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Tatyana Afanasyeva

Tatyana Alexeyevna Afanasyeva was a Russian/Dutch mathematician and physicist who made significant contributions to statistical mechanics. Despite the limitations imposed on women at the time, she pursued her education and eventually settled in Leiden, where she collaborated with her husband, Paul Ehrenfest, and made groundbreaking advancements in the field. Her work attracted the attention of renowned physicist Albert Einstein, solidifying her legacy in the scientific community.

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NetherlandsActivist

Caecilia Loots

Caecilia Antonia Maria “Cilia” Loots, also known as “Tante Ciel,” was a Dutch teacher and antifascist resistance member, who gained recognition for her heroic efforts in saving Jewish children during World War II.

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NetherlandsJewishWriter

Anne Frank

Annelies Marie Frank, better known as Anne Frank, was a German-born Jewish girl who became one of the most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Born in 1929 in Frankfurt, Germany, Anne and her family eventually moved to Amsterdam, seeking refuge from Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party’s control over Germany. In her diary, Anne documented the challenges, fears, and small joys that came from living in hiding during Nazi persecution. Tragically, she and her sister Margot died in a concentration camp in 1945. Anne’s diary has since become one of the world’s best-known books, ensuring that her story and the stories of countless others who suffered during the Holocaust are never forgotten.

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NetherlandsMartial Artist

Marhinde Verkerk

Marhinde Verkerk, born on November 21, 1985, in Rotterdam, is a renowned Dutch judoka who competed in the 78 kg weight class. She has left an indelible mark on the world of judo, becoming a world champion and inspiring generations of athletes through her dedication and prowess on the mat.

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NetherlandsMartial Artist

Edith Bosch

Edith Bosch, born in Den Helder in 1980, is a retired judoka from the Netherlands. With an exceptional career that includes world and European championships, Bosch’s story is one of resilience and determination. Her success in judo and her ability to balance her athletic pursuits with academics make her an inspiring figure for aspiring athletes, particularly young women.

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NetherlandsMartial Artist

Irene de Kok

Irene de Kok, a retired Judoka from the Netherlands, had a remarkable career in the sport. With multiple world and European championships under her belt, as well as an Olympic bronze medal, she made her mark as one of the top judo athletes of her time. Her talent and determination continue to inspire aspiring judokas worldwide.

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NetherlandsComputer ScientistEducator

Mihaela van der Schaar

Mihaela van der Schaar is a renowned scientist and academic who has made significant contributions to the fields of machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and medicine. She currently holds the position of John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Machine Learning, AI, and Medicine at the University of Cambridge, where she also serves as the director of the Cambridge Centre for AI in Medicine (CCAIM). Additionally, she holds the position of Chancellor’s Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

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NetherlandsActivistGovernment

Annelien Kappeyne van de Coppello

Annelien Kappeyne van de Coppello, born on October 24, 1936, was a Dutch politician who dedicated her career to championing women’s rights and progressive causes. She made significant contributions to Dutch politics and was known for her advocacy for social justice issues. Her tireless work continues to inspire women and activists worldwide.

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NetherlandsDancerSpy

Mata Hari

Mata Hari, born Margaretha Geertruida MacLeod, was a Dutch exotic dancer and courtesan who gained fame as a spy for Germany during World War I. Despite her captivating performances and scandalous relationships, she was ultimately convicted and executed. Mata Hari’s life and tragic fate have left a lasting legacy as the original femme fatale.

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NetherlandsHandball

Lois Abbingh

Lois Abbingh, born in 1992, is a Dutch professional handball player known for her exceptional skills and talent. She has represented the Netherlands in various prestigious tournaments, including the World Women’s Handball Championships and the European Women’s Handball Championship, where she has helped her team secure medals. Abbingh has also achieved success at the club level, winning titles in the Danish Handball League and other competitions. Her outstanding contributions to the sport have earned her numerous accolades and cemented her place in the history of women’s handball.

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NetherlandsEngineer

Maria Elisabeth Bes

Maria Elisabeth Stellwag-Bes, a remarkable Dutch chemical engineer and city councillor, made significant contributions to her field and fought for women’s rights. Born in 1882 in Tilburg, Netherlands, she became the first woman in the Netherlands to receive an engineering diploma. Her achievements broke barriers and inspired other women to pursue careers in STEM fields. She also played a vital role in the establishment of the national Liberal Democratic Women’s Club, advocating for women’s suffrage and equal representation in politics. Her determination and commitment to equality continue to inspire women worldwide.

