Public broadcasters were paid to promote the Song for the King

koningslied song for a kingPublic radio station Radio 2 and evening chat show De Wereld Draait Door were paid to promote the controversial song written and performed for king Willem-Alexander’s inauguration in 2013, broadcaster Nos said on Thursday.

Nos bases its claims on the agreement signed between the public broadcaster umbrella organisation NPO and the inauguration committee which it obtained using freedom of information legislation.

The documents show that the committee paid the NPO a maximum of €1,8750,000 for all the events around the inauguration, including the song, the children’s sports day and a party for the former queen Beatrix.

The Telegraaf reported this summer the song cost a total of €550,000. Of that, €150,000 went on the public broadcasters and a further €400,000 was spent on making the video, renting the studio, an app and other activities, the NPO told the Telegraaf at the time. The 51 artists who performed the song and composer John Ewbank were not paid.


However, it now transpires some of the cash went on ‘programme costs’ including ‘editorial attention’ and ‘promotion’. How much this cost has been obscured in the document because it is ‘commercially sensitive information’.

The documents say that the attention from Radio 2 and DWDD would ‘create a feeling of togetherness between all parts of society’. The two channels were chosen because they have daily reach of over one million people and would help propel the song into the hit parade.

The song did reach number 1 in the charts but was lambasted for its trite lyrics and style which included a rap based on ‘the W from Willem’, leading Ewbank to disown it. It was, however, performed in a mass sing-in for the new king on his inauguration day.

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