Dutch inventions that changed the world

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With “Dutch Design Week” coming to Eindhoven from the 22nd – 30th of October, we wanted to share 5 inventions which we can thank a creative Dutch inventor for.

1. Atlas

Photo by Andrew Neel

Before satellites, there were cartographers who with a steady hand and understanding of surveying gave a very accurate picture of continents’ coastal lines. Known for writing the first atlas in 1548 was Abraham Otellius, born in Antwerp, which then was part of the Netherlands. We can thank an Amsterdammer cartographer by the name of Willem Blaue, nearly 100 years after Otellius, for the first published atlas.

2. Orange Carrots

Photo by Pixabay

When you see purple, white, or yellow carrots, don’t think that those are the genetically modified ones. The orange carrots are the science test gone global by the Dutch growers back in the 17th century. The purpose for making carrots orange is thought to have been a tribute to Willian of Orange, who led the struggle of the Dutch independence.

3. Submarine

Photo by Arjanne Burger

“We leven allemaal in een gele onderzeeer” thanks to Dutch inventor Cornelis Drebbel. Drebbel was serving in the British Navy under James I of England, when he designed and built the first submarine in 1620. It is said to have been made of greased leather stretched over a wooden frame.

4. Thermometer

Photo by Jessica Lewis Creative

It’s funny that Dutch use Celcius to measure the temperature, when the inventor of the alcohol and mercury thermometer was a Polish-born Dutchman by the name of Daniel Fahrenheit. He spent most of his life in The Hague, manufacturing precision meteorological instruments and studying physics. He was the first to record the temperature at which water freezes and boils.

5. WiFi

Photo by Burst

In 1997 Victor Hayes (known as the father of WiFi) developed the first set of wireless networking standards known as the IEEE 802.11 aka WiFi. This launched a multi-billion dollar industry of wireless and high-data-transfer rate communications. The WiFi we use today however, is credited to Australian inventor Dr. John O’Sullivan and his team.

Discover more fun facts about Dutch culture with our blogs.

There are many more inventions and innovations which we can credit the discovery and creation of to Dutch nationals. What is your favorite Dutch invention?



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