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City and municipality
Hilversum Town Hall
Flag of Hilversum
Coat of arms of Hilversum
Coat of arms
Highlighted position of Hilversum in a municipal map of North Holland
Location in North Holland
Coordinates: 52°14′N 5°10′E / 52.233°N 5.167°E / 52.233; 5.167Coordinates: 52°14′N 5°10′E / 52.233°N 5.167°E / 52.233; 5.167
Country Netherlands
Province  North Holland
 • Body Municipal council
 • Mayor Pieter Broertjes (PvdA)
 • Aldermen
 • Total 46.35 km2 (17.90 sq mi)
 • Land 45.62 km2 (17.61 sq mi)
 • Water 0.73 km2 (0.28 sq mi)
Elevation[3] 15 m (49 ft)
Population (August 2017)[4]
 • Total 89,067
 • Density 1,958/km2 (5,070/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Hilversummer
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postcode 1200–1223
Area code 035
Website www.hilversum.nl

Hilversum (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɦɪlvərsɵm] (About this sound listen)) is a City and municipality in the province of North Holland, Netherlands. Located in the heart of the Gooi, it is the largest urban centre in that area. It is surrounded by heathland, woods, meadows, lakes, and smaller towns. Hilversum is part of the Randstad, one of the largest conurbations in Europe.


Hilversum lies 24 km (15 mi) south-east of Amsterdam and 15 km (9.3 mi) north of Utrecht. The town is known for its architecturally important Town Hall (Raadhuis Hilversum), designed by Willem Marinus Dudok and built in 1931.

Hilversum has one public library, two swimming pools (Van Hellemond Sport and De Lieberg), a number of sporting halls and several shopping centres (such as Hilvertshof, De Gijsbrecht, Kerkelanden, Riebeeck Galerij and Seinhorst.) Locally, the town centre is known as het dorp, which means "the village".


Hilversum is often called; "media city" since it is the principal centre for radio and television broadcasting in the Netherlands, and is home to an extensive complex of radio and television studios and to the administrative headquarters of the multiple broadcasting organizations which make up the Netherlands Public Broadcasting system, as well as to those of many newer commercial TV production companies. Radio Netherlands, which has been broadcasting worldwide via shortwave radio since the 1920s, is also based here.

The following is a list of organizations that have, or are continuing to, broadcast from studios in Hilversum:

  • NCRV (1924–2013)
  • KRO (1925–2013)
  • VARA (1925–2013)
  • VPRO (1926–present)
  • AVRO (1927–2013)
  • RVU (1930–2010)
  • IKOR (1946–1975)
  • NRU (1947–1969)
  • RNW (1947–2012)
  • NTS (1951–1969)
  • IKON (1976–2015)
  • NOT (1962–1996)
  • Teleac (1963–2010)
  • TROS (1964–2013)
  • EO (1967–present)
  • NOS (1969–present)
  • VOO (1976–1995)
  • Human (1989–present)
  • NPS (1995–2010)
  • BNN (1997–2013)
  • MAX (2005–present)
  • PowNed (2009–present)
  • WNL (2009–present)
  • NTR (2010–present)
  • AVROTROS (2014–present)
  • BNNVARA (2014–present)
  • KRO-NCRV (2014–present)

One result of the town's history as an important radio transmission centre is that many older radio sets throughout Europe featured Hilversum as a pre-marked dial position on their tuning scales.

Dutch national voting in the Eurovision Song Contest is normally co-ordinated from Hilversum.


Earthenware found in Hilversum gives its name to the Hilversum culture, which is an early- to mid-Bronze Age, or 800–1200 BCE material culture. Artifacts from this prehistoric civilization bear similarities to the Wessex Culture of southern Britain and may indicate that the first Hilversum residents emigrated from that area.[5] The first brick settlements formed around 900, but it was not until 1305 that the first official mention of Hilversum ("Hilfersheem" from "Hilvertshem" meaning "houses between the hills") is found. At that point it was a part of Naarden, the oldest town in the Gooi area.

