Icarus and Narcissus have given their names to important psycho-analytic concepts. Narcissism named for the hero who turned away from others and tried to be entirely self-sufficient , has become widely known not only in psychiatrie circles but also to the educated lay public. The Icarus complex, however, concerned with the often spectacular deeds of those who crave puclic attention, has remained a concept known only to a handful of specialists. Dutch psychiatric publications and Dutch psychiatrists have played a significant role as a mediator of both concepts between the English- and German-speaking worlds. The author describes and discusses the historical vicissitudes of the concept of icarianism or Icarus complex, especially the contributions of H. G. van der Waals, H. A. Murray and M. L. J. Vaessen. These authors seem to have ignored each othe r's work. Moreover, the concept itself has never flied too high and, yet , feit into almost complete oblivion. Hence, the story of the concept reveals some icarian themes and raises the question whether the blockage in conceptual development is intrinsically related to the Icarus complex itself. Or could it be related to cultural characteristics specific to the Low Countries?