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Radio Veronica - 1970’s History (7)


On 22nd January 1974 the Upper Chamber of the Dutch Parliament passed the anti-offshore radio law. During the course of the debate Minister Henri van Doorn gave an undertaking to consider again the application from Radio Veronica (VOO) to broadcast from land.

Radio Veronica made it clear that it would not defy the new law and would close when the Dutch Marine Offences Act  came into effect. The station continued to campaign vigorously to become part of the established broadcasting system in Holland and in order to achieve that goal it was not going to do anything illegal to jeopardise its position.

With an easing of the oil crisis Radio Veronica was able to extend its broadcasting hours from 12 midnight to 2.00am from 1st March 1974 and three months later programming was extended to 24 hours a day.

It was announced on 12th August 1974 that despite now having 300,000 members the VOO (Radio Veronica) would not be granted a licence or given an airtime allocation on Hilversum. The same announcement also indicated that the provisions of the Dutch Marine Offences Act were to become effective at midnight on 31st August 1974.

Radio Veronica closed at 6.00pm on 31st August 1974 following an emotional last hour presented live from the Norderney. Station Managing Director Bull Verweij said farewell to listeners after the final newscast at 5.30pm and at 6.00pm Rob Out closed the station with the words "With the end of Veronica dies a piece of democracy in the Netherlands and that is a pity for you, for Veronica and especially for Holland." After playing the Dutch National Anthem a Veronica jingle was aired, but cut off part way through as the transmitter on board the Norderney was switched off for the final time, ending over 14 years of broadcasting.


The Norderney remained at anchor for over a year after Radio Veronica closed. Manned by a crew of nine she stayed at sea amidst persistent rumours that the station would return to the air from its offshore base. However, on 11th August 1975 she was towed into IJmuiden and later moved to a berth in Amsterdam, near the City's Central Station.

Despite Radio Veronica being the world's longest continuous offshore radio service listeners in Holland now had nothing to show for those fourteen years of commercial enterprise radio. The (non-commercial) Hilversum Network was still in place and the authorities were doing all they could to prevent Radio Veronica (VOO) joining that system through the airtime allocation to which they were undoubtedly entitled.

However, Radio Veronica appealed through the courts against the ruling, subsequently won its battle to secure airtime and went on to become one of the biggest operators in the state radio and television system. On 28th December 1975, VOO finally began broadcasts on the Hilversum network - one hour a week of classical music on Hilversum 4 on Sundays, one hour on Hilversum 1 on Mondays and one hour on Hilversum 3 on Fridays.

VOO also obtained airtime on the Hilversum Television Network from 21st April 1976 - three hours every third week. The first programme  - broadcast from the Norderney - was used to celebrate offshore Radio Veronica's 16th Birthday as well as including an hour and a half of topical information items and a light drama serial.

Surprisingly, bearing in mind  its long years of tolerance towards offshore Radio Veronica, the Dutch authorities were slow to introduce an independent commercial radio system, and only finally did so 20 years after the closure of the offshore stations - because of pressure from the European Parliament.

Click on picture to enlarge

Video showing scenes on board during the final hour of Radio Veronica.
The video also includes shots of the Norderney beached at Scheveningen and the demonstration in The Hague in April 1973.

The second part of the video looks at other offshore ships of the 1970s.


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