Top 6 Dutch inventions 


Did you know, that the Dutch eat the most licorice in the world? Or that their men are considered some of the tallest in the world? The low-lying country that sits below the sea level, has extremely amazing things to see, like the millions of bicycles, the flowers, the beer, the windmills, and even gin, but this country is also a country of many firsts. Apart from the fact that they turned the famous carrot from white, yellow and purple, to the orange color we know now, the country has some of the most magnificent inventions that have changed the world! One of these inventions is the stock market! Yes, the stock market was a Dutch idea, meant to fund the Dutch East India Company, and also it is the country that came up with the Fairtrade Certification.

Read on to know what else came from the beautiful Netherlands.

1. The Olympic Flame

Image: Wikimedia Commons


During the start of every Olympic ceremony, there is a flame that is lit. The tradition was designed accidentally in Amsterdam by Jan Wils in 1928, who was meant to design a building with smoke coming out of it! Then in Berlin in 1936, an athlete entered the stadium carrying the now symbolic torch with a flame. It has since become the symbol of the Olympic games. The torch is meant to also show continuity between the ancient and modern games. Fire in itself has been an important part of the Olympics since its first ones in Greece where legend believes that a flame was lit by the sun, and it did not die until the Olympics ended! The modern Olympic Torch is lit a few months before the start of a new Olympic event and stays that way to the end. Very interesting!

2. Cassettes and CDS/ DVDs

Image: Wikipedia

The world has enjoyed music recording and even video recording through items such as Cassettes and DVs which were invented in the Netherlands. Phillips, the giant tech company, came up with the compact cassette technology through its brilliant inventor Lou Ottens. The cassette is an audio recording and playback item which uses a magnetic tape recording format. It was invented in 1962 and has been adapted all over the world as a recording tool. Joop Sinjou and Kees Schouhamer are credited as inventors of the compact disk, whose design- with the hole in the middle is inspired by the Dutch 10 cent coin!

3. The speed camera

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Fast drivers, yes the people who might have no regard for speed limits might not like to know this, that the speed camera is a Dutch invention. The camera works in such a way that it captures the speed of a vehicle. The Dutch rally driver Maurice Gastonides made the first speedometer in the 1950s which recorded the speed of a vehicle when it stepped on some pneumatic rubber tubes which activated the chronometer. The idea behind it was to enable rally and race drivers to increase their speed, but it has been used by police to help regulate the speed with motorists! It was then that he invented the Gastometer BV, which led to the invention of the Gasto speed camera in 1964, used by a lot of traffic police in the world today, as well as the incorporation of the radar, in 1971! Now, this invention has been modified over time to include the ability to record the data digitally and not on fil, as well as record car number plates and even record other traffic offenses!

4. The telescope and microscope

Image: Wikipedia Commons

Need to see far, far away, some things that out of this world? Chances are high that you will pick up one of these. But did you know that they are German inventions? Hans Lippershey patented a refracting telescope in 1608 which was able to gather light. The Dutch eyeglass maker Hans’ idea spread throughout Europe and was adopted by the likes of Galileo who made improvements in 1909 and was able to view objects far away! Even though it is not clear whether he was the first person to make the telescope, it was through him that the invention was known and used, and obtained a patent for it. The ability to see things in a magnified manner was enhanced by Zacharias Janssen, who invented the microscope around 1590. He noticed that putting a lens on the top and bottom side of the tube enabled someone to see a magnified image of an object. Now, the microscope has used the world over and for very many things!

5. The eye-test

Image: Metro

This is an interesting innovation! The good old eye-test, which I bet no one ever thinks about the origin. usually, when one goes to see an eye doctor, he or she is asked to read out letters or numbers written in different fonts and sizes, also known as optotypes. The person is meant to cover one eye and use the other to see the symbols from about 6 meters away, to measure visual acuity. It looks like an obvious thing now, at this age, but did you know that in 1862, a Dutch ophthalmologist Herman-Snellen came up with the chart in 1862, that is why, the chart is named after him, and if you did not know, the chart is named after him- the Snellen Chart!

6. The Submarine

Image: Wikipedia

Cornelius Drebbel is the man credited with the invention of the submarine, a vessel that could travel underwater, mostly used during the war. The Dutch polymath was then employed by the English Royal Navy as per the instruction of King James I and used the River Thames to do a test for the submarine, which was made of wood, propelled by oars, and had leather covering it. The submarine has come a long way in its development in 1620, as it has been modified over time. The prototypes were done by an Englishman William Bourne in 1578, as a submerged boat. The designs were not implemented until the first one, with modifications that were done and tested by Drebbel.