Pioneers of Dutch rock were the so-called Indorock bands from the late 1950s, like The Tielman Brothers and the Blue Diamonds. They played rock guitar instrumentals when most of the Dutch youth had hardly heard of rock 'n' roll. They stemmed from the Indo community in The Hague and were pivotal in earning that city the title of Beatstad ('Beat city') in later years. With 60s bands like Golden Earring and Shocking Blue, and Kane and Anouk in the 90s, The Hague became synonymous for main stream rock.
More progressive music emerged in the 1960s in Amsterdam. In 1964 (see 1964 in music), The Outsiders were the first Dutch psychedelic rock band to become successful. Well known was the 'Haagse Scene' - many of the popular bands of the 60s came from The Hague, such as Shocking Blue, which topped the US charts in 1970 with Venus, Golden Earring, Q65, The Motions, Earth & Fire. Other representatives from this period: the Cats, Tee Set, Bintangs, Sandy Coast, Cuby & the Blizzards and Brainbox. George Baker acquired international fame with the songs Little Green Bag (1969), and "Una Paloma Blanca" (1975).
From the late 1960s the post war generation gained political influence. Many state subsidised rock venues opened all over the country. These clubs, like Amsterdam's Paradiso and Melkweg, were stepping stones for many alternative rock bands on their first European tour and the Dutch crowd stayed well informed about new British and American acts.
In the 70s some artists stood out. Herman Brood became the ultimate Rock 'n Roll icon. He even scored a hit in the US with Saturday Night. He became the epitome of the "rock'n'roll junkie" he sang about. As an artist he was in the media until his suicide in 2001. Other bands from the 70s: Gruppo Sportivo, Massada, Vitesse, Solution, the Nits, Focus and still Golden Earring with their greatest hit ever: 'Radar Love', also Top 10 in the US.
The late 70s and early 80s gave many one hit wonders and some bands that lasted longer. Female bands Luv' and Dolly Dots but also disco bands Spargo and Time Bandits were most successful. Together with the Golden Earring, which scored some of their biggest hits with 'Twilight zone' and 'When the lady smiles'. The Nits developed a large audience outside the Netherlands, including Finland, Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium, Greece and Canada and in 1989 were the first Dutch band to play in the (then still) Soviet Union. Urban Dance Squad was a cross-over band, combining hip-hop with funk and rock. The band's minor American success proved to be influential. Their music style (rapcore) influenced bands like Rage Against the Machine. Van Halen was created by Edward Van Halen who was of Dutch heritage.
Symphonic Rock and Hard Rock
The Netherlands are also known for symphonic metal bands such as Within Temptation, The Gathering, After Forever, Delain and Epica. They became successful in the late 90s and in the beginning of the new millennium. However, bands like Supersister and Kayak (who had a hit with Ruthless Queen) were already internationally successful in the 70s.
Similar, in the last decade of the previous century a more extreme variety of metal, death metal, have had some success. Bands like Gorefest, Pestilence, Asphyx and Sinister were well-known both in and outside Europe. At the present, bands like Legion of the Damned (band), Pyaemia, Maaswater Veenlijk and Severe Torture enjoy a similar status.
In the 80s Vandenberg was internationally successful.
Tedje en de Flikkers, a group of homosexuals ("flikkers" is Dutch for "faggots") from Nijmegen, was one of the most infamous punk formation of the Netherlands. They sprang from the left wing and gay movements that thrived in Nijmegen during the 70s and 80s. Their provocative performances (politically more than musically) often literally resulted in orgies of sex, drugs and noise. They existed only for three years (1977–1980).
Some bands create a kind of rock music sometimes called "Boerenrock" ('farmers rock'). These bands mix rock and pop music with regional influences, sometimes sung in the regional dialect, and lyrics influenced by life in rural areas. Examples include BZB (Band Zonder Banaan) and WC Experience from Noord-Brabant, Normaal and Jovink en de Voederbietels from Gelderland, Rowwen Hèze and Neet Oét Lottum from Limburg, Mooi Wark from Drenthe and Jitiizer from Friesland.
Musically, the music played by such bands can be described as a rowdy, straightforward style of rock music, inspired by bands such as ZZ Top, Motörhead, AC/DC and CCR. At other times, influences from pop music and folk music (for instance the case with Rowwen Hèze) can be heard.
Not rarely, these bands display a lot of humorous elements in their repertoire, lyrics and live performances. An example is the repertoire of the WC Experience, which contains cover songs from bands such as Queen, Guns 'n' Roses and Madness, only the lyrics are replaced by different, rather silly lyrics in their own dialect. Also, the name of 'Band Zonder Banaan' means "Band without a Banana", and is a humorous play on the name of a famous Dutch pop-band, BZN (Band Zonder Naam, or 'Band Without a Name'). The name "Jovink en de Voederbietels" is a contraction of the names of the two founding band members (Hendrik Jan Lovink en Gijs Jolink), and "voederbietel" is a Dutch word for a food trough on a farm.
