The 12 Famous Sailing Players in Netherlands of All Time

Matt Reynolds

The Netherlands is known for its excellent sailing culture, and the country has produced some of the most successful and celebrated sailing players in the world. From world champions to Olympic medallists, the Netherlands has a rich history of talented sailors.

From their successes in major regattas, to their contributions to the sport, the best sailing players in the Netherlands have earned their place in the top echelon of sailing.

In this article, we will explore the stories of the greatest sailing players from the Netherlands, and how they have made a significant impact on the sport.

1. Annemiek Bekkering

Annemiek Bekkering is a former Dutch competitive sailor and was an Olympic athlete at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

She competed in the women’s 49er FX event, which is a type of sailing boat used in the Olympic Games. After competing in the Olympics, Annemiek continued to sail competitively until 2021, when on November 29th she announced her retirement from professional sailing.

Annemiek had been training and competing for many years and had achieved numerous successes, such as winning a bronze medal in the women’s 49er FX event at the World Championships in 2014. Annemiek was a popular sailor and was well-liked for her positive attitude and enthusiasm.

She was an inspiration to many younger sailors and was regarded as a role model for her dedication and hard work.

Her retirement from professional sailing will be a big loss to the sport, however it is understandable that after many years of competing Annemiek felt the time was right to move on and pursue other interests.

Annemiek’s retirement marks the end of an extraordinary career in competitive sailing. Her commitment and dedication to the sport will be remembered and she will remain an inspiration to many aspiring sailors.

2. Herbert Dercksen

Herbert Willem Constant Dercksen is a sailor from the Netherlands who made history in 1996 by representing his country for the first time in the Summer Olympics in Savannah.

Serving as the crew in the Dutch Tornado alongside Ron van Teylingen who helmed the boat, Dercksen and his team placed 9th overall. After an eight-year break, Dercksen returned to the Olympics in 2004 in Athens, where he competed alongside van Teylingen again.

His participation in the Olympic Games marked a milestone for Dutch sailing, and his performance made an impression on the world.

Throughout his career, Dercksen was an example of passion and dedication to the sport, inspiring many other Dutch sailors to follow in his footsteps.

3. Lobke Berkhout

Lobke Berkhout is an accomplished sailor from the Netherlands. She was selected to be part of her country’s Olympic team at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Qingdao, China.

As part of the Dutch sailing team, she was paired with helmsman Marcelien de Koning to compete in the Women’s 470 event. The pair sailed to a silver medal finish, the highest accolade they could have achieved.

Four years later, Berkhout was once again selected to compete at the Olympic level. This time, the regatta was held in Weymouth, England. Once again in the 470 event, Berkhout was part of the Dutch team, this time as the crew member.

Although the team was unable to repeat their success from the previous Olympics, Berkhout was still able to represent her country on the world stage.

4. Marcelien Bos-De Koning

Marcelien Bos-de Koning is a renowned Dutch sports sailor, who has achieved significant success in her career. She is a three-time world champion and holds an Olympic silver medal. In 2008, she represented the Netherlands at the Summer Olympics in Qingdao.

During the Women’s 470 sailing event, Bos-de Koning competed as helmsman with crew member Lobke Berkhout. Through their combined efforts, the duo was able to secure a silver medal finish.

Bos-de Koning has become an inspirational figure in the Dutch sailing community, and her success is a testament to her hard work and dedication. She continues to serve as a mentor to young sailors, sharing her experience and knowledge to help them reach their goals.

Her accomplishments have earned her the respect of her peers and admirers alike.

5. Johan Hin

Johannes “Johan” Jozef Antonius Hin was a sailor from the Netherlands who represented his nation at the 1920 Summer Olympics, held in Ostend, Belgium.

During the second race of the Olympic event, a crucial part of the course, known as a “mark”, was shifting due to the strong winds and currents. As a result, the race had to be cancelled and no medals were awarded.

