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By Bieneke Berendsen
Born halfway the seventies, I grew up with only two TV channels: Nederland 1 and Nederland 2. In the beginning of the eighties, a third public channel was introduced: Nederland 3. In the late eighties, when cable television became the standard, commercial channels appeared on Dutch television: Veronica (which was originally a public broadcasting organisation), RTL 4, RTL 5, Net5, and SBS6.
In Holland, the programs on the public channels are provided by the 'omroepen' or 'omroeporganisaties' (broadcasting organizations). Most of them were founded in the pillarized Netherlands, as you will discover in the descriptions below.
You can check all Dutch and several foreign TV and radio listings at the website of the public broadcasting organizations: gids.omroep.nl.
The very cheapest Dutch printed TV guide. It has no ties with any broadcasting organisation, it is simply what it says it is: Een TV-krant. No indepth articles about cosmopolitan topics or interviews with famous people. Instead, you can expect an extensive coverage of film news, a preview of the best cinema movie, and many free vouchers for previews (voorpremieres) of the latest cinema films.
Based in Hilversum | Click here to receive 26 issues for € 7.50
Vara TV Magazine
VARA, short for Vereeniging Arbeiders Radio Amateurs (Society of Workers Radio Amateurs) was founded in 1925 as a socialist radio broadcasting organization. In 1969, when the amount of broadcasting time on TV was determined by the amount of members, VARA adopted a progressive social democratic identity in order to reach a wider audience.
Based in Hilversum | Click here to receive 5 issues for € 2.50
The VPRO has a rather special position within the broadcasting system. More value is given to enthusiasm, curiosity and expertise than high ratings. The VPRO takes its public task seriously but with a dash of stubbornness, specifically choosing those programs and topics that the other broadcasting companies overlook. Founded under a different name as a liberal protestant organisation, the VPRO became what it is today in the late sixties: very progressive and politically oriented to the left.
Based in Hilversum | Click here to receive 10 issues for € 5
The NCRV, the Nederlandsche Chistelijke Radio-Vereeniging (the Dutch Christian Radio Society) was founded in 1924. Radio was seen as the ideal way to spread the evangely. Developing into a mature broadcasting organisation like the VARA, AVRO, and KRO was yet quite a challenge, as by far most members were orthodox christians who had never seen a movie in their lives, or even a play or a ballet performance. To keep a long story short: They managed. Today, it the organisation is widely valued for its critical approach towards current political and societal issues.
Based in Hilversum
In 1926, the Amsterdam pastor Perquin started The KRO (Katholieke Radio Omroep), which had to be a 'safe' medium for the catholic audience. Perquin often warned the same audience for the dangers that came with the radio: "Whoever thinks that the radio is merely a means to enjoy oneself, diminishes this wonderful medium for development and education about religion and society to nothing more but a common, everyday activity." Just like the other broadcasting organisations, the KRO developed into a modern organisation while at the same time, it has not moved away from its catholic roots.
The Avro was established in the early twenties to save a radio transmission factory from bankruptcy. When they experienced a decline in orders from the shipping industry, they decided to create a new market. They built a radio transmitter to broadcast music programs and the factory produced radios for the listeners. How very clever! This enterprise grew out to become the Algemeene Nederlandsche Radio Omroep (the General Dutch Radio Broadcasting Organisation). From the outset, it was an organisation without any political or religious ties. And it still is.
Based in Hilversum | Click here to receive 26 issues for € 13
Veronica has an interesting history: In 1960, it started as a pirate station broadcasting from a ship in the North Sea, which dismayed many a politician in the Netherlands. The Dutch society was conveniently organized through clearly recognizable pillars: the catholics, the protestants, the liberals, and the socialists. They did not have to compete with eachother, as people were born socialists, catholics, etc. The listeners and viewers did not necessarily benefit from this state of affairs. All Veronica wanted to do was to liven up the decent but boring Dutch radio and tv landscape. And they succeeded. They managed to get the status of official public broadcasting organisation and made Dutch TV more adventurous and trendy. And more superficial, some would argue. Recently they decided to sail an entirely different course by leaving the public channels and merging with a commercial channel (SBS6). In the meantime, another young public broadcasting organisation, BNN, was already serving the young and trendy on the public channels.
Based in Aalsmeer | Click here to receive 13 issues for € 7.50
The birth of the Tros took place during a glorious episode in Dutch radio and tv history. With two ships, three marine-helicopters and over 30 policemen, in the morning of December 17, 1964, the government bluntly ended the broadcastings from the REM-island in the North Sea. It was the world's only TV-channel that directed its antennas to its audience from the international waters. We are talking about the pillarized Netherlands, where the established broadcasting organisations had no competition to fear. A few years before, Veronica, now a commercial channel, had tried to do the same from a boat. However, the death struggle of this very popular group of broadcasters lead to a major change in the Dutch radio and tv landscape: In 1969, all broadcasting organisations with a sufficient number of members were allowed some space on the public channels. Today, the Tros is a mainstream family channel well known for its many entertainment shows.
Dutch Audio Books
Het Achterhuis by Anne Frank
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Abeltje by Annie M.G.Schmidt
De Vliegeraar by Khaled Hosseni
Harry Potter en de Relieken van de Dood by J.K. Rowlings