On June 24th, 2011 the Dutch government announced drastic budget cuts (69.5%!) for Radio Netherlands Worldwide. The current budget of €46 million will be cut to €14 million, starting 2013. Of its 3 core functions, 2 are being scrapped: All broadcasts in Dutch will be cancelled, and remaining broadcasts will focus on countries where there is no freedom of press. These cuts will cost about 250 jobs.
The history of Dutch international radio begins on March 11, 1927 with short-wave broadcasts to the Dutch East Indies via the PCJJ (later known as PCJ) short-wave transmitter at the Philips Laboratories in Eindhoven. Philips understood the possibilities of what was then a new medium and developed a market for short-wave broadcasters and receivers. Philips wanted good quality programmes and a strong political and economic base. On the evening of March 31, 1927, the company scored a publicity coup when Queen Wilhelmina addressed the colonial population via the PCJJ transmitter.
This was 5 years before the BBC Empire Service (now known as BBC World Service) started.
The Radio Netherlands International Foundation (Stichting Radio Nederland Wereldomroep) was established on April 15 1947. The foundation’s remit was “to put together and prepare for broadcast radio programmes to be received outside the Kingdom of the Netherlands and in Europe”. Broadcasts were made in Dutch, Indonesian, English and Spanish.
Radio Netherlands Worldwide has also distributed content via web and e-mail technology from as early as 1992.
Radio Netherlands is among the five most influential international services in the world, the other four being Voice of America, BBC World Service, Deutsche Welle and Radio France Internationale. However, Radio Netherlands ranks 18th in terms of budget. In Latin America, the organisation is market leader in the field of cooperation with local radio stations. In Indonesia, Radio Netherlands is one of the most popular international stations due to its objective and reliable reporting (Based on research commissioned by the BBC.) The English language service is a regular winner of international prizes for its documentary and feature programme output.
On May 10th-11th there will be a 24-hour marathon broadcast to celebrate/commemorate 65 years of Dutch broadcasts of a very successful Radio Netherlands Worldwide.