The modern Miss Universe pageant started in 1952 in Miami Beach, Florida. The Netherlands didn’t participate in the first 4 pageants but started to participate in 1956. We will look back to all those beautiful dutch girls who had the honor to represent our country in the most covered beauty pageant in the world. After 5 years of no placement, the second part of the 60’s were more successful for the dutch girls.
Anja Schuit from Amsterdam was chosen as Miss Holland twice. First at a television show, but as there was no official jury, the results were not official. The same evening as the television show Anja was crowned again after a pageant in the International Congress Centre.
Miss Holland first went to the Miss Europe pageant, where she was unplaced. Before Anja went to the Miss Universe pageant, she traveled together with some other beauty queens to Rio de Janeiro to compete in a beauty pageant in honor of the 400 years Rio celebrations. Miss USA won that pageant and together with the other international girls, Anja flew to Miami Beach for the Miss Universe pageant.
Anja was one of the many blond favorites to win the Miss Universe crown. She was considered one of the most intelligent beauty queens in the pageant. It was no surprise when she was one of the top 15 finalists. For the Netherlands, Anja is the second girl to become a semi-finalist. But she even managed to become a top 5 finalist and is the first Miss Holland to become a finalist in the Miss Universe pageant. It was Miss Thailand, the only brunette in the top 5, who won the pageant and Anja became 4th runner-up.
After the pageant she was even more successful as a model in the Netherlands but also abroad.
Miss Holland 1966, Margot Domen
Before she became Miss Holland 1966, Margot Domen from Den Haag became Miss Glasses in 1965. Margot had a hard act to follow at the Miss Universe pageant, as Miss Holland 1965 became 4th runner-up. But before Margot went to Miami Beach, she went to Nice to represent the Netherlands at the Miss Europe pageant. Like Anja in 1965 she was unplaced, so far no problems.
For the americans Margot had an interesting fact: her father was a famous portrait painter in the Netherlands. So when she was announced as a semi-finalist that was of course the fact the host of the show had to mention and ask her if Holland is really like the landscapes with the famous windmills, that can be seen on so many paintings. Margot is the third girl to become a semi-finalist at the Miss Universe pageant.
The biggest newspaper in the Netherlands “De Telegraaf” started the search for Miss Holland 1967 in the end of 1966. There were many pre-pageants everywhere in the Netherlands. The finals would be broadcasted on television in a show called: “Een beetje lente in huis” (A bit of spring at home). But just as the show started there was an interruption as Princes Beatrix of the Netherlands gave birth to Prince Willem Alexander the new crown successor.
It was Miss Zuid-Holland Irene van Campenhout, who did win the crown and first runner-up was Nente van der Vliet, who was also first runner-up at the Miss Zuid Holland pageant.
Irene’s first international pageant was Miss Europe in Nice, France. She was the one to beat according to the international press, so it was a little bit of disappointment when she became “just” first runner-up by one point.
Like in 1965, Irene also went to Rio de Janeiro for the pre-Miss Universe pageant. At the Miss Universe pageant, Irene did make the the semi-finals. She was mentioned as one of the sophisticated girls in the pageant by Ana Maria Cumba, a chaperone who wrote a book about the pageant after being a chaperone for 22 years.
1st runner-up Miss Holland 1968, Nataly Heyl
Just like 1967 there was a search for Miss Holland 1968 started by “de Telegraaf”. This time the readers of the newspaper were part of the jury as the girls were introduced in the newspaper and the readers could vote for their favorite.
It was Marjolein Abbink who won the crown and she would represent the Netherlands at the Miss Europe pageant and the Miss Universe pageant. But according to some newspapers, Marjolein was too young to represent the Netherlands at the Miss Universe pageant. She only went to the Miss Europe pageant where she was unplaced.
First runner-up Nataly Heyl went to the Miss Universe 1968 pageant instead. When she entered the Miss Holland pageant she was a model. Although being unplaced at the Miss Universe pageant, she was photographed a lot by the international photographers.
Miss Holland 1969, Welmoed Hollenberg
When Welmoed won the Miss Holland pageant she was not one of the favorites, but at the finals the jury chose her to be Miss Holland 1969. She would represent the Netherlands at the Miss International pageant in Tokio but for unknown reasons she left for Miami Beach instead to go to the Miss Universe pageant.
Like the Miss Holland pageant, the Miss Universe pageant also had a big surprising crowning. It was not Miss Australia, Miss Finland or Miss Brazil but Miss Philippines, Gloria Diaz, who won the crown. Gloria was already a big surprise when she was called out one of the top 15 semi-finalist. When she was crowned there was more protest then applause. Unfortunately Miss Holland, Welmoed Hollenberg, did not make the cut.