Television in the Netherlands

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Television in the Netherlands was introduced in 1951. In the Netherlands, the television market is divided between a number of commercial networks, such as RTL Nederland, and a system of public broadcasters sharing three channels, NPO 1, NPO 2, and NPO 3. Imported programmes (except those for children), as well as news interviews with responses in a foreign language, are almost always shown in their original language, with subtitles.[1]


In the Netherlands, television can be watched analog or digital (the latter with the option of HDTV or 3D). Over 2013, 78.3% of Dutch viewers received television digitally.[2] Watching analogue television can only be done via most cable operators and some Fiber to the home providers, since the Dutch government ended reception via airwaves in 2006. Watching digital television is possible through a variety of ways, the most common being:

Which television channels can be received is heavily dependent on the operator and in most cases also the channel package that is paid for. However, there is a small selection of channels that every operator must carry. For 2014, these are the following channels:[3]

Public channels[edit]

The Netherlands has three nationwide channels for publicly funded television (NPO). These channels can only make a fixed maximum amount of money from commercials. These commercials never interrupt broadcasts, and are only shown in between shows. The broadcasting organisations that use these channels are basically representative of the Dutch society. Every broadcasting company has members and the number of members gives them a status that is connected to the number of hours of broadcasting. If you are planning to 'go public' on Dutch television you need to have 50.000 members and something new to add to the existing broadcasting conglomerate. Granting or refusal of entry is decided politically on the guidance of public opinion.

In 2005 there was a sharp political debate over government plans to cut funding to public broadcasters and to abolish statutory broadcaster NPS.


The three national television channels are:


The six digital television channels that are provided by the Nederlandse Publieke Omroep organisation, are:


There is also an international public channel:

  • BVN, shared with Belgium's publicly funded Flemish television channel VRT. It shows the best of Dutch and Flemish public television, specifically for Dutch and Flemish viewers abroad.


Most regions and provinces have their own television channel as well. These also receive government funding:

Commercial channels[edit]


Thematic and Premium[edit]


The following (international) commercial channels broadcast localized versions of their programs:

Cable and satellite[edit]

Many cable and satellite providers also broadcast 'domestic television' networks free; that is to say they are provided as part of the basic subscription to the cable or satellite service. Other 'domestic' channels may be received as part of extended packages. Many basic subscriptions include:


In the Netherlands customers can receive high-definition television channels by cable or satellite. There is no terrestrial HD service available nor planned. The first trials with high-definition television in the Netherlands began in 2006 with the broadcast of the 2006 World Cup in HD. After the trial the larger cable companies continued a HD service with a small number of channels as National Geographic Channel HD, Discovery HD Showcase, History HD, Film1 HD and Sport1 HD But because no Dutch network had made the move to HD, already broadcast in widescreen and the quality of the standard-definition PAL signal was good enough for most people, demand was low.

Since the 2006 trials none of the main Dutch networks made the move to HD. This changed in the summer of 2008 when from June 1, 2008, until August 24, 2008, the Netherlands Public Broadcasting (NPO) organisations made their primary channel, NPO 1 temporary available in HD. This made it possible to broadcast Euro 2008, the 2008 Tour de France, and the 2008 Summer Olympics in HD and additionally allowed them to test their systems before the scheduled launch of their permanent HD service in early 2009. The NPO planned to launch their permanent HD service with HD versions of their three channels NPO 1, NPO 2, and NPO 3. Most of the programming in the early stages will consists of upscaled material from their parent channels as in time more programs will become available in HD.[5] Technicolor Netherlands, the company responsible for the technical realisation of the broadcasts of the NPOs television and radio channels, began the summer 2008 test broadcast of NPO 1 HD in 720p/50 as the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) recommends. During the test period an additional 1080i/25 version of the channel was made available to the cable companies because of quality complaints from viewers. No information has been made available what the format of the permanent HD service from the NPO will be.

The commercial broadcasting organization in the Netherlands the SBS Broadcasting Group (NET 5, SBS 6, Veronica) and the channels of RTL Nederland are currently available in HD via cable and satellite.

This is a non comprehensive list of HD channels available in the Netherlands.

  • NPO 1 HD
  • NPO 2 HD
  • NPO 3 HD
  • RTL 4 HD
  • RTL 5 HD
  • RTL 7 HD
  • RTL 8 HD
  • RTL Z HD
  • SBS 6 HD
  • NET5 HD
  • Veronica HD
  • SBS 9 HD
  • Fox HD
  • Discovery Channel HD
  • Animal Planet HD
  • TLC HD
  • Eurosport HD
  • Eurosport 2 HD
  • Film1 Premiere HD
  • Film1 Action HD
  • Film1 Comedy & Kids HD
  • Film1 Spotlight HD
  • Film1 Sundance HD
  • HBO HD
  • HBO 2 HD
  • HBO 3 HD
  • History HD
  • National Geographic Channel HD
  • Nat Geo Wild HD
  • Sport1 Select HD
  • Sport1 Voetbal HD
  • Fox Sports 1 Eredivisie HD
  • Fox Sports 2 HD
  • Fox Sports 3 Eredivisie HD
  • Fox Sports 4 HD
  • Fox Sports 5 Eredivisie HD
  • Fox Sports 6 HD
  • FOXlife HD
  • 24Kitchen HD
  • Nat Geo Wild HD
  • Food Network HD
  • Travel Channel HD
  • BravaHD
  • MTV Live HD
  • MTV HD
  • Comedy Central HD
  • Nickelodeon HD
  • Spike HD
  • HD
  • Fashion TV HD
  • E! HD
  • Disney Channel HD
  • Disney XD HD

