The Most Famous

FILM DIRECTORS from Netherlands

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This page contains a list of the greatest Dutch Film Directors. The pantheon dataset contains 1,580 Film Directors, 12 of which were born in Netherlands. This makes Netherlands the birth place of the 22nd most number of Film Directors behind Iran and Argentina.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Dutch Film Directors of all time. This list of famous Dutch Film Directors is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Dutch Film Directors.

Photo of Paul Verhoeven

1. Paul Verhoeven (1938 - )

With an HPI of 74.87, Paul Verhoeven is the most famous Dutch Film Director.  His biography has been translated into 50 different languages on wikipedia.

Paul Verhoeven (Dutch: [ˈpʌu̯l vərˈɦuvə(n)]; born 18 July 1938) is a Dutch director and screenwriter active in both the Netherlands and Hollywood. His blending of graphic violence and sexual content with social satire are trademarks of both his drama and science fiction films. He directed the films Turkish Delight (1973), Keetje Tippel (1975), Soldier of Orange (1977), Spetters (1980), The Fourth Man (1983), Flesh and Blood (1985), RoboCop (1987), Total Recall (1990), Basic Instinct (1992), Showgirls (1995), Starship Troopers (1997), Hollow Man (2000), Black Book (2006) and Elle (2016). Turkish Delight received the award for Best Dutch Film of the Century at the Netherlands Film Festival. Verhoeven's films altogether received a total of nine Academy Award nominations, mainly for editing and effects. He won the Saturn Award for Best Director for RoboCop. His Dutch war film Black Book (2006) was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language and was voted by the Dutch public, in 2008, as the best Dutch film ever made. In contrast, he won the Golden Raspberry Awards for Worst Picture and Worst Director for Showgirls; he is one of the few people to have accepted their Golden Raspberry awards in person, and was the first person to go to the ceremony to receive it. In 2016 he directed Elle, which won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film and César Award for Best Film. The Seattle Times praised Verhoeven by saying, "director Paul Verhoeven often appears to be a one-man Dutch movie industry," while The San Diego Union-Tribune called Verhoeven "a busy bee whose movies pollinate the festival circuit."

Photo of Joris Ivens

2. Joris Ivens (1898 - 1989)

With an HPI of 69.98, Joris Ivens is the 2nd most famous Dutch Film Director.  His biography has been translated into 33 different languages.

Georg Henri Anton "Joris" Ivens (18 November 1898 – 28 June 1989) was a Dutch documentary filmmaker. Among the notable films he directed or co-directed are A Tale of the Wind, The Spanish Earth, Rain, ...A Valparaiso, Misère au Borinage (Borinage), 17th Parallel: Vietnam in War, The Seine Meets Paris, Far from Vietnam, Pour le Mistral and How Yukong Moved the Mountains.

Photo of Theo van Gogh

3. Theo van Gogh (1957 - 2004)

With an HPI of 68.19, Theo van Gogh is the 3rd most famous Dutch Film Director.  His biography has been translated into 46 different languages.

Theodoor "Theo" van Gogh (Dutch: [ˈteːjoː vɑŋ ˈɣɔx]; 23 July 1957 – 2 November 2004) was a Dutch director and film and television producer, actor and author. He directed Submission: Part 1, a short film written by Somali writer and politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali, which criticized the treatment of women in Islam in strong terms. On 2 November 2004, Van Gogh was assassinated by Mohammed Bouyeri, a Dutch-Moroccan Islamist who objected to the film's message. The last film Van Gogh had completed before his murder, 06/05, was a fictional exploration of the assassination of Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn (1948–2002). It was released posthumously in December 2004, a month after Van Gogh's assassination, and two years after Fortuyn's assassination.

Photo of Jan de Bont

4. Jan de Bont (1943 - )

With an HPI of 65.67, Jan de Bont is the 4th most famous Dutch Film Director.  His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.

Jan de Bont (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈjɑn də ˈbɔnt]; born 22 October 1943) is a Dutch cinematographer, director and film producer. He is widely known for directing the films Speed and Twister. As a director of photography, de Bont also worked on numerous blockbusters and genre films, including Cujo, Flesh and Blood, Die Hard, The Hunt for Red October, and Basic Instinct.

