Apart from an awesome little drink called gin (nope, it wasn’t invented by the Brits), there are a number of other important inventions that are the brainchild of Dutch scientists, architects, and more!
In fact, there are many Dutch inventions that have been groundbreaking.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll be pretty surprised that some of the inventions on this list are actually Dutch! So, without further adieu, let’s get started!
1. The first submarine
No, the Beatles didn’t invent the (yellow) submarine, and it certainly wasn’t Englishman William Bourne. However, he was the first person to develop the concept around it.
In the 1620s, it was Dutch inventor Cornelis Drebbel who constructed the first vessel that could be navigated underwater.
He was employed by the English Royal Navy, which used the River Thames as a testing ground for the submarine.
The submersible consisted of a wooden frame with leather stretched over it, and oars were used to propel it. It is actually a pretty scary thought that there was only a piece of greased leather protecting you from the freezing ocean. Brrr! 🌊
2. The beginning of the Olympic flame
Bet you didn’t know that the Olympic flame was originally Dutch! Now you’re impressed, right?
It was, however, invented “by accident” when architect Jan Wils designed the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam. He created a tall tower with a smoke effect to attract attention. Hence it became a tradition at the Olympics to use the now world-famous flame.
3. The telescope & microscope — both created by the Dutch
Yep, both of them are Dutch inventions! In 1608, (one year before Galileo, say what?!) spectacle-craftsmen Zacharias Janssen and Hans Lipperhey from Middelburg developed the telescope.
The first stellar spyglass consisted of a simple tube as well as one biconvex and biconcave lens.
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As far as the microscope is concerned, Dutchmen like Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, Zacharias, or Hans Jansen are mentioned as inventors. Van Leeuwenhoek used a magnifying glass with one lens that could magnify up to 237 times!
4. The creation of the eye-test
You know when you go to the eye specialist, and you have to read letters ranging from large to small off of a board? Yes? Well, it’s because the Dutch care about our eyesight!
Herman Snellen invented this chart (called the Snellen-Chart) in 1862.
5. The speed camera — a Dutch invention
Hmm, not sure if this is something we should really thank the Dutch for. The rally driver and inventor Maus Gatsonides is responsible for the invention of the first automatic speedometer, which he started to produce and sell in 1958.
He used two rubber tubes, which, as soon as the car tires hit them, would activate the chronometer to measure the speed.
6. CD, DVD, and Blu-Ray are all Dutch
Joop Sinjou and Kees Schouhamer Immink are the masterminds behind the compact disc that was produced by Sony and Philips. They based the size of the CD’s hole on a Dutch 10-cent coin.
Next to the CD, Philips also invented the cassette tape, the DVD, and Blu-Ray — seriously impressive!
7. Bluetooth and WiFi’s roots in the Netherlands
Alright, I’ve got one more of these Dutch inventions! Dutchman Dr. Jaap Haartsen came up with the idea for Bluetooth while he was working for the Swedish company Ericsson.
And if that doesn’t convince you that the Dutch are quite the inventors, then guess what? WiFi even has Dutch roots too, with Cees Links playing a vital role in its creation in 1997!
He paved the way for WiFi technology as we know and use it today (even though it was actually developed by an Australian organisation called CSIRO).
And the list of Dutch inventions doesn’t end there! Which Dutch invention do you love most?