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NetherlandsMarathon RunnerSwimmer

Judith van Berkel-de Nijs

Judith van Berkel-de Nijs is a Dutch swimmer known for her achievements in marathon swimming during the 1960s and 1970s. She became the national champion in the 1500m freestyle and held the prestigious title of world No. 1 in marathon swimming multiple times. Her impact on the sport has inspired future generations of female swimmers.

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NetherlandsMarathon RunnerSwimmer

Monique Wildschut

Monique Wildschut, a renowned marathon swimmer from the Netherlands, captivated the swimming community with her immense talent and remarkable achievements. She made history as the first woman to win the Atlantic City marathon swim and set numerous records in races all around the world. Monique’s determination and contributions to the sport continue to inspire aspiring marathon swimmers and women athletes worldwide.

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NetherlandsMarathon RunnerSwimmer

Irene van der Laan

Irene van der Laan, a Dutch professional open water swimmer, became one of the greatest athletes in her field. Her exceptional abilities and unwavering determination propelled her to achieve remarkable feats, including being the first female to finish a 16-kilometer race and successfully navigating the English Channel. Her record-breaking two-way English Channel crossing and numerous marathon swimming competitions solidified her status as a swimming prodigy and Women’s World Champion. Irene’s dedication to her sport and appreciation for her team left an indelible mark on the world of open water swimming.

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NetherlandsUnited StatesBusiness

Melanie Rieback

Melanie R. Rieback is a renowned computer scientist known for her groundbreaking work in the field of privacy and security of radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology. Born on October 26, 1978, in Cleveland, Ohio, Melanie spent her formative years in Florida.

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AustriaGermanyNetherlands

Cilli Wang

Cilli Wang, born Zäzilie Wang on February 1, 1909, in Vienna, was an Austrian-born Dutch dancer, performer, and theater maker. She is best known for her work as a dancer and later as a comedienne, making significant contributions to the arts in Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands. Wang’s performances were characterized by a wide range of captivating and absurd characters, showcasing her impeccable mastery of various artistic mediums. Through her innovative and multifaceted approach to performance, she pushed boundaries and inspired generations of artists.

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GeorgiaNetherlandsUnited States

Maia Makhateli

Maia Makhateli, a renowned Georgian ballet dancer, has made a significant impact on the world of dance. Born in Tbilisi, Georgia, around 1986, she hails from a family deeply rooted in the art of ballet. Her parents, Nikoloz Makhateli and Marina Loladze, were both esteemed dancers at the Georgian National Ballet, and her grandfather was a notable folk dancer, while her grandmother was an opera singer. As the younger sister of David Makhateli, a former principal dancer with The Royal Ballet, Maia was exposed to the world of ballet from a young age and would soon find her own path in this captivating art form.

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NetherlandsCyclist

Marianne Vos

Marianne Vos is a Dutch multi-discipline cyclist, known for her exceptional achievements in road racing, cyclo-cross, and track racing. Born on May 13, 1987, in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, North Brabant, Vos has become one of the most successful and influential female cyclists in history.

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NetherlandsGolferTable Tennis

Monique Kalkman-Van Den Bosch

Monique Kalkman-Van Den Bosch, born on November 28, 1964, in the Netherlands, is a Dutch former professional wheelchair tennis and table tennis player. She is widely regarded as one of the most successful and influential athletes in disability sports history.

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NetherlandsSwimmer

Marie Braun

Marie Braun, a prominent Dutch swimmer, made her mark in the 1928 and 1932 Summer Olympics and set numerous records throughout her career. Braun’s passion for swimming was nurtured by her father, a renowned Dutch swimming coach. She became one of the youngest Olympic gold medalists at the age of sixteen in 1928. Despite her premature retirement, Braun’s impact on the sport of swimming cannot be undermined, and her dedication and talent continue to inspire swimmers today.

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NetherlandsSwimmer

Enith Brigitha

Enith Brigitha, born in 1955 on the West Indian Island of Curacao, made history as the first black athlete to secure a swimming medal at the Olympic Games. Her remarkable swimming abilities led her to win two bronze medals at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. Despite facing challenges, including the East Germany doping controversy, Brigitha’s dedication and success made her an influential figure in women’s history.

