Het Parool

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Het Parool
Type Daily newspaper
Format Tabloid
Owner(s) De Persgroep, stichting Het Nieuwe Parool
Publisher Persgroep Nederland bv
Editor-in-chief Ronald Ockhuysen
Associate editor Kamilla Leupen
Staff writers 73
Founded 1940
Language Dutch
Headquarters Amsterdam
Circulation 64,000 subscription; 20,000 street sales
Sister newspapers Algemeen Dagblad
Website www.parool.nl

Het Parool is an Amsterdam-based daily newspaper. It was first published on 11 August 1941 as a resistance paper during the German occupation of the Netherlands (1940–1945). The name means "The Password" or "The Motto"

Second World war[edit]

The paper was preceded by a stencilled newsletter which was started in May 1940 by Frans Goedhart[1] and Jaap Nunes Vaz. In late 1940 Wim van Norden joined the group of producers of the newsletter, Van Norden would later serve as director of the newspaper between 1945 and 1979.[2] In 1944 the paper, albeit illegal and vehemently persecuted, reached a circulation of approximately 100.000, and was distributed by the Dutch resistance.[1]

Numerous staff were apprehended and killed by the Germans and their Dutch collaborators. Nunes Vaz was arrested by the Gestapo on 25 October 1942 and sent to Sobibor concentration camp.[3]

After the war[edit]

After the war Het Parool quickly became one of the leading and biggest newspapers in the Netherlands, partly because much of the population appreciated it for being the most prolific resistance paper, and partly because newspapers which had collaborated with the German occupier were banned from publication.[4]

Apart from its main publication, Het Parool published magazines and local newspapers in the Netherlands. A string of locally based newspapers appeared alongside Het Parool, including Het Rotterdamsch Parool (1947–1971), Nieuw Utrechtsch Dagblad, Haagsch Dagblad[5] and Het Flevoparool (1982-1988). These local publications were all discontinued in the late sixties, early seventies, or (in the case of Het Flevoparool) eighties.

Readership reached its peak in the mid-1960s with a subscription of over 400,000, making it the second biggest newspaper in the Netherlands at that time. In the latter part of the 1960s, the newspaper under its conservative editor in chief Herman Sandberg supported the Vietnam War vehemently, which alienated a substantial part of its mainly liberal and leftwing readership.[6] This started a steady decline in subscriptions and readership, which persisted for almost four decades.

Perscombinatie and PCM[edit]

In 1968 Het Parool started the publishing company Perscombinatie ('press combination') with competitor De Volkskrant, mainly to join investment in new printing presses. In 1973 Trouw, also a former resistance paper, joined the corporation.[7]

At the start of Perscombinatie, Het Parool was the leading paper, but due to its declining circulation, De Volkskrant took over the prime role within the company starting in the early eighties, although the owner of the Het Parool, Stichting Het Parool ('the Parool foundation') remained the majority shareholder, with 57 percent of the shares of Perscombinatie (later: PCM, after a merger with book publisher Meulenhoff). This didn't change when PCM took over fellow Nederlandse Dagbladunie in 1995, publisher of daily newspapers NRC Handelsblad and Algemeen Dagblad, in 1992 to become the biggest publisher in the Netherlands.

Termination and restart[edit]

In the 1990s, Het Parool started turning a loss, mainly due to stiff competition and lack of investment by PCM. Several programs, including a move away from national newspaper towards local Amsterdam newspaper in 1997 to counter this, had little result.[8] In 2002, PCM announced termination of the paper, citing substantial losses and declining readership.[9]

Instead, majority shareholder Stichting Het Parool opted for a management bailout of the newspaper, in effect terminating its ownership of PCM in return for the rights to publish Het Parool. The bailout took effect on 1 January 2003. PCM was subsequently acquired by British-based investment group Apax Partners, which led to substantial debts and significant problems for the company.

