In 1987, a club called The Roxy opened up Amsterdam, creating a venue for Dutch DJs to experiment with their own brand of house music. The Dutch style of hard euro house gradually evolved into a distinct sound of its own. In 1999, Spinnin Records was launched in Hilversum, Netherlands, and while it has never focused on any single style of dance music, the iconic label would go on to foster the rise of Dutch house with releases by DJs like Afrojack, Tiësto, and Blasterjaxx. Laidback Luke and his label Mixmash Records are also considered important players in the development and global adoption of Dutch house.
Detroit techno became hugely popular in 90s Netherlands dance culture, and would go on to figure prominently in the Dutch house sound. Dutch house also borrows lyrical elements from hip hop as well as rhythmic elements from Latin and tribal house.
High-frequency synths are probably the most commonly identified sounds of Dutch house. Mellow bass lines and simple beats provide the bed for a lot of the tracks. Reggaeton rhythms feature prominently in Dutch house.
Laidback Luke & Good Grip – “Rocking with the Best”
Hip hop vocals and a pounding techno beat over wavering high frequency synth make “Rocking with the Best” an early Dutch house classic.
Chuckie & LMFAO – “Let The Bass Kick in Miami Bitch”
The synth sound that came to be well known in the Dirty Dutch style is right up front in “Let The Bass Kick in Miami Bitch”.
Pitbull & Afrojack – “Maldito Alcohol”
Miami & Amsterdam, 2010
Afrojack has the classic Dutch synth pulled down in the mix to leave room for Pitbull’s vocals, but the beat and feel of this track is still very Dutch house.
Afrojack & Eva Simons – “Take Over Control”
A very pop-influenced version of Dutch House featuring Eva Simons vocals overtop a classic Dutch House track by Afrojack.
Vato Gonzalez – “Take This Higher”
Vato Gonzalez adds a Latin flavour to this track creating a sound that veers towards Latin House, but still has the distinctive synth sound.
Blasterjaxx & Timmy Trumpet – “Narco”
The Hague, 2017
Dutch duo Blasterjaxx does a high energy Dutch house tune highlighted by the call-and-response between a trumpet and big room synth.
Vato Gonzalez – “Bump & Grind (Bassline Riddim)”
One of the creators of Dutch house composes a fresh track that reaches back to the past for its synth sound and Latin influences but blasts forward with great drops and a slick production.