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NetherlandsSoccer

Vivianne Miedema

Vivianne Miedema, born in 1996 in Hoogeveen, Netherlands, is a Dutch professional footballer known for her exceptional skills as a forward. She currently plays for Arsenal in the FA Women’s Super League and represents the Netherlands national team. Throughout her career, she has achieved great success and has been recognized with numerous awards for her talent and contributions to the sport. Miedema’s impact extends beyond her skills on the pitch, as she has become an inspiration and role model for young players worldwide.

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NetherlandsSwimmer

Nina Senff

Dina Willemina Jacoba “Nida” Senff, born on April 3, 1920, was a talented backstroke swimmer from the Netherlands. She left an indelible mark on the sport, particularly with her stunning victory at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. It was during this Olympic Games that she showcased her remarkable determination and skill, winning the 100 meters backstroke despite facing an unexpected setback.

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NetherlandsSnowboarder

Nicolien Sauerbreij

Nicolien Sauerbreij is a Dutch professional snowboarder who achieved great success in her career. She became a well-known figure in the snowboarding world, earning podium positions and first-place finishes in various World Cups. Her most notable achievement was winning the gold medal in the women’s parallel giant slalom event at the 2010 Winter Olympics, marking a historic moment for the Netherlands. Nicolien’s dedication and perseverance have made her an inspiration to aspiring snowboarders.

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NetherlandsSpeed Skater

Yvonne van Gennip

Yvonne van Gennip, born on May 1, 1964, is known for her remarkable achievements as a Dutch speed skater. She surprised the world by winning three gold medals at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, setting world records along the way. Her success cemented her legacy as one of the greatest speed skaters of her time.

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NetherlandsSailing

Laura Dekker

Laura Dekker, a New Zealand-born Dutch sailor, became the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe single-handedly. Her seafaring journey began in Whangarei, New Zealand, during her parents’ seven-year sailing trip. Dekker embraced her diverse heritage and spent the first five years of her life at sea. She embarked on various sailing ventures, culminating in her remarkable solo circumnavigation at the age of 16. Her achievement was a testament to her courage and skill, leaving an indelible mark in sailing history.

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NetherlandsAstronomerJewish

Elsa van Dien

Elsa van Dien (1914-2007) was an astronomer who made significant contributions to the field of astrophysics. Born in Paramaribo, Surinam, she overcame adversity during World War II and went on to pursue her passion for astronomy. Her research on early type stars and her dedication to spreading scientific knowledge have left a lasting impact on the field. Her story is an inspiration to aspiring scientists.

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NetherlandsArchaeologistAstronomer

Amina Helmi

Amina Helmi, an Argentine astronomer and professor at the University of Groningen, is a leading figure in the field of galactic archaeology. With a focus on the Milky Way, she combines computer simulations and observational data to uncover the mysteries of galaxy formation. Her dedication and contributions have earned her numerous awards and recognition, solidifying her status as a prominent figure in the scientific community.

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NetherlandsJewishPolitician

Wilhelmina Drucker

Wilhelmina Drucker was a Dutch politician and writer who played a crucial role in advancing women’s rights. Despite difficult circumstances during her upbringing, she received a Catholic education and became actively involved in various social and political organizations. Her contributions extended beyond the Netherlands as she advocated for global gender equality. Drucker’s tireless efforts continue to inspire feminists today.

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NetherlandsActivistDoctor

Aletta Jacobs

Aletta Henriëtte Jacobs, a Dutch physician and women’s suffrage activist, made history as the first woman to be admitted to the University of Groningen in 1871. She later became the first woman in the Netherlands to earn a doctorate in medicine in 1879. Jacobs’s groundbreaking work in reproductive health and her tireless efforts for women’s rights continue to inspire future generations.

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NetherlandsUnited StatesActivist

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born Dutch-American activist, has dedicated her life to speaking out against the mistreatment of Muslim women and advocating for their rights and self-determination. Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1969, she has experienced firsthand the oppression faced by Muslim women and has become a vocal critic of Islam’s oppressive practices such as forced marriage, honor killings, child marriage, and female genital mutilation. Despite facing controversy and threats, Ayaan has remained steadfast in her commitment to exposing injustice and sparking discussions about the need for reform within Islam.

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NetherlandsFigure Skater

Sjoukje Dijkstra

Sjoukje Rosalinde Dijkstra, born on January 28, 1942, in Akkrum, Netherlands, is a Dutch former competitive figure skater. She had an illustrious career, reaching remarkable heights in the sport. Dijkstra is best known as the 1964 Olympic champion in ladies’ singles, securing the gold medal in Innsbruck, Austria. Alongside her Olympic triumph, she achieved numerous other important accolades throughout her career.

