Liesbeth List

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Liesbeth List
Liesbeth List.jpg
Background information
Birth nameElisabeth Dorathea Driessen
Born (1941-12-12) 12 December 1941 (age 78)
Bandoeng, Dutch East Indies
GenresChanson, pop
Occupation(s)Singer, actress
Years active1962-present
Associated actsJacques Brel

Elisabeth Dorathea List, generally known as Liesbeth List (born December 12, 1941) is a Dutch singer, stage actress and television personality. She became popular during the 1960s and frequently collaborated with Ramses Shaffy. She also sang Jacques Brel's chansons in Dutch translation.


Early life[edit]

She was born in Bandoeng, Dutch East Indies (present-day Indonesia), as Elisabeth "Elly" Dorathea Driessen. Her parents were separated in 1942, when during the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies, her father was forced to work in coal mines. List and her mother were sent to one of the many camps set up exclusively to contain Dutch occupants of Indonesia; such camps were known under the Dutch nickname "jappenkamp" (Jap-Camp). The circumstances in which List and her mother lived in the camp were very hard on her mother, who developed depression. Four years later, the Netherlands freed the East Indies of the Japanese occupation and List and her mother were set free. They were reunited with their father and husband, but a few weeks later, List's mother committed suicide. List and her father returned to the Netherlands, where her father remarried. His new wife, however, frequently clashed with List. At the age of seven, child's services took List away. It was thought List's father was deceased, and she was placed in an orphanage. After it was revealed List's father was still alive, she was placed back with her father and stepmother.

In 1948, during a trip to Dutch island Vlieland, List's stepmother was told that the owner of a hotel on Vlieland and his wife were seeking to adopt a child. Liesbeth List was subsequently given up by her father and adopted by this couple, whose surname was List.

1958-68: television, theatre and music[edit]

As a teenager, List was very interested in culture and music. She moved to Amsterdam in 1959, aged 18, where she did a fashion study and had a job as a secretary. She appeared in AVRO talent show "Nieuwe Oogst", after which she was signed to collaborate with legendary Dutch singer Ramses Shaffy (1933–2009) in theatre show Shaffy Chantant.[1] They first started this show, in which they performed well-known chansons, in 1964. In 1965, the duo was awarded the Europe Cup for Best Singing Performance in Knokke, Belgium. This caused List to focus on a musical career and to release her debut album in 1966. In 1967, Mikis Theodorakis asked her to collaborate on an LP of his Mauthausen Ballad, describing the persecution of Jews during the Second World War in dramatic chansons. The LP was a critical and commercial success. List was also successful with an LP containing cover versions of songs by Jacques Brel: the LP was certified gold.

1969-90: expanded career[edit]

Liesbeth List in 1970

In 1969, List was awarded a press prize at a television festival in Montreux. The prize was awarded to her for her contribution in a television series. This foreign acclaim caused List to focus more on international success. She started recording more cover versions of well-known artists, such as Gilbert Bécaud. List's success continued with the release of more LPs and a continued acting career in television, film and stage. In 1972 she made with the American singer, songwriter Rod McKuen an album: 'Two against the morning'. In 1973 she recorded in England the album: 'Meet lovely Liesbeth List.' Her album: 'Liesbeth List sings Jacques Brel' is in 1972 released in the USA. In 1976 she recorded an album with songs of Charles Aznavour 'Charles Aznavour presents: Liesbeth List'. She sang with him the duet: 'Don't say a word.'

She took a short break when she became pregnant with her first child; she and husband Robert Braaksma had a daughter, Elisah, in 1983, when List was 41. List ceased her activities to care for her child for six years. Hence in 1988, List made her return to the public eye, starring in a theatre programme titled "List NU". In 1990, she started another, similar show, but it gained neither critical or commercial success, causing List to accept her career had ended.


Producer Frank Boeijen revived List's career. She released three more albums since she first contacted him. She was also approached by Albert Verlinde to star in his musical about Edith Piaf's life, which she has been doing since 1999. In 2009 she released a new CD called "Verloren & Gewonnen".


  • Liesbeth List 1966
  • Liesbeth List Sings Theodorakis 1967
  • Pastorale 1968
  • Zingt Jacques Brel, Phillips Netherlands 849 010 PY, 1969
  • Victoria 1970
  • Neuremberger Droom 1971
  • Two against the morning Philips Records 1972
  • Meet lovely Liesbeth List Philips Records 1973
  • Foto 1974
  • Samen (met Ramses Shaffy) 1976
  • Charles Aznavour presents: Liesbeth List Philips Records 1976
  • Madame Melancholie 1977
  • Meisjes van Dertig 1979
  • Voor vanavond en daarna 1982
  • List 1994
  • Noach 1996
  • Vergezicht 1999
  • Van Shaffy tot Piaf 2001
  • Heb het leven lief 2001
  • Portret 2002
  • Carre Vedetten Gala 2006
  • Verloren en Gewonnen 2009


  • Verburg, Alex Het voorlopige leven van Liesbeth List, published by Archipel 2001, ISBN 90-6305-010-0 (Dutch language)
  • Verburg, Alex Intiem. De herinneringen van Liesbeth List, published by Witsand/ Archipel, 2010, ISBN 90-6305-574-9 (Dutch language)
  • Dave Boomkens, Liesbeth List, de dochter van de vuurtorenwachter, published by Luitingh-Sijthoff, 2017. ISBN 978-90-245-7567-1 (Dutch language)


  1. ^ Birchmeier, Jason. "Ramses Shaffy". Allmusic. Retrieved 22 August 2011.

External links[edit]