpener in Middelburg during this period. If we should believe the stories, Lipperhey did not know how quickly he had to file a patent application when Sacharias Jansen had left the telescope to the Frankfurter Messe. This request took place with the town councilor Maurits van Nassau. Similarly, according to the Frankfurter Messe data, there was indeed a Dutchman with a so-called “tube” on the issue in question.

Submarine – 1620


Around 1624, Dutch inventor Cornelius Drebbel designed and built the first vessel – which could move under water. During the period 1620 to 1624, Drebbel’s invention has been extensively tested on the Thames. Then the vessel reached a considerable distance underwater at five meters deep. Just 150 years later, a submarine was deployed during a war. Nice to know is that only the Dutch navy distinguishes between submarines and submarines respectively. Under a submarine is meant a vessel that is above the water and only underwater when opponents are present. A submarine – equipped with a so-called sniffer system – stays under water for as long as possible.

Fire Hose – 1673

Brandslang - TOP 10 MOST FAMOUS DUTCH INVENTIONSPhoto: Algont / Wikicommons

Jan van der Heyden was blessed with many talents. Not only did he really deserve painting, he also has several inventions on his name. The most famous is that of the fire hose. More specifically, he laid the foundation under the fire system, as it was then used. After he improved the fire pump, Van der Heyden wrote about it with his brother – later one with his son – a richly illustrated book. A new syringe was then set up in all neighborhoods of Amsterdam. Later he designed a jumper for flooding water. Backed by many positive reviews, Jan van der Heyden also made some recommendations for the organization of the fire department. It will not surprise you that Van der Heyden was appointed as first general firefighter.


Electrocardiogram (ECG) – 1903

Elektrocardiogram - TOP 10 MOST FAMOUS DUTCH INVENTIONSFigure: Kalumet / Wikicommons

During his working life as a physician, Willem Einthoven was affiliated with Leids Physiological Laboratory. At the end of the nineteenth century he was busy registering the small electrical currents – associated with the heartbeat – in both sick and healthy people. It missed him on a good measuring instrument! He developed his own instrument, which consisted of a very thin, conductive quartz wire.This thread was tensioned vertically between two strong electromagnets. A microscope increased the result of the wire, which was recorded on photographic paper. The electrocardiogram was a fact! As a scientist claims, Einthoven has also developed the terminology for interpreting electrocardiograms. In 1924 Willem Einthoven was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.

Traffic cameras – 1958

Flitspalen - TOP 10 MOST FAMOUS DUTCH INVENTIONSPicture: MMMinder content / Wikicommons

Did you know that the first automatic speedometer was built in 1958? This invention is in the name of Dutch rider Maus Gatsonides. To this end he laid two snakes of rubber across the road. The moment when the front wheels of the vehicle hit the first hose, a chronometer was put into operation. If the vehicle hit the second hose, the meter stopped. The speed of the vehicle was calculated on the basis of the time course. Gatsonides knew that he had gold in hand; In the same year he founded ‘Gatsometer’.This company dedicated itself to producing speedometers. Nice to know is that English is called a gatso. If there is a speed violation, then the verbs are used to be ‘to be gatsoed’.

Cassette Tape – 1962

Cassettebandje - TOP 10 MOST FAMOUS DUTCH INVENTIONSPicture: Mib18 / Wikicommons

Of course, Philips may not be missing in this list. In 1962 this Dutch-Dutch company developed the cassette tape. Other names given to them are: strap, music cassette and compact cassette. If you look closely at a cassette tape, you’ll see that it’s a magnetic tape – used as a sound carrier – wrapped in a solid box. Although there was a lot of listening to the gramophone record, the cassette tape – especially when Philips patented – quickly gained ground. In general, the cassette tape was used to listen to music – which is installed in a factory. As a recording medium, the tape has never really gotten to the ground.This probably has to do with the fact that the compact disc was not introduced much later.

Compact Disc (CD) – 1983

cd - TOP 10 MOST FAMOUS DUTCH INVENTIONSPhoto: Silver Spoon / Wikicommons

Philips is also connected to the compact disc. In addition, this is a coproduction with Sony. This collaboration made the compact disc suitable for the commercial market. This proved to be a great success; LPs and cassette tapes were quickly forgotten. Generally, the compact disc has a diameter of 120 millimeters and a thickness of 1.2 millimeters. The diameter of the opening in the center is 15 millimeters. The discs are made of polycarbonate. In this the digital information is stored. Then you should think of applying very small pits. This layer of pits is again provided with a thin aluminum layer.The label is then applied to this.

Bluetooth – 1994

Bluetooth - TOP 10 MOST FAMOUS DUTCH INVENTIONSPhoto: Standardizer / Wikicommons

The last notable invention of Dutch real estate concerns bluetooth. In 1994, Jaap Haartsen received his assignment from Ericsson Ericsson to achieve radio communications between mobile phones and other devices. Bluetooth turned out to be the solution! This technique makes it possible to send files between computers and mobile phones. You can also send an image of your computer to the printer.Another application is that of transmitting sound to headphones. The term ‘bluetooth’ is derived from the Vikingen King Harald Blauwtand. This king introduced Christianity in Scandinavia and symbolizes a profound change.


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