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NetherlandsBoxer

Lucia Rijker

Lucia Frederica Rijker, also known as “The Most Dangerous Woman in the World,” is a Dutch professional boxer, kickboxer, and actress. She was born on December 6, 1967, in Amsterdam, to a Surinamese father and a Dutch mother. Rijker’s exceptional journey in the martial arts world is characterized by relentless determination, unmatched skill, and a fierce dedication to her craft.

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NetherlandsSwimmer

Mary Kok

Mary Kok (born in 1940 in Hilversum) is a renowned Dutch swimmer who made a significant impact on the world of swimming during the 1950s. At a young age, between 1954 and 1957, she set an impressive ten world records, showcasing her incredible talent and determination.

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NetherlandsSwimmer

Let van Feggelen

Irène “Iet” Maria Jo Arnoldina van Feggelen, commonly known as Let van Feggelen, was a Dutch backstroke swimmer who left a lasting impact on the world of swimming and synchronized swimming. She showed exceptional talent in backstroke and set multiple world records in the 1930s. Despite the challenges of World War II, she continued to compete and later became a coach, playing a crucial role in popularizing synchronized swimming in Europe.

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NetherlandsSwimmer

Hendrika Mastenbroek

Hendrika “Rie” Wilhelmina Mastenbroek, born on February 26, 1919, in Rotterdam, was a Dutch swimmer and a triple Olympic champion. Her remarkable achievements and contributions to the world of swimming have made her a prominent figure in women’s sports history. Mastenbroek represented the Netherlands at the Summer Olympics in Berlin in 1936, where she won three Olympic gold medals in the 100m freestyle, 400m freestyle, and 4x100m freestyle relay. She later became a swimming instructor and was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1968. She passed away in Rotterdam on November 6, 2003.

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NetherlandsSwimmer

Inge de Bruijn

Inge de Bruijn, a Dutch former competitive swimmer, is widely regarded as one of the greatest female swimmers of all time. With her remarkable success in the sport, including four Olympic gold medals and multiple world records, Inge has left an indelible mark on swimming. Her determination and skill continue to inspire athletes around the world.

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NetherlandsSwimmer

Nel van Vliet

Petronella “Nel” van Vliet, born on January 17, 1926 in Hilversum, the Netherlands, overcame obstacles to become a renowned breaststroke swimmer. She achieved great success in her career, winning gold medals at the 1947 European Aquatics Championships and the 1948 Summer Olympics in London. Despite facing bureaucratic issues early on, van Vliet’s determination and skill propelled her to become an inspiration and a true pioneer in the history of swimming. She passed away on January 4, 2006, leaving behind an enduring legacy in the sport.

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AngolaNetherlandsMilitary

Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba

Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba was a powerful ruler in Southwest Africa. She received military and political training from a young age and served as an ambassador to the Portuguese Empire. Nzinga formed alliances to rebuild her forces and successfully conquered the Kingdom of Matamba. She formed a crucial alliance with the Dutch, reclaimed portions of Ndongo, and resisted Portuguese colonization. Nzinga’s intelligence, political wisdom, and military tactics have solidified her legacy as a significant historical figure in Angola.

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NetherlandsWater Polo

Daniëlle de Bruijn

Daniëlle de Bruijn is a highly accomplished water polo player who has made a significant impact on the sport both nationally and internationally. Born on February 13, 1978, in Vlaardingen, Netherlands, de Bruijn has become a prominent figure in the Dutch national water polo team, representing her country in numerous prestigious competitions.

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NetherlandsWater Polo

Simone van de Kraats

Simone van de Kraats, a Dutch water polo player, has cemented her place as one of the best in the sport. With her incredible talent and determination, she has impressed both on and off the field. Representing the Dutch national team and excelling in the Summer Olympics, van de Kraats has become a role model for aspiring athletes, elevating women’s water polo to new heights.

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NetherlandsTrack & Field

Fanny Blankers-Koen

Fanny Blankers-Koen, known as the “Flying Housewife,” defied societal expectations and shattered stereotypes in women’s sports. At the 1948 Olympics, she won an unprecedented four gold medals as a 30-year-old mother of two. Fanny’s outstanding performance and remarkable achievements established her as an icon of women’s sports history. She set or tied 12 world records and was named “Female Athlete of the Century” by the IAAF. Her enduring legacy paved the way for future generations of athletes.