The incident was a huge blow to Hin and the Dutch team, as it denied them the chance to compete in the second race and potentially win a medal. Hin had been in a good position to win a medal in the event, as he had finished in the top three of the first race.

The team was understandably frustrated by the outcome, as they had trained hard and had high hopes of victory. The experience was a difficult one for Hin and his team, but it did not stop him from going on to have a successful sailing career.

He later became a professional sailor, and even competed at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris. Although he did not win a medal in that event, he went on to become a respected sailor in the Netherlands.

Johan Hin’s Olympic experience was a demonstration of his resilience and dedication to the sport of sailing. Despite the disappointment of the abandoned race, he was able to put it behind him and continue on with his career.

His story is an inspiration to anyone who has ever experienced a setback in their life, and serves as a reminder that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible.

6. Marcel van de Veen

Marcel van de Veen is a Dutch sailor who has achieved great success in the Paralympic Games. He first competed in the 2004 Paralympic Games, where he won a silver medal in the three-person keelboat event.

His success continued in 2012, when he won a gold medal in the same event, the Sonar. Van de Veen was born in the Netherlands and his passion for sailing began at a very young age.

He took part in many competitions as a child, and it was this experience that led him to the Paralympic Games. He has a passion for sailing and is dedicated to making the sport reach new heights. Van de Veen’s success has not come without hard work.

He has trained extensively to become a successful sailor, and has dedicated his time to developing his skills. His passion for sailing is evident in his many accomplishments, and his success in the Paralympic Games is a testament to his hard work and dedication.

Marcel van de Veen is an example of an athlete who has dedicated himself to the pursuit of excellence. He has achieved great success in the Paralympic Games, and his dedication to the sport of sailing is an inspiration to others.

His achievements have been an important part of the Paralympic Games, and he is a role model for many aspiring sailors.

7. Udo Hessels

Udo Hessels is a Dutch sailor who has had a remarkable career in the Paralympic Games. He has competed in four Paralympic Games throughout his career, displaying his skill and determination. In 2004, he won a silver medal in the three person keelboat event, the Sonar.

Eight years later, in 2012, he was able to achieve the highest honor, a gold medal, also in the same event. His success and commitment to the sport of sailing has proven to be invaluable, and makes him a notable athlete in the Paralympic world.

8. Carolijn Brouwer

Carolijn Mariëlle Brouwer is a Dutch sailor who made her Olympic debut in 2000 at the Sydney Summer Games. She was the helmsman of the Dutch boat, with Alexandra Verbeek as crew.

Brouwer and Verbeek achieved a 13th place finish in the Women’s 470 event. Brouwer is a highly experienced sailor, having competed in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics and the 1998 and 2002 World Championships.

She has also won a number of medals at the European Championships, including gold in the 470 class in 2008. She is considered one of the most successful female Dutch sailors of all time. Brouwer is an inspiration to young sailors around the world.

She has been a role model for young Dutch sailors, encouraging them to follow their dreams and reach for the stars. Brouwer’s story of success shows that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible.

9. Sjoerd Vollebregt

Sjoerd Steven Vollebregt is a Dutch sailor who competed in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Kingston, Ontario. He was accompanied by his twin brother, Erik Vollebregt, who acted as the helmsman. Together, they represented the Netherlands in the Sailing event at the Olympic Games.

At the end of the competition, Sjoerd and Erik achieved a 14th place finish, demonstrating their sailing prowess and competitive spirit. Sjoerd and Erik’s participation in the 1976 Summer Olympics marked a significant milestone in their sailing careers.

It was a unique opportunity for the brothers to test their skills on the international stage and to represent the Netherlands. Throughout the competition, they worked together as a team, with Sjoerd in the role of the sailor and Erik as the helmsman.

Through their determination and hard work, they achieved a respectable result. The Vollebregt brothers’ performance at the 1976 Summer Olympics was an inspiration to many in the Netherlands.

Their impressive result demonstrated the country’s potential in sailing and helped to encourage future generations of Dutch sailors. The Vollebregt brothers set a high standard for Dutch sailors and their legacy continues to this day.

