Dutch house, sometimes known as ‘Dirty Dutch,’ is an electro house genre that developed in the Netherlands. It gained popularity in 2009, thanks to Vato Gonzalez, Afrojack, and DJ Chuckie. It eventually became widely known because radio stations all over the world played it frequently.
The genre’s origins trace back to 1987. Then, a club named The Roxy opened in Amsterdam. It allowed Dutch DJs to experiment with their own kind of house music. This type of harsh euro house developed into its own sound over time.
Dutch dance culture’s rise has been nothing short of astounding. By 1988, DJs in the Netherlands received little attention. The media often portrayed them as carriers of a “terrible nothingness,” and house music as “empty music,” and “devoid of substance.” Now, fast forward to the mid-nineties, when House events like Thunderdome and Mysteryland emerged, and a new culture known as “gabber” spread throughout the world.
Spinnin’ Records, founded in Hilversum, Netherlands, in 1999, aided the emergence of Dutch house with releases by DJs such as Afrojack, Tiesto, and Blasterjaxx. Laidback Luke and his label Mixmash Records are also key figures in the growth and globalization of the genre.
Every year, DJ Mag, a British magazine dedicated to EDM and DJs, names the top 100 DJs in the world, with Tiesto, Armin van Buuren, and Martin Garrix receiving special attention in previous years. They are arguably three of the world’s most popular DJs, and they are all Dutch.
The Dutch House sound
Some of the most well-known examples of this style are Laidback Luke & Good Grip’s “Rocking with the Best”. The track, an early hit in the genre, features hip-hop lyrics and a pounding techno rhythm over a fluctuating high-frequency synth. Pitbull & Afrojack – “Maldito Alcohol” is another classic of the style. In this case, the traditional Dutch synth was lowered down in the mix to make place for Pitbull’s vocals. However, the beat and mood remain unmistakably Dutch.
The “Dirty Dutch” sound has a harder electronic edge than other commercial house genres. It features edgy drum machine beats, side-chained bass, 8-Bit computerized sounds, and lots of effects. The sound of Dutch house music is most often associated with high-frequency synthesizers, built around mellow bass lines and basic beats. Reggaeton rhythms are also prevalent.