If you read this site and wonder why we write about the Dutch language from time to time, if you come from Amsterdam, Rotterdam or The Hague, let me cut to the chase and disappoint you. The reason why actually has nothing to do with Dutch people. The Mystics (and the Wizards for that matter) never had a player from the Netherlands, and I don’t recall any active WNBA player coming from there either. I think I’ll be wrong one day, but that day isn’t ... today.
In the Mystics’ case, they have a proud Belgian by the name of Emma Meesseman. Her native language is Dutch (the same language they speak in Amsterdam), and we don’t mind saying some things in de Nederlandse taal from time to time. Hey! We’re trying to make our case to Meesseman why she needs to stay in D.C. as long as possible!
The region Belgium is in is known as the Benelux, which includes Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. Yes, the Benelux is home of the European Union and continental politics. but it’s equally well-known in art history.
Before the Southern Netherlands (more-or-less today’s Belgium) became its own area (both after the Eighty Years’ War and the Belgian Revolution), it was part of the Netherlands, or more accurately, current-day Belgium and the Netherlands were part of the same country from time to time. In fact, cities like Antwerp and Brussels were just as, if not more prominent than Amsterdam, especially in the Middle Ages.
I get it. You didn’t read this site for European history, so I’ll (try to) cut to the chase. You had to have heard of famous artists like Rembrandt van Rijn who painted “De Nachtwacht/Night Watch” which you can see at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam or Pieter Bruegel the Elder who was arguably the most famous Dutch/Flemish artist before Rembrandt created that famous wall-size painting.
If you’re looking for more ... relatively modern-day artists, Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh comes to mind. Though he was from the Netherlands, he actually became more of a “full-time artist” near Mons, Belgium where there is a museum (La Maison Van Gogh) at the home he once lived in the Francophone part of the country.
(Note that there is also a La Maison de Van Gogh museum, but it’s about 20-25 miles northwest of Paris, France. The Belgian and French museums probably get mixed up a bit.)
So who is the most famous artist from the Benelux today? It’s clearly someone with DMV ties, namely ... Emma Meesseman! Take a look at what Chicago Sky guard Allie Quigley shared on Twitter!
I’m no painting connoisseur, so I won’t bother trying to ask who Meesseman’s specific artistic influences are. However, I do know that the DEFENDING WNBA FINALS MVP often shares her personal drawings on social media.
Someone needs to open up a “Het Meessemanhuis/La Maison Meesseman” museum in her hometown of Ieper since she has to have many drawings out there. As Mystics fans, we are obligated to make that pilgrimage!