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Netherlands/Belgium

The history of offshore radio stations  - either anchored off or targeted at audiences in the Netherlands and Belgium - spans three decades.

Belgium was very swift  to act against its first offshore broadcaster, Radio Antwerpen, but this did not deter later stations opening and targeting their output at Flemish speaking listeners.

The Netherlands however reacted differently – the authorities were at first prepared to turn a blind eye and tolerate offshore radio, particularly Radio Veronica. However as the number of stations increased and fierce, often violent, rivalry broke out between them the Dutch authorities felt they had to act and eventually passed legislation outlawing offshore radio.

Although this new legislation had been passed, it did not deter more radio stations starting, or planning to start, aimed at Dutch audiences - right up until the late 1980’s. In response the Dutch authorities, who had previously been tolerant towards offshore radio, became ruthless in their pursuit of the new stations, even to the extent of boarding two radio ships anchored in international waters to silence the stations they housed.

This Gallery includes information about all stations whose output was directed at Belgian or Dutch audiences. Some stations were anchored off the coast of either Belgium or the Netherlands, whilst others broadcast from ships anchored off the British coast. (These also appear in Gallery  4 - Britain)

Follow these links for detailed information about each of the Belgian and Netherlands offshore stations:-

Gallery

3

1970s





Radio Veronica

(Anchored off the Netherlands, target audience the Netherlands)



Radio North Sea International (RNI)

(Anchored off the Netherlands and Britain - target audience Europe)



Capital Radio

(Anchored off the Netherlands, target audience the Netherlands)



Radio Caroline (1970’s)

(Anchored off the Netherlands and Britain - target audience Europe)



Radio Atlantis

(Anchored off Belgium, target audience Belgium and the Netherlands)



Radio Seagull

(Anchored off the Netherlands - target audience Europe)




Radio Mi Amigo

(Anchored off the Netherlands and Britain - target audience the Netherlands and Belgium)



Radio Delmare

(Anchored off the Netherlands, target audience the Netherlands)



Radio Mi Amigo 272

(Anchored off the Netherlands, target audience the Netherlands)



1980s





Radio Paradijs

(Anchored off the Netherlands, target audience Netherlands)



Radio Monique

(Anchored off Britain, target audience the Netherlands)



Radio 819

(Anchored off Britain, target audience the Netherlands)



Radio 558

(Anchored off Britain, target audience the Netherlands)

558


Planned & Short-lived  Stations

In addition to the stations which did broadcast there were often plans for stations which never materialised or only lasted a very short time - days or even just a few hours.

Click on the blue arrows to read more.

         

         


Radio Marina


SOR (Stichting Radio Operatie)


Radio 199  


Radio Condor


Radio Benelux


Radio Nova International


Radio Hollandia


Radio Mauritius

1960s





Radio Veronica

(Anchored off the Netherlands, target audience Netherlands)



CNBC

(Anchored off the Netherlands, target audience Britain)



Radio Antwerpen

(Anchored off Belgium, target audience Belgium)



Radio Noordzee

(Positioned off the Netherlands, target audience Netherlands)



Radio Dolfijn

(Anchored off Britain,target audience the Netherlands)




Radio 227

(Anchored off Britain, target audience the Netherlands)

RADIO

227

 Floor 1

Back to

Floor 1


1960s Timeline   >>>


1970s Timeline   >>> Netherlands/Belgium Timelines


1980s Timeline  >>> Netherlands/Belgium Timelines

Radio Marina

Radio North Sea International’s (RNI) ship, Mebo II had been silent since September 1970 after Radio Veronica had paid its owners to stay off the air.

However, on 7th January 1971 Mebo II was towed to a new position off Cadzand on the Dutch/Belgian border and from this anchorage it was intended to recommence broadcasts, ostensibly to Belgium rather than Holland to avoid further conflict with Radio Veronica. The transmissions for part of the day were to be under the RNI call sign while airtime during the rest  of the day was  to be hired by  a Belgian organisation known as Radio Marina.