Boerenrock bands tend to perform at local festivities and concerts in big tents in rural areas, rather than in concert halls in bigger cities. An event where a lot of Boerenrock music can be heard, and a famous event amongst Boerenrock bands and fans, is the yearly Zwarte Cross ('Black Motocross') which is organized by members of 'Jovink en de Voederbietels'. The event is a mixture of several motocross related activities and a rock festival.
The indie music scene in the Netherlands is mainly active in the four biggest cities Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht as well as the northern cities Groningen and Leeuwarden. Following below a brief overview of bands, organisations, venues, festivals that create and are connected to the Dutch scene.
In the 90s indie rock band Bettie Serveert was formed and independent record label Excelsior Recordings released albums of Dutch indie rock bands like Caesar, Ghost Trucker, Alamo Race Track, Johan, Spinvis, Gem, Bauer, Daryll-Ann, zZz and many others. After 2000 Voicst was formed and became popular after a beer commercial hit single for Heineken. After leaving Zoppo and forming Avec-A musician Yuri Landman received international attention as an experimental luthier for famous experimental rock bands. Dutch noise rock acts are The Ex, Gone Bald, The Moi Non Plus, Adept, Bonne Aparte, Feverdream. Post rock: We vs Death, Electro punk: Aux Raus. A cross media platform called Subbacultcha! hosts nights in venues where many international touring avant garde rockbands like Health, Enon, Miracle Fortress, Mahjongg, These Are Powers, Pre perform as well as local indie and noise rock acts like The Moi Non Plus, Bonne Aparte, Adept, Hospital Bombers, Pfaff. Subbacultcha! also publishes a musical magazine with interviews with the touring bands. In The Hague a yearly festival State-X New Forms happens in Paard van Troje.
Indie rock scene by city
- Amsterdam: Bands like The Ex, Bettie Serveert, Gone Bald, Caesar, Ghost Trucker, Zoppo, Voicst, zZz, experimental instrument builder Yuri Landman. A cross media platform called Subbacultcha! hosts nights in venues where many international touring avant garde rockbands like Health, Enon, Miracle Fortress, Mahjongg, These Are Powers, Pre perform as well as local indie and noise rock acts like The Moi Non Plus, Bonne Aparte, Adept, Hospital Bombers, Pfaff. Subbacultcha! also publishes a musical magazine with interviews with the touring bands. It also promotes Dutch bands at foreign festivals such as SxSW and Popkomm in Berlin  Venues that regularly showcase indie rock acts (local and touring bands): Paradiso, Melkweg, OCCII, De Nieuwe Anita, OT301, Bitterzoet, Studio K.
- Eindhoven: Music venue the Effenaar, bands: Stuurbaard Bakkebaard, Beukorkest, Peter Pan Speedrock
- Groningen: Music venues in Groningen are Vera, Groningen (nl) and Simplon, Groningen (nl). Label Subroutine Records. Yearly a prominent indie rock showcase festival calles Eurosonic takes place in Groningen. Venue Vera has a long tradition as a prominent underground spot and desired place for touring indie bands to play. Bands: Vox Von Braun
- Haarlem: Bands: the Sheer, venue: The Patronaat has two stages and a bar that occasionally also hosts live music.
- The Hague: A yearly festival State-X New Forms happens in Paard van Troje. Bands Fine Chine Superbone, Jobkiss.
- Leeuwarden: Suicidal Birds, Adept, Bonne Aparte and Academy for Pop Culture. Venues: Romeijn and Asteriks
- Nijmegen: The Legendary Pink Dots is an experimental rock band with a long tradition and connection with Nijmegen since they are based there since the mid 80s. Valkhof Festival (formerly known as Festival de Affaire) is a yearly festival featuring a line-up filled with international and national indie rock acts. Venues in Nijmegen are Doornroosje, Merleyn, De Onderbroek, and Extrapool.
- Rotterdam: Bands like Feverdream, Oil, Elle Bandita, Eklin, Rats on Rafts, Death Letters, Neon Rainbows, Bismuth. Since 1990 the Metropolis Pop Festival takes place yearly in July. In the years 2005-2011 the city struggled with venues for popmusic. Many of the venues suffered severe financial problems. This resulted in the disappearance of the major music venues Nighttown and WATT and smaller stages such as Waterfront, Exit, and Heidegger. Currently the city has a few venues for pop music like Rotown, Poortgebouw. The venue WORM and Roodkapje both focus on experimental music and related cutting edge subcultural music.
- Utrecht: Bands like Gem, Spinvis, We vs Death, Eins, Zwei Orchestra, and independent record label Beep! Beep! Back Up the Truck. Venues: Tivoli, Tivoli De Helling, EKKO, ACU, Kargadoor, DBs. A yearly November festival called Le Guess Who? takes place in Utrecht.
- We Are Pop Slags - Pop Atlas: The Netherlands
- Subbacultcha! on www.hypercustom.com
- http://issuu.com/subbacultcha Subbacultcha! publications on issuu.com