To strengthen ownership base of fledgling Het Parool, De Persgroep, the biggest newspaper publisher in Belgium, was asked to take a substantial minority share in the newly set-up Het Parool bv[10] alongside minority participation by both staff and readers. As a stand-alone newspaper, Het Parool decided to remain a national newspaper, but with an enhanced focus on its Amsterdam home base.

In the new configuration and after a collective layoff of 43 staff, Het Parool returned to profit within a year. On 30 March 2003. Het Parool became the first newspaper in the Netherlands to switch from broadsheet to tabloid format, a move which since has been followed by all other major and local newspapers in the country. In a declining market, Het Parool was one of the few daily newspapers in the Netherlands able to expand its readership every year until 2011 and remaining profitable ever since its bailout.

For Belgium-based De Persgroep, Het Parool served as a foothold in the Netherlands, leading to the acquisition of a majority in struggling PCM in 2009.[11] In 2011, Het Parool was re-absorbed in PCM, which was renamed Persgroep Nederland. Management of the company was taken over by former Parool management, basically re-establishing the Perscombinatie-situation in the seventies.

Between 2001 and 2011, Het Parool operated its own theatre as a place for debate and culture.

In February 2012, Het Parool acquired Amsterdam-based commercial television station AT5[12] with public broadcaster AVRO and regional TV station RTV Noord-Holland to form a new multimedia corporation, which will also include online activities of both Parool and AT5, within De Persgroep.

Organization and subscription[edit]

Currently Het Parool has a staff of 73, who are mainly based at the city desk, arts and media, sports, foreign and business desks. The paper consists of a news section and a daily themed magazine called PS. In weekends a glossy, PS van de Week, is published alongside the newspaper. Current editor in chief is Ronald Ockhuysen. Het Parool is affiliated with Algemeen Dagblad - both paper share a political desk - Trouw and regional newspaper Dagblad van Het Noorden.

Its daily circulation through subscription, is 64.403 copies.[13] Streetsales will amount to an extra circulation of approximately 20.000, substantially more over weekends. By circulation, Het Parool is the biggest newspaper in the Amsterdam area. The editorial office is based in the city centre of Amsterdam, with an annex in The Hague.

Layout and Typeface[edit]

Het Parool was restyled twice by Mario Garcia, in 2004 (when it became a tabloid)[14][15] and in 2008. Until 2008 the newspaper used the typeface Swift from Gerard Unger. In 2008 the newspaper was restyled and uses the Meta Serif from Erik Spiekermann and the Strada from Pinggera for the headings.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Stichting Democratie & Media - Geschiedenis". stdem.org. Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  2. ^ Hanneloes Pen (29 May 2015). "Parool-oprichter Wim van Norden (97) overleden" (in Dutch). Het Parool. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  3. ^ "Digitaal Monument Joodse Gemeenschap in Nederland" (in Dutch). Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  4. ^ Madelon de Keizer: Het Parool 1940-1945. Verzetsblad in oorlogstijd. Proefschrift Universiteit Leiden, 1991. 2e herz. druk: Amsterdam, Cramwinckel, 1991. ISBN 90-71894-28-2 en ISBN 90-71894-27-4
  5. ^ "Archives". IISH. Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  6. ^ Herman Sandberg (1918-2008) NRC. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  7. ^ History Perscombinatie.
  8. ^ Paul Koedijk en Gerard Mulder, Léés die Krant! Geschiedenis van het na-oorlogse Parool 1945-1970, Amsterdam, 1996.
  9. ^ "Smaling gelooft niet in doorstart Parool". Villa Media. Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  10. ^ History De Persgroep.
  11. ^ "Persgroep neemt belang in PCM Uitgevers". Villa Media. Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  12. ^ "Overname AT5 ook financieel rond". Villa Media. Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  13. ^ Hoi Harde Cijfers Hoi Online.
  14. ^ "The Results of the Sixth European Newspaper Award" (PRESS RELEASE). Editorial Design. Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  15. ^ Mario R. Garcia (June 2004). "Rethink, not redesign" (PDF). Strategy Report 3 (3). Retrieved 6 February 2015. 

External links[edit]