Belgian backers of the Radio Marina project, Valere and Cecile Broucke, had a verbal agreement with RNI’s owners to use the Mebo II as a base for their station.

Although both parties spent some days discussing detailed arrangements (and some unannounced test transmissions took place from the Mebo II off the Belgian coast at the end of January 1971) the plans for Radio Marina ultimately came to nothing.

Radio Benelux

Rumours of another planned offshore station circulated in mid-1974 - Radio Benelux was said to be planning Flemish and English language services for 22 hours a day.

The owners of the pop magazine, Hitorama, who had previously attempted to purchase Radio Atlantis, were said to be behind the new project. DJs from Radio Mi Amigo and Radio Luxembourg were reported to have joined the station, which at one time had enquired about purchasing the MV Peace, then laid up in Marseilles after the closure of the Israeli offshore station, Voice of Peace in 1973.

However, despite all these seemingly definite plans nothing was ever heard of Radio Benelux.

SOR - (Stichting Radio Operatie)

During 1970 a 90’ canal boat, Hendrik Jan, was fitted out by Steph Willemsen and Bob Peeters, with assistance from two illegal immigrants from Angola. The illegal immigrants were told that the ship would start broadcasting at first from off the Dutch coast, than after a short while taken to a position off the coast of Portugal and eventually off the Angolan coast.

However in January 1971 the illegal immigrants were arrested and the SRO project collapsed. Steph Willemsen went on to later become in other offshore radio projects including Radio Condor.

Radio Nova International

After Radio North Sea International (RNI) closed at the end of August 1974, the Mebo II remained at her anchorage until 9th September when she sailed to the De Groot van Vliet shipyard in Slikkerveer. She was dry docked (together with the station’s other ship, Mebo I) and both vessels were scraped, painted and overhauled.

On board the Mebo II the transmitter equipment was stripped and overhauled, while a new record library and three new studios were constructed to replace the existing two studio facility. The aerial mast was heightened by 15', a second medium wave aerial was installed and all equipment tested and tuned using a dummy load. It was announced that the ship would sail to an anchorage off Genoa in Italy and commence broadcasts under the call sign Radio Nova International.

However the Mebo II became the subject of prolonged legal proceedings with the Dutch authorities and this meant that the proposed Radio Nova International project off the coast of Italy - if it was ever really a serious plan - never came to fruition.

(A land-based station of the same name, run by some former RNI DJs did, however, establish itself in northern Italy, taking advantage of the confused state of that country's broadcasting laws at the time which allowed unlimited numbers of private radio and television stations to be established.)

Radio 199

At the beginning of December 1972 DJs on board the Mi Amigo (which had returned to sea earlier in 1972) started presenting programmes without identifying either themselves or the station. At 11.00am on 17th December the test transmissions moved to a frequency of 1520kHzk (197m) and the following day programmes, presented by on-board DJs in both English and Dutch, were aired under the call sign Radio 199.

After a few days the short-lived  Radio 199 identification was dropped and at 6.00am on 22nd December 1972 the station officially started to identify  itself as Radio Caroline.

Radio Hollandia

In mid-1978 Radio Mi Amigo owner, Sylvain Tack, wanted move his station from the Radio Caroline ship, Mi Amigo, and purchase his own vessel. Another potential offshore radio operator, Willem van Kooten became aware of Tack's desire to leave the Mi Amigo and approached Radio Caroline’s owner, Ronan O'Rahilly to take over the airtime rented by Radio Mi Amigo for his own project - Radio Hollandia.

News about Radio Hollandia appeared in the Dutch newspaper, De Telegraaf, on 18th September 1978 stating that the new station would shortly be on the air with many well-known DJs from the former offshore Radio Veronica and Radio North Sea International (RNI).

The station's programmes were to be made principally for use as background music in shopping centres, restaurants etc., but the tapes would also find their way to the Mi Amigo, from where they would be broadcast to larger audiences in Holland and Belgium. A company, De Hoge Noot, BV (The High Note) was formed to produce the taped programmes.

