Like many European countries, Netherlands is limited in size but boasts of a strong economy as well as global influence. Its per capita income is among the ten highest in the world and it is home to many world institutions, chief of which is The Hague. However its main asset seems to be a high quality of life and a high degree of social tolerance. Little wonder then that the richest Dutch individual is a woman, Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken, heiress to the beer giant with a net worth of $7.7 billion. Following her are the richest men in the Netherlands and a brief account of their source of wealth.$MM-DATING3-OPTIN$
- Frits Goldschmeding
With a net worth of $2.8 billion, Frits Goldschmeding is the richest man in the Netherlands and the second wealthiest citizen of the country, as of March 20121. The chief source of his fortune is the temporary employment company Randstad Holding that he founded back in 1960 one old bicycle, two student rooms and 500 Dutch guilders2. Flexible work was still a little-known phenomenon at that time, but Goldschmeding saw the flexibility could potentially play a much larger role in the labor market Goldschmeding took the company public in 1990, then merged Randstad with Dutch group Vedior in 2008 to form the world's second-largest temp agency in the world.
In April 2011 Goldschmeding stepped down as Vice Chairman even though he still owns 35 percent of the company. He is also a professor at the Centre for Entrepreneurship of the Nyenrode Business University. The 79 year old self-made billionaire is married and has three children. He lives in Amsterdam and is believed to enjoy sailing in his free time.
- John de Mol
The media tycoon John de Mol is next on the list of the richest Dutch men on the basis of a two billion dollar personal fortune. Pioneer of reality TV shows, De Mol made his fortune a founding investor in production company Endemol, which was behind hits such as Deal or No Deal, Fear Factor, and Big Brother. He sold Endemol to Spanish telecom giant Telefonica in 2000, but continued to serve as creative director until 2004. Also he has bought back into a small stake in the company since then. Apart from television, De Mol controls large private equity fund which owned significant shares of auto manufacturer Spyker Cars and telecommunications company Versatel.
John De Mol today is best known for the brains behind the hit singing competition The Voice. He first launched this as a new reality competition series, The Voice of Holland In 2010. It was an incredible success in the Netherlands and the formula was sold to several other countries around the globe. The Voice is now avidly followed in around 45 countries.
De Mol was formerly married to singer and actress Willeke Alberti. The actor Johnny de Mol is their son. The 57 year old is currently single and lives in Blaricum, Netherlands.
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- Hans Melchers
With a net worth of $1.5 billion, industrial magnate Hans Melchers is the next richest man in the Netherlands. Melchers built his fortune by founding the chemical company Melchemie Holland BV. He is now a major shareholder of HAL Trust, an international investment company based in the Netherlands Antilles.
The 74 year old self-made billionaire is divorced and is father of two children. Melchers has had a rocky personal life. In 2005, his 37 year old daughter, Claudia, was kidnapped. Despite a ransom being demanded as 660 pounds of cocaine, she was released unharmed two days later. The nature of the ransom and the consequence events led the press to insinuate that Melchers was himself somehow involved in the drug trade. Traumatized by the insinuations, the billionaire founded the Melchers Fund to provide financial aid to initiate lawsuits and legal aid to victims of slanderous media reports.
Melchers has long been an avid supporter of bridge in his country. Since the early 1990s until 2007, Melchers was a major sponsor of the Dutch Bridge Federation (NBB). In 2008 Melcher founded the Onstein semi-professional bridge association. Tournaments are held at his castle estate in the Dutch city of Vorden.
- Ralph Sonnenberg
The next man to figure on the list of wealthiest Dutch men is blinds baron Ralph Sonnenberg with a net worth of $1.4 billion. Sonnenberg is the CEO and owns more than 80 percent of the Hunter Douglas Group, a Netherlands company that makes window coverings and architectural products. Sonnenberg's father founded the group in 1919 as a machine-tool manufacturer, eventually developing new technology for the production of lightweight aluminium slats for Venetian blinds. Among the most high profile clients of Hunter Douglas Group is been the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai to which they supplied blinds and ceiling systems.
The 78 year old billionaire is married and has three children. Sons, Marko and David, also work for Hunter Douglas. Sonnenberg’s residence is a majestic castle set in the heart of Swiss mountains at Meggen.
- Joop Van Den Ende
With a net worth of $1.3 billion, TV mogul Joop Van Den Ende easily figures among the richest men of Netherlands. Another of the country’s media barons known to have popularized reality TV shows format Van den Ende co-founded the entertainment company Endemol In 1993 Van den Ende with then competitor John de Mol after the two combined the efforts of their respective TV companies. Endemol is the producer of popular TV formats such as Big Brother and is active in 25 countries on five continents. Eventually Endemol was sold to Spanish telecom giant Telefonica in 2000 for $5.3 billion.
From 2005 to 2008, Joop van den Ende was active in real estate development through Living City Property Performance, a joint venture with Trimp & Van Tartwijk. In April 2008 Van den Ende decided to end his involvement in Living City following a fraud investigation directed at his partners in the venture.
Currently with his business partner Hubert Deitmers, Van den Ende is active as an investor. Van den Ende & Deitmers Venture Capitalist Partners focuses on West European cross media companies via two venture capital funds with a total value of 150 million Euros.
However Van den Ende’s main passion remains theater in which he started out his career. He is the founder and owner of Stage Entertainment, a musical theater company that spun off from Endemol. Its U.S. division has won 46 Tony Awards on blockbuster musicals like The Lion King and Mamma Mia. He stepped down as chairman in 2008, but remains president of the supervisory board. In 2001 he established the Vandenende Foundation with his wife, Janine, creating one of the largest Dutch private funds. The Foundation supports a wide variety of activities in the arts, theatre, and education fields.