10. Ben Kouwenhoven

Ben Kouwenhoven is a sailor from the Netherlands who has had a successful sailing career. He represented his country at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona and took part in the Dutch Men’s 470 with his twin brother Jan Kouwenhoven as crew.

The pair finished in 16th place overall. Four years later, Kouwenhoven returned to the Olympics in Savannah, Georgia, ready to compete once more. He is a dedicated and passionate sailor, and it is evident in his results.

He is a role model to aspiring sailors from the Netherlands and beyond, showing that with dedication and hard work, anything is possible.

11. Mark Neeleman

Mark Jacobus Louis Neeleman is a sailor from the Netherlands. He was born in the Netherlands, and has been sailing since a young age.

His hometown is located in the West Frisian Islands, where he began his sailing career. In 1980, the Netherlands decided to boycott the Moscow Olympic Games due to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.

As a result, Neeleman was chosen to represent his National Olympic Committee at the Summer Olympics in Tallinn, USSR.

He was the first and only Dutch athlete to participate in the Olympics in the USSR, and flew the Dutch NOC flag during the Games. Despite the boycott, Neeleman was determined to make a statement and show his country’s support for the Olympic Games.

He was proud to be able to represent the Netherlands, and hoped to show the world that the Dutch Olympic Committee still cared about the Olympic Movement.

He also wanted to show that the Dutch athletes were still dedicated to competing and striving for excellence. Neeleman’s performance at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Tallinn was impressive.

He finished fourth in the sailing event, and was the only Dutch athlete to place in the top ten. His performance was a testament to his skill and dedication as a sailor, and an example to other athletes of what can be achieved even in the face of boycotts and adversity.

12. Jan Kouwenhoven

Jan Kouwenhoven is a sailor from the Netherlands who had the opportunity to represent his country at two Olympic Games. At the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Kouwenhoven competed in the Dutch Men’s 470 sailing event with his twin brother Ben Kouwenhoven as helmsman.

They achieved a commendable 16th place. Four years later, in 1996, Kouwenhoven returned to the Olympics in Savannah, Georgia. This was a testament to his skill and dedication to the sport of sailing.

Despite the difficulties of competing at the highest level, Kouwenhoven was able to be successful and proudly represent the Netherlands at the Olympic Games.


The Netherlands is home to some of the best sailing players in the world. With the country’s rich maritime history and its many sailing clubs, it’s no wonder that Dutch sailing athletes are some of the best in the sport.

Their impressive record in international competitions and their commitment to the sport have earned them the respect of fellow sailors around the world. With the right conditions, the Netherlands may soon become the sailing nation of choice.

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Matt Reynolds

As a sports journalist and news reporter, my passion lies in covering Olympic sports and bringing the excitement of these events to readers around the world. With extensive experience in sports reporting, I have developed a deep understanding of the intricacies and dynamics of various Olympic disciplines. My goal as a journalist is to provide accurate, insightful, and engaging coverage of Olympic sports. From capturing the triumphs and challenges of athletes to analyzing their performances and strategies, I strive to deliver comprehensive stories that resonate with sports enthusiasts. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to journalistic integrity, I aim to go beyond mere reporting by delving into the human stories behind the athletes. By highlighting their journeys, sacrifices, and aspirations, I seek to create meaningful connections between readers and the world of Olympic sports. Whether it's track and field, swimming, gymnastics, or any other Olympic sport, I am dedicated to delivering timely news updates, captivating features, and thought-provoking analysis. Through my writing, I aim to inspire readers with the incredible feats accomplished by athletes on the global stage. Join me on this exhilarating journey as we dive into the world of Olympic sports together. Let's celebrate athleticism at its finest while uncovering compelling stories that showcase both triumphs and tribulations. Together, we can experience firsthand the thrill of sporting excellence in all its glory through my dedicated coverage as a passionate sports journalist and news reporter specializing in Olympic sports.