By mid-October 1978 plans seemed to be in place for Radio Hollandia and De Hoge Noot was reported to have entered into a verbal agreement with Ronan O'Rahilly to broadcast the tapes from the Mi Amigo, but their initial fee was never paid. Also two DJs working for Radio Mi Amigo at the time, Rob Hudson and Marc Jacobs, were approached to work for Radio Hollandia as newsreaders, tape operators and to present live programmes from the ship.

However, on 20th October 1978, two days before Radio Hollandia programmes were reportedly due to start from the Mi Amigo, problems started to occur with the ship’s generators and just before 12 noon Radio Mi Amigo left the air abruptly. Although no one knew at the time this was to be the start of a long period of silence from the Mi Amigo.

Allegations were made at the time that Radio Mi Amigo crew on board the radio ship had sabotaged the generator, making it impossible for Willem van Kooten's new station to start broadcasting from the vessel.

Some Radio Hollandia taped programmes had been made, using the former Radio Veronica studios in Hilversum. De Hoge Noot delivered tapes to some shopping centres and similar outlets for a few weeks in the autumn of 1978, with advertisers such as Camel cigarettes, K-tel records, and Muziek Express. However, once the Dutch authorities became aware of the real purpose to which the tapes were to be put, advertisers were warned that legal action would be taken against them if their commercials were transmitted from the Mi Amigo.

De Hoge Noot was dissolved in 1979, but some of the people behind Radio Hollandia went on to become involved in other offshore radio stations - Radio Paradijs in 1981 and Radio Monique in 1984.

Radio Mauritius

Reports circulated in spring 1980 that a Greek cargo vessel had been converted into a floating radio station in a (unspecified) harbour in Greece. The plan was to anchor the vessel off Zeebrugge, Belgium and broadcast as Radio Mauritius International.

However, nothing more was heard of the project or of Radio Mauritius.

Radio Condor

Yet another offshore radio station planned to take to the air off the Dutch coast at the end of July 1973. During the early summer two Dutchmen Steph Willemsen and Gerrit Elferink purchased an ex-Icelandic trawler, Emma and started to fit her out as a radio ship at IJmuiden in Holland.

A 500 watt medium wave transmitter was built using parts from the former Capital Radio and Radio 270 10Kw RCA transmitter, which was tuned to 1115kHz (269m). Claims were also made that an FM transmitter had been installed on board the vessel, but there is no evidence that this was ever used.

The proposed station, using the call sign Radio Condor, was to carry no commercials and have an easy listening music format with 'humanitarian, social and religious programmes', including airtime purchased by Dutch  evangelist broadcasters Johan Maasbach and Rev Dominee Toornvliet, who also backed the station financially.

The vessel,now renamed Zondaxonagon, left IJmuiden on 30th July 1973 and anchored  in international waters off Zandvoort. A number of test transmissions were claimed to have been made at the beginning of August, but on 10th August 1973 the ship's anchor chain broke and she was forced to return to port. After the Zondaxonagon had been towed into IJmuiden the Dutch Shipping Inspectorate declared her to be unseaworthy and within a few weeks she was sold for scrap.

However, after the sale the vessel was secretly towed out of port late in the evening of 25th September 1973, and once outside territorial waters, was re-purchased by Steph Willemsen. But Radio Condor did not  reappear on the airwaves because  within a few weeks  the Zondaxonagon had been acquired by yet another offshore radio station owner, Adriaan van Landschoot, who was about to transfer Radio Atlantis away from Radio Caroline’s ship, Mi Amigo.

Radio Veronica CNBC Radio Dolfijn Radio 227 Radio Veronica Radio North Sea International (RNI) Capital Radio Radio Caroline 1970's Radio Atlantis Radio Seagull Radio Mi Amigo Radio Delmare Radio Mi Amigo 272 Radio Paradijs Radio Monique Radio 819 Radio 558 Sponsorship opportunity  available here!

Contact:- orm@offshoreradiomuseum.co.uk

Netherlands/Belgium Timelines