Netherlands Folk Music: From Traditional to Modern

Traditional music from the Netherlands is varied and unique, but also constantly evolving. In this blog, we explore the different types of folk music found in the Netherlands, from traditional ballads to modern pop songs.


Folk music is the traditional music of a people or country. It is often passed down orally from one generation to the next. In the Netherlands, folk music has been around for many centuries. The first known folk songs date back to the Middle Ages. Over the years, Dutch folk music has evolved and changed. Today, there are many different types of Dutch folk music, from traditional to modern.

Traditional Dutch folk music is often based on medieval ballads and songs. These songs were originally written in Latin or Dutch. They tell stories of love, loss, and religion. Many of these songs were passed down orally from generation to generation. In the 1800s, people began collecting and publishing these traditional songs.Today, there are many different types of traditional Dutch folk music, from ballads to lullabies to drinking songs.

Modern Dutch folk music is a mix of traditional and modern styles. Folk musicians often use traditional instruments like the accordion, violin, and guitar. But they also use modern instruments like the drums and electric guitar. Modern Dutch folk music often has a rock or pop feel to it.

Traditional Folk Music

Traditional folk music is the music of the people that has been passed down through the generations. This type of music is usually performed by folk musicians who play a variety of traditional instruments. Some of these instruments include the fiddle, accordion, penny whistle, and guitar. Traditional folk music often has a strong sense of community and is passed down through the generations.

What is traditional folk music?

Traditional folk music is the music of the people that has been passed down orally from one generation to the next. It is usually associated with a particular region or country and is often played on traditional instruments. Folk music has often been influenced by music from other cultures, but it has also had a significant impact on the development of popular music. Many folk songs have become popular hits, and some traditional folk instruments have found their way into mainstream pop and rock bands.

The history of traditional folk music in the Netherlands

Traditional folk music in the Netherlands has its roots in the music of the country’s earliest inhabitants. The first people to settle in the region were the Celts, who arrived in around 500 BC. The Celts were a group of people who spoke a common language and shared a similar culture. They were also the first people to bring guitars and other stringed instruments to the Netherlands.

The Celts were followed by the Germanic tribes, who began arriving in the Netherlands around 300 BC. The Germanic tribes were a group of people who spoke a common language and shared a similar culture. They too brought guitars and other stringed instruments to the Netherlands.

Between 500 AD and 1000 AD, the Franks, a group of people who spoke a Germanic language, began settling in the Netherlands. The Franks were able to conquer most of Europe, including the Netherlands. During this time, the use of Latin declined in favor of Frankish, which became the Language of Record for much of Europe, including the Netherlands. This change contributed to a decline in Celtic and Germanic influence on Dutch folk music.

During the Middle Ages (1000-1500 AD), there was little migration into or out of the Netherlands, so Dutch folk music remained relatively static during this time period. One significant event that did occur during this time was the Crusades (1095-1291), during which many Christians from all over Europe journeyed to Palestine in an attempt to recapture Jerusalem from Muslim control. While most crusaders ultimately failed in their objective, those who did return home brought with them new ideas and influences from other cultures, including Arabic music

Traditional folk music today

In the Netherlands, traditional folk music is still alive and well. There are many folk music festivals held throughout the year, and many Dutch musicians play traditional folk music.

However, Dutch folk music has also evolved over the years. Some Dutch musicians have incorporated elements of modern pop and rock music into their folk music, giving it a unique sound.

If you’re interested in hearing some Dutch folk music, there are a few ways to go about it. You can attend a folk music festival, listen to Dutch radio stations that play folk music, or buy CDs of Dutch folk music.

Modern Folk Music

Folk music traditions are alive and well in the Netherlands, where new takes on old traditions are always being created. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the different styles of folk music that can be found in the Netherlands today. We’ll also explore how these styles have evolved over time and what makes them unique.

What is modern folk music?

Modern folk music is a genre that has developed since the early 20th century. It was originally used to describe British and American traditional music which had been commonly played since the 18th century, but it later came to encompass a wide range of musical styles from all over the world.

While some modern folk music is still based on traditional tunes and forms, much of it has been influenced by other genres such as pop, rock, jazz and classical music. This makes it difficult to define exactly what modern folk music is, but there are some common characteristics that are often found in this type of music.

Typically, modern folk songs are shorter and less complex than traditional folk songs, with simpler chord structures and melodies. They often have a repeating chorus or verse, which makes them easy to remember and sing along to. The lyrics of modern folk songs often deal with personal or social issues, and they often have a positive or optimistic message.

Some well-known modern folk artists include Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Simon & Garfunkel, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Neil Young and James Taylor.

The history of modern folk music in the Netherlands

The Dutch folk music scene is a vibrant and ever-changing one, with new bands and artists constantly emerging and bringing their own unique twist to the genre. While the traditional sounds of Netherlands folk music can still be heard in many of these contemporary recordings, there is also a strong influence from other genres, including pop, rock, jazz and even electronic music.

The history of modern folk music in the Netherlands can be traced back to the 1960s, when a revival of interest in traditional Dutch folk songs and dances began. This was led by a number of influential figures, including singer-songwriter Bernard Smilde, who popularized the style with his album Folk Songs from Holland (1964).

In the 1970s and 1980s, a number of folk bands emerged that blended traditional folk music with elements of other genres. One of the most successful and influential of these was Doe Maar, whose hits such as “Sinds 1 Dag Of 2 (32 Jaar)” helped to bring Dutch folk music to a wider audience.

The 1990s saw a renewed interest in traditional Dutch folk music, with many young bands taking inspiration from the work of early pioneers like Bernard Smilde. One of the most successful groups to emerge from this scene was Rowwen Heze, whose chart-topping album De Klomp (1995) is still regarded as one of the finest examples of modern Netherlands folk music.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in so-called “world music”, with many Dutch artists incorporating elements of North African and Middle Eastern sounds into their work. This trend has been led by groups such as Turntable Hazards and Mister & Mississippi, who have brought a fresh and innovative sound to Dutch folk music.

Modern folk music today

Modern folk music is a genre that is developed from traditional folk music. It is similar to traditional folk music in many respects, but also has a number of key differences.

One key difference between modern and traditional folk music is the way in which it is performed. Modern folk music is often performed in a very polished and professional manner, while traditional folk music is more likely to be performed in a more relaxed and informal manner.

Another key difference between the two genres is the subject matter of the lyrics. Modern folk music often deals with more contemporary issues such as love, loss, and heartbreak, while traditional folk music often deals with more timeless topics such as nature, history, and legend.

Modern folk music has its roots in the early 20th century, when a number of different styles of music began to coalesce into a distinct genre. In the United States, the blues and country music were two of the primary influences on early modern folk musicians. In Europe, meanwhile, a number of different traditions – including Celtic, Slavic, and Romani – all played a role in shaping the sound of modern folk music.


In conclusion, the Netherlands has a rich and diverse folk music tradition that has been passed down through the generations. From traditional songs and dances to more modern interpretations, there is something for everyone to enjoy. If you’re ever in the Netherlands, be sure to check out some of the local folk music – you’re sure to find a new favorite!

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