Since 1947, Radio Netherlands Worldwide provided independent news on issues that matter to real people. In 2012, RNW ceased its broadcasting activities and continued online only. We – former RNW staff – covered stories on human rights – highlighting the plight of political prisoners and illegal aliens. We broke taboos on ethical issues like gay marriage, equality, sexual health and euthanasia. And we promoted Dutch interests abroad, informing the world about Dutch innovations that could literally help provide global solutions. But not only that; we sent radio equipment to disaster areas like Aceh after the 2004 tsunami and the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, so that survivors could get hold of basic and vital information.
This is not the official RNW website, but a private initiative by former RNW employees who left the station in 2012.
One thing we forgot…
Radio Netherlands Worldwide focused so much on reporting on news and current affairs for people outside the Netherlands that we neglected to let people inside the Netherlands – the taxpayers who funded us – know why it was important to have an international service. Many still saw Radio Netherlands as the campsite radio station their parents used to listen to, which could be done away with in the age of internet and i-gadgets.
Our three duties to the world
What RNW did was so diverse that it is difficult to put in a nutshell.
Up until 2012, one of our core duties was to provide information to Dutch nationals abroad. This included broadcasting Dutch-language programmes for truckers and tourists, business people and expats. When there was a disaster affecting Dutch nationals anywhere in the world Radio Netherlands acted as an emergency station providing essential information on the radio and on its website.
Our second task was to provide independent information to places with limited or no press freedom. When the Arab Spring began towards the end of 2010, RNW’s correspondent Hans Jaap Melissen was on Tahrir Square as the revolution in Egypt unfolded. At the same time, the Arabic department increased its broadcasts to the region. But we also had Kjeld Duits in Japan keeping us up to date with the aftermath of the tsunami and the developing situation at the nuclear plant in Fukushima (2011).
One of our main tasks was to disseminate a realistic image of the Netherlands abroad. That included anything from Press Reviews to articles on Dutch cultural and sporting events to reports on political developments in The Hague. But we also liked to entertain you from time to time and bring you quirky tales on all things orange (the Dutch national colour).
So that was RNW
We were passionate about what we did. Some of us still are.