6 Best Wrestling Players in Netherlands of All Time

Liam Rooney

The Netherlands has a proud wrestling tradition, with some of the best wrestlers in the world hailing from this small European country. From European champions to Olympic medalists, Dutch wrestlers have made a name for themselves on the international stage.

These athletes have used their skills and determination to blaze a trail in the competitive world of wrestling. In this article, we will take a look at some of the best wrestlers from the Netherlands and their accomplishments.

1. Jessica Blaszka

Jessica Blaszka is an accomplished Dutch wrestler who specialized in the 48 kg weight class. She has had an impressive career, earning a bronze medal at the World Wrestling Championships and two medals from the European Wrestling Championships.

This has made her one of the most successful wrestlers to come out of the Netherlands. Jessica has been wrestling for a number of years and has competed in multiple weight classes.

She has consistently demonstrated her skill and strength by achieving top placements in various tournaments. At the World Wrestling Championships, she earned a bronze medal in her weight class, a testament to her strong technique and unwavering determination.

She followed this success with two medals from the European Wrestling Championships, further cementing her legacy as a talented wrestler. Since her retirement, Jessica Blaszka has been an inspiration to aspiring wrestlers in the Netherlands.

Her accomplishments have earned her a place of honor in the history of Dutch wrestling, and she is a reminder of what can be achieved through hard work and dedication. Her legacy will surely live on for years to come.

2. Wim Ruska

Willem “Wim” Ruska was an exceptionally talented athlete from the Netherlands. He had a successful career in both judo and professional wrestling.

He made history at the 1972 Olympics when he became the first athlete to win gold medals in both the heavyweight and absolute categories.

This was a tremendous accomplishment that few have been able to replicate. Ruska had a deep understanding and passion for judo, which allowed him to excel in the sport. He was a formidable competitor and was often feared by his opponents.

He was also well-known for his amazing strength and agility on the mat. As a professional wrestler, Ruska maintained his dominance in the ring. He was very skilled and often put on exciting matches that captivated audiences. Ruska’s accomplishments and legacy continue to live on.

As the first athlete to win two gold medals in one Olympics, his feat has yet to be matched. He is an inspiration to many aspiring judokas and wrestlers and is remembered for his sportsmanship, strength, and dedication.

3. Anton Geesink

Antonius Johannes Geesink was a remarkable figure in judo. He was a Dutch man who achieved a 10th dan rank, the highest possible rank in judo.

This made him one of the most respected judokas in the world. Geesink was the first non-Japanese judoka to win gold at the World Judo Championships. This was an incredible accomplishment, as Japan had long been the dominant force in the sport.

In 1961, Geesink won gold at the World Judo Championships, setting a new precedent for non-Japanese judokas.

He followed this up in 1965 by winning gold again, cementing his place in judo history. Geesink’s accomplishments are even more remarkable when one considers that he had to overcome cultural and linguistic barriers to achieve success in a sport dominated by the Japanese.

Despite this, he was able to triumph and become one of the most successful judokas of all time. Geesink’s legacy continues to live on today, as he has become an inspiration to many non-Japanese judokas who aspire to follow in his footsteps.

4. Barend Bonneveld

Barend Bonneveld was a Dutch wrestler, renowned for his prowess in the heavyweight division. He trained and competed in the Greco-Roman style of wrestling, which is characterized by holds that restrict the opponent’s use of their legs.

He was a successful competitor, having represented his country at the 1912 and 1920 Summer Olympics. At the 1912 Games, he finished in sixth place in the heavyweight class, while at the 1920 Olympics, he was eliminated in the quarterfinals.

Throughout his career, Bonneveld was a dominant force in the sport of wrestling and was highly respected by his peers and the international community. His legacy as an Olympic athlete and heavyweight wrestler will continue on for many years to come.

5. Johannes van Maaren

Johannes van Maaren was a Dutch athlete who specialized in the sport of wrestling.

He had the honor of representing his country at the Summer Olympic Games three times, participating in 1920, 1924, and 1928. In 1920, van Maaren competed in the middleweight class of the Greco-Roman wrestling tournament.

He had a strong showing, eventually taking the bronze medal and his first Olympic medal. This was a major accomplishment for van Maaren and his country. Four years later, van Maaren returned to the Olympics in 1924.

This time he was competing in the heavyweight class of the Greco-Roman tournament.

Although he did not medal, van Maaren still put up a good fight and demonstrated his great skill as a wrestler. In 1928, van Maaren was back and competing in the heavyweight class of the Greco-Roman tournament.

He had another strong performance, but unfortunately, it was not enough to earn him a medal this time. Despite this, van Maaren’s dedication to the sport of wrestling and his country were admirable. Overall, Johannes van Maaren had a long and successful career as a wrestler.

He earned a bronze medal at the 1920 Summer Olympics and competed in two more Olympic Games. He will certainly be remembered for his dedication and skill in the sport of wrestling.

6. Jacob van Moppes

Jacob van Moppes was a Dutch athlete who made an impact on the world of wrestling. He competed in the men’s Greco-Roman lightweight division at the 1908 Summer Olympics, showing an impressive level of skill and dedication.

Sadly, he never got to witness the success of his efforts, as he was killed in the Sobibor extermination camp during World War II.

His death was a tragedy, and it was a stark reminder of the horrors of war. Jacob was born in Holland, and his skill in wrestling was evident from a young age.

He was determined to make a name for himself in the world of athletics, and his dedication paid off when he qualified for the 1908 Summer Olympics.

He competed in the men’s Greco-Roman lightweight division, and while he didn’t win a medal, his impressive performance was still remembered. Unfortunately, Jacob did not live long enough to see his legacy live on in the world of wrestling.

During World War II, he was taken to the Sobibor extermination camp, where he was killed by the Nazis.

His death was a tragedy, and it was a reminder of the devastating impact of the war on innocent lives. Jacob van Moppes was a talented Dutch athlete who made a mark on the world of wrestling, despite not winning a medal at the Olympics.

His efforts were remembered by those who saw him compete, but his life was tragically cut short by the horrors of war. His death serves as a reminder of the devastating power of war, and its impact on innocent lives.


The best wrestling players in the Netherlands have set a high bar for the sport in their country. They are a testament to the hard work and dedication that goes into the sport. They have achieved success through their determination, commitment, and skill.

Their accomplishments serve as an inspiration to all those looking to pursue the sport in the Netherlands.

Photo of author

Liam Rooney

Recent Florida International University graduate with a passion for journalism and a focus on sports, especially in wrestling. Recognized with a 3rd place award in the Society of Professional Journalist's Green Eyeshade awards for outstanding coverage of FIU men's soccer. Experienced in local news, breaking stories, and community reporting from an internship at the Palm Beach Post. Hosted and produced a radio show, adept at creating video packages. Eager to embrace diverse journalistic opportunities beyond sports, bringing a versatile skill set and a relentless drive for excellence to the field.