Interior of a farm near Hilversum, a 19th-century drawing by Johannes Bosboom

Farming, raising sheep and some wool manufacturing were the means of life for the Gooi in the Middle Ages. In 1424, on 21 March at 6:30 am (the hour at which people got up, as the farm was full of restless and loud animals), Hilversum received its first official independent status. This made possible further growth in the village because permission from Naarden was no longer needed for new industrial development. The town grew further in the 17th century when the Dutch economy as a whole entered its age of prosperity, and several canals were built connecting it indirectly to Amsterdam. In 1725 and 1766 large fires destroyed most of the town, leveling parts of the old townhouse and the church next to it. The town overcame these setbacks and the textile industry continued to develop, among other ways by devising a way to weave cows' hair. In the 19th century a substantial textile and tapestry industry emerged, aided by a railway link to Amsterdam in 1874. From that time the town grew quickly with rich commuters from Amsterdam moving in, building themselves large villas in the wooded surroundings, and gradually starting to live in Hilversum permanently. Despite this growth, Hilversum was never granted city rights so it is still referred to by many locals as "het dorp," or "the village."

For the 1928 Summer Olympics in neighboring Amsterdam, it hosted all of the non-jumping equestrian and the running part of the modern pentathlon event.[6] The city was the headquarters of the German ground forces (Heer) in the Netherlands[citation needed].

The Nederlandse Seintoestellen Fabriek (NSF) company established a professional transmitter and radio factory in Hilversum in the early 1920s, growing into the largest of its kind in the Netherlands, and in 1948 being taken over by Philips. By then the textile industry had started its decline; only one factory, Veneta, managed to continue into the 1960s, when it also had to close its doors. Another major industry, the chemical factory IFF, also closed by the end of the 1960s. In the meantime, almost all Dutch radio broadcasting organizations (followed by television broadcasters in the 1950s) established their headquarters in Hilversum and provided a source of continuing economic growth. The concentration of broadcasters in Hilversum has given it its enduring status as the media city for the Netherlands.

In 1964, the population reached a record high – over 103,000 people called Hilversum home. The current population hovers around 85,000. Several factors figure into the decline: one is the fact that the average family nowadays consists of fewer people, so fewer people live in each house; second, the town is virtually unable to expand because all the surrounding lands were sold by city architect W.M. Dudok to the Goois Natuurreservaat (nl). The third reason for this decline of the population was because the property values were increasing rapidly in that moment of time, and many people were forced to move to less expensive areas in the Netherlands.

Some sources blame connections in the television world for attracting crime to Hilversum; the town has had to cope with mounting drug-related issues in a community with higher than average unemployment and ongoing housing shortage.

Hilversum was one of the first towns to have a local party of the populist movement called Leefbaar ("liveable"). Founded by former social-democrat party strongman Jan Nagel, it was initially held at bay for alderman positions. In 2001, Nagel from 'Leefbaar Hilversum' teamed up with 'Leefbaar Utrecht' leaders to found a national 'Leefbaar Nederland' party. By strange coincidence, in 2002 the most vocal 'Leefbaar Rotterdam' politician Pim Fortuyn was shot and killed by an animal rights activist at Hilversum Media Park just after finishing a radio interview. This happened, however, after a break between Fortuyn and Nagel during a Leefbaar Nederland board meeting in Hilversum on Fortuyn's anti-Islamic viewpoints.

The town of Hilversum has put a great deal of effort into improvements, including a recent renovation to its central train station, thorough renovation of the main shopping centre (Hilvertshof), and development of new dining and retail districts downtown including the "vintage" district in the Leeuwenstraat. Several notable architectural accomplishments include the Institute for Sound and Vision,[7] and Zanderij Crailoo (nl), the largest man-made wildlife crossing in the world.

The nearby Media Park was the scene of the 2002 assassination of politician Pim Fortuyn, and of a January 29, 2015 fake gunman demanding airtime at Nederlandse Omroep Stichting's headquarters.