Also available on many platforms:

  • BBC One HD
  • BBC Two HD
  • VRT één HD
  • VRT Canvas HD
  • Das Erste HD
  • ZDF HD
  • Arte HD

Satellite viewers can receive a number of additional HD channels from the surrounding countries when broadcasting free-to-air. But these channels are not part of HD services offered in the Netherlands nor broadcast programming aimed at the Dutch market.

Defunct or rebranded channels[edit]

  • The Box (1995 - 30 April 2007), replaced by Comedy Central (Netherlands) (30 April 2007 – present)
  • Consumenten 24 (formerly Consumenten TV)
  • Euro 7 (19 October 1994 - 28 March 1997)
  • Fox Kids (2 August 1997 - 12 February 2005), rebranded by Jetix (13 February 2005 - 31 December 2009) followed by Disney XD (1 January 2010 – present)
  • Geschiedenis 24 (formerly Geschiedenis)
  • Het Gesprek (2 October 2007 - 21 August 2010)
  • Kindernet (1 March 1998 - 2003, 4 April 2011 - 1 November 2013)
  • RTL Véronique (2 October 1989 - 17 September 1990), rebranded by RTL 4 (18 September 1990 – present)
  • Spirit 24 (formerly Geloven)
  • Sport 7 (18 August 1996 - 8 December 1996)
  • Sterren 24 (formerly
  • Talpa (13 August 2005 - 15 December 2005), rebranded by Tien (16 December 2005 - 17 August 2007) followed by RTL 8 (18 August 2007 – present)
  • TV10 (never launched due to license problems, 1989)
  • TV10 Gold (1 May 1995 - 31 January 1996), rebranded a couple of times afterwards. First by TV10 (1 February 1996 - 18 December 1998) followed by FOX (19 December 1998 - August 1999), Fox 8 (September 1999 - 30 April 2001), V8 (1 May 2001 - 19 September 2003) and finally by Veronica (20 September 2003 – present)
  • Vesta TV (October 1995 - July 1996)
  • Yorin (2 April 2001 - 11 August 2005), rebranded by RTL 7 (12 August 2005 – present)

Television in other languages[edit]

To serve those who have another native language than Dutch, there are few television channels in the Netherlands broadcasting in one of the regional languages of The Netherlands. Those broadcasting in English usually target an international audience as well. Most of these channels broadcast through the internet only or have a very limited broadcasting area, with Omrop Fryslân as most notable exception. These channels are:

  • Omrop Fryslân (Frisian), public access regional broadcaster in the province of Friesland
  • (Frisian), web-only channel for Friesland
  • Radio Netherlands Worldwide (English), produces vodcasts on their website in English
  • ThreeNL (English), reruns of Dutch public access programmes either English subtitled or dubbed
  • AFTV (English), available in The Hague and online, targeting Africans in The Netherlands
  • NOS TV (Papiamento), available on Bonaire and online; local Bonaire TV station.
  • RTV-7 (Papiamento, English), available on Ziggo, XS4ALL and KPN. Rebroadcast of Antillian TV Channels in the Netherlands


Sport 7 TV10 Family7 Euro7 MTV Nederland MTV Europe Kindernet Nickelodeon Kindernet Comedy Central The Box Disney XD Jetix Fox Kids TMF TMF9 TMF6 SBS 9 Veronica (SBS) V8 Fox TV10 TV10 Gold NET 5 SBS 6 RTL 8 Tien Talpa Veronica (2002-2003) VTV RTL 7 Yorin Veronica TV (HMG) RTL 5 RTL 4 RTL-Véronique BVN Zomer TV NPO 3 Nederland 3 NPO 2 Nederland 2 TV2 Nederland 2 NPO 1 Nederland 1

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Television, Satellite & Radio Stations in the Netherlands
  2. ^ Stichting Kijkonderzoek. "Television in the Netherlands, 2013" (PDF). Stichting KijkOnderzoek. Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  3. ^ Kabelraad. "Nieuwe Mediawet". Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  4. ^ Jarco Kriek (July 24, 2012). "Ziggo heeft exclusieve primeur RTL Telekids" (in Dutch). Totaal TV. 
  5. ^ Paulo Lopes (2008-05-19). "Nederland 1, 2 en 3 in 2009 deels in HDTV". Marketingfacts (in Dutch). Retrieved 2009-10-21.

External links[edit]