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Willy Derby was one of The Netherlands' most popular singers between the two World Wars. His real name was Willem Frederik Christiaan Dieben, born in The Hague on 5 April 1886. He died in the same city on 9 April 1944, during the Nazi occupation of his country.

Some of his most famous hits were Het plekje bij den molen (Daar bij dien molen), Twee oogen zoo blauw and several sentimental songs (so-called 'smartlappen') that drew a romantic picture of life in the Dutch East Indies.

Perhaps his most remembered tune is 1934's We gaan naar Rome!, which he recorded after the Dutch football/soccer team had qualified for the World Cup for the first time in history.

During World War Two Willy Derby was known as an 'anti-German' artist. He sometimes ignored Nazi regulations for popular music, sang songs the Nazi occupiers thought were 'provocative' and was imprisoned for this twice, in 1941 and 1943. He died of a heart-attack, aged 58.

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  • 5 April 1886
  • The Hague, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands Died 9 April 1944 (Aged 58)

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