The population declined from 103,000 in 1964 to 84,000 in 2006.


St. Vitus Church (architect Pierre Cuypers, construction Karel de Bazel), in a watercolor by K.P.C. de Bazel

The large Catholic neo-gothic St. Vitus church (P.J.H. Cuypers, 1892, bell tower 96 metres).

The city played host to many landscape artists during the 19th century, including Barend Cornelis Koekkoek.

The 1958 Eurovision Song Contest took place in Hilversum.


The video of the opening of the bridge over the railway in 1930 by the mayor Lambooy

Hilversum is well connected to the Dutch railway network, and contains three stations:

One can get the best connections from the station Hilversum, as this is an Intercity station.

Local government[edit]

Dutch Topographic map of the city of Hilversum, March 2014
Hilversum city centre

The municipal council of Hilversum consists of 37 seats, which are divided as followed since the last local election of 2014:[8]

  • D66 – 8 seats (9 seats originally, but one politician separated and started his own party)
  • Hart voor Hilversum - 6 seats
  • VVD – 6 seats
  • SP – 4 seats
  • PvdA – 3 seats
  • CDA – 3 seats
  • GroenLinks – 3 seats
  • ChristenUnie – 2 seats
  • Hilversum 1 - 1 seat
  • Leefbaar Hilversum – 1 seat
  • Fractie Demircan - 1 seat (originally part of D66)


After the 2014 elections, the municipal government was made up of eldermen from the political parties D66, VVD, SP and CDA. Hart voor Hilversum originally joined in the negotiations to form the local government, but an agreement could not be reached. Hart voor Hilversum is now the largest party in opposition.

The mayor of Hilversum is Pieter Broertjes, former lead editor of the Volkskrant, a nationwide distributed newspaper.

It was the first city with a "Leefbaar" party (which was intended as just a local party). Today, Leefbaar Hilversum has been reduced to only 1 seat, but some other parties have their origins in Leefbaar Hilversum:

  • Hart voor Hilversum. Originated from a Leefbaar Hilversum separation party called DLPH, which won 1 seat in the 2006 elections. Leadership was taken over in 2006 by Leonie Sazias, a TV celebrity. Leonie Sazias later changed the party name to Hart voor Hilversum. She won 3 seats in the 2010 elections and increased her influence to 6 seats in 2014.
  • Hilversum 1. Was founded by Hans Roos, originally a council member for Hart voor Hilversum, but due to disagreements with the party on the list of candidates for the elections in 2014, decided to split and start his own party in 2013.[9]

Notable residents[edit]

Sound and Vision (Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid)
Shopping district Noordse Bosje
Media Park, Hilversum

Notable people born in Hilversum:


  1. ^ "College van Burgemeester en Wethouders" [Board of mayor and aldermen] (in Dutch). Gemeente Hilversum. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "Kerncijfers wijken en buurten" [Key figures for neighbourhoods]. CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2014. 
  3. ^ "AHN Postcode tool for 1217JE". Actueel Hoogtebestand Nederland (in Dutch). Het Waterschapshuis. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  4. ^ "Bevolkingsontwikkeling; regio per maand" [Population growth; regions per month]. CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 27 October 2017. Retrieved 27 October 2017. 
  5. ^ "Hilversum: Overview - History". Iguide.travel. Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  6. ^ 1928 Summer Olympics official report. pp. 271–8.
  7. ^ "Beeld en Geluid". Experience.beeldengeluid.nl. Archived from the original on 18 November 2009. 
  8. ^ Hilversum. "Gemeenteraadsleden en fractiemedewerkers - Hilversum". www.hilversum.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 2016-11-04. 
  9. ^ regio, dichtbij.nl – nieuws en informatie uit de (2013-12-16). "Hans Roos door als Hilversum 1". dichtbij.nl. Retrieved 2016-11-04. 

External links[edit]