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NetherlandsSprinter

Marlou van Rhijn

Marlou van Rhijn is a retired professional Dutch former professional sprint runner. Throughout her career, she overcame the obstacles of being born without lower legs to become a world record holder in the T43 class for the 100 and 200-meter events. Her determination and tenacity have made her an inspiration to many.

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NetherlandsLong JumperSprinter

Marlene van Gansewinkel

Marlene van Gansewinkel (born 11 March 1995) is a Dutch Paralympic athlete known for her outstanding performances in sprinting and long jump events. She has achieved remarkable success throughout her career, winning multiple medals at various prestigious competitions, including the Paralympic Games and World Para Athletics Championships.

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NetherlandsLong JumperSprinter

Fleur Jong

Fleur Jong is a Dutch Paralympic athlete who has overcome immense challenges to become a world-record holder and a symbol of resilience and determination. Her journey as an athlete is a testament to the power of resilience and determination, redefining the boundaries of her discipline. Through her incredible story, Jong continues to inspire individuals worldwide and shape the landscape of women’s history in sports.

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NetherlandsMartial Artist

Anita Staps

Anita Staps, born in Tilburg in 1961, is a pioneering Dutch judoka who made significant contributions to the world of women’s judo. Her remarkable achievements include becoming the first Dutch woman to win a world title in judo, as well as winning seven Dutch judo championships. Staps’s story serves as an inspiration to athletes, especially women, who aspire to overcome challenges and pursue their passions with determination.

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NetherlandsSoccer

Lieke Martens

Lieke Martens is a Dutch professional footballer known for her exceptional skills as a winger or midfielder. She began playing football at a young age and rose to prominence through her performances with club teams like FC Barcelona and the Netherlands national team. Martens has been recognized with numerous awards, including Player of the Tournament at the 2017 UEFA Women’s Euro, The Best FIFA Women’s Player in 2017, and the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year in the same year. She continues to inspire and advocate for gender equality in sports.

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NetherlandsSpeed SkaterSportscaster

Ireen Wüst

Ireen Wüst is a Dutch former long track speed skater, born on April 1, 1986. She holds the distinction of being the most successful speed skating Olympian ever, having won at least one gold medal in each of the five consecutive Winter Olympic appearances. With these incredible achievements, Wüst has cemented her place in the history books.

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NetherlandsSpeed Skater

Irene Schouten

Irene Schouten, born on June 21, 1992, is a Dutch speed skater known for her exceptional skills in allround marathon and inline-skating events. She has made a significant impact on the sport and has become a role model for aspiring athletes worldwide. With her extraordinary talent and perseverance, Schouten has achieved remarkable success and established herself as one of the greatest speed skaters of her generation.

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NetherlandsActivistJewish

Marion Pritchard

Marion Philippina Pritchard was born on November 7, 1920, in Amsterdam, Netherlands. She grew up in a liberal and supportive family, with her father, Jacob van Binsbergen, being a judge on the board of regents for the prisons of Amsterdam.

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NetherlandsActivistJewish

Geertruida Wijsmuller-Meijer

Geertruida Wijsmuller-Meijer, known as ‘Truus’, was a Dutch resistance fighter who saved over 10,000 Jewish children and adults from persecution during the Second World War. Her efforts were part of the Kindertransport operation, and she was honored as Righteous among the Nations by Yad Vashem. Wijsmuller-Meijer’s dedication to helping others continued in her post-war activism, making her an inspirational figure in the fight for human rights.

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NetherlandsActivistJewish

Tina Strobos

Tina Strobos, a Dutch physician and psychiatrist, displayed extraordinary bravery during World War II by rescuing over 100 Jewish refugees from Nazi persecution. She risked her life by providing shelter, support, and hope to those in desperate need. Her unwavering commitment to their safety, even under interrogation by the Gestapo, earned her admiration and respect. Strobos’ legacy of courage and compassion serves as a powerful reminder of the crucial role women have played in shaping history.

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NetherlandsActivistAerospace Engineer

Miep Gies

Hermine “Miep” Gies, born in 1909 in Vienna, Austria, became a crucial figure in the story of Anne Frank and her family during World War II. Despite the risks, Gies and her colleague, Bep Voskuijl, provided sustenance and support to the Frank family and four other hidden Jews during their time in hiding. Gies’ courageous actions and unwavering determination to protect Anne Frank’s legacy have made her an enduring symbol of resistance and inspiration.

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