Jan Vrijman (the pseudonym of Jan Hulsebos) was a passionate journalist and filmmaker. After the Second World War, he worked for the Dutch news publications De Groene Amsterdammer, Vrij Nederland and Het Parool.
In 1952 he started writing for television programmes. In 1957 het stirred up the first national television dust-up with his controversial documentary Dag Koninginnedag (1957). In 1962 he won a Golden Bear at Berlin for his experimental film De werkelijkheid van Karel Appel. In the 1960s his production company Jan Vrijman Cineproductie made the films Het Gangstermeisje, Een zondag op het eiland van de Grande Jatte (Frans Weisz, 1965) and De vijanden.
In his work he navigated between social engagement and a fascination for art and big money. He made documentaries about such wide-ranging subjects as choreographer Rudi van Dantzig, the multinational corporation Philips, and the evangelist Johannes Maasbach. Despite the range of subjects, his documentaries were always able to convey the spirit of the times.
He was one of the founders of International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). In 1998, one year after his death, the IDFA established the Jan Vrijman Fonds, which provides financial support for filmmakers and film festivals in developing countries.