Photo of Anton Corbijn

5. Anton Corbijn (1955 - )

With an HPI of 64.51, Anton Corbijn is the 5th most famous Dutch Film Director.  His biography has been translated into 27 different languages.

Anton Johannes Gerrit Corbijn van Willenswaard (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɑntɔn joːˈɦɑnəs ˈɣɛrɪt kɔrˈbɛin vɑn ˌʋɪlənsˈʋaːrt]; born 20 May 1955) is a Dutch photographer, film director and music video director. He is the creative director behind the visual output of Depeche Mode and U2, having handled the principal promotion and sleeve photography for both bands over three decades. Some of his works include music videos for Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence" (1990), U2's "One" (version 1) (1991), Bryan Adams' "Do I Have to Say the Words?", Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box" (1993) and Coldplay’s "Talk" (2005) and "Viva la Vida" (2008), as well as the Ian Curtis biographical film Control (2007), The American (2010) and A Most Wanted Man (2014), based on John le Carré's 2008 novel of the same name.

Photo of Michaël Dudok de Wit

6. Michaël Dudok de Wit (1953 - )

With an HPI of 60.39, Michaël Dudok de Wit is the 6th most famous Dutch Film Director.  Her biography has been translated into 17 different languages.

Michaël Dudok de Wit (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈmixaːɛl ˈdydɔɡ də ˈʋɪt]; born 15 July 1953) is a Dutch animator, director and illustrator based in London. He won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for Father and Daughter (2000) and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature for The Red Turtle (2016).

Photo of Alex van Warmerdam

7. Alex van Warmerdam (1952 - )

With an HPI of 57.69, Alex van Warmerdam is the 7th most famous Dutch Film Director.  His biography has been translated into 15 different languages.

Alex van Warmerdam (born 14 August 1952) is a Dutch screenwriter, film director, and actor. He is also a painter.

Photo of Tom Six

8. Tom Six (1973 - )

With an HPI of 54.30, Tom Six is the 8th most famous Dutch Film Director.  His biography has been translated into 16 different languages.

Tom Six (born 29 August 1973) is a Dutch filmmaker, writer, and actor. He is best known for his trilogy of body horror films; The Human Centipede (First Sequence), The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence), and The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence). Six was an original director of Dutch reality TV series Big Brother, which has since become an international franchise.

Photo of Mike van Diem

9. Mike van Diem (1959 - )

With an HPI of 53.63, Mike van Diem is the 9th most famous Dutch Film Director.  His biography has been translated into 15 different languages.

Mike van Diem (born 1959, in Druten, grew up in Sittard) is a Dutch film director. In 1990, his short film Alaska won a Golden Calf for best short film and the Student Academy Award for best foreign student film in the drama category. In 1998, he received the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for the film Character based on the 1938 novel Karakter by Ferdinand Bordewijk.He has also directed commercials.

Photo of Jan Kounen

10. Jan Kounen (1964 - )

With an HPI of 53.34, Jan Kounen is the 10th most famous Dutch Film Director.  His biography has been translated into 15 different languages.

Jan Kounen (born Jan Coenen on 2 May 1964, Utrecht) is a Netherlands-born French film director and producer.In France, he is mostly known for his films Dobermann (1997), Blueberry, l'experience secrete (2004) and 99 francs (2007). Outside France he is better known for his interest in Shipibo-Conibo culture and shamanism, with which he became familiar during his trips to Mexico and Peru, and for directing some music videos of which, the most notable are the four videos he did for the English pop group Erasure in the 1990s (including three for the project Abba-esque) : Lay all your love on me (1992), Voulez-vous (1992), S.O.S. (1992) and Always (1994).

Pantheon has 12 people classified as film directors born between 1898 and 1973. Of these 12, 10 (83.33%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living film directors include Paul Verhoeven, Jan de Bont, and Anton Corbijn. The most famous deceased film directors include Joris Ivens and Theo van Gogh. As of October 2020, 4 new film directors have been added to Pantheon including Alex van Warmerdam, Tom Six, and Mike van Diem.

Living Film Directors

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Deceased Film Directors

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Newly Added Film Directors (2020)

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