Wednesday 29 January 2020

Dutch public broadcasters launch web service for refugees and expats

fish stall in volendamDutch public broadcasters have launched a website where refugees and newcomers to the Netherlands can access on-demand Dutch television programmes and videos.

The service, called Net in Nederland (New to the Netherlands), features a selection of Dutch programmes, including the 6pm daily news, subtitled in English and Arabic.

National public broadcaster NPO claims that as many refugees have smartphones or tablets, they can use this site to begin their integration into Dutch society while they wait in the refugee centre. As well as programming, the site offers useful information from the Red Cross and the Dutch Government.

‘We chose the programmes based on the subjects covered in the Inburgering (Integration) exam,’ Net in Nederland spokeswoman Bernadette Slotboom told

‘We also have a feedback group of refugees who are journalists, writers, poets and filmmakers who have been here for between three and 20 years. They loved the initiative and helped us make our selection.’

Programmes featured on the site include Het Klokhuis – an educational show for children, De Hokjesman – a show about Dutch subcultures, and Nederland van Boven – a show that explores changes in the Dutch land and lifestyle through aerial photography and video.

Teething Problems

This week’s launch was marred by some technical problems, including browser compatibility issues and some translation errors. The service cost €400,000 to launch, and will cost a further €300,000 per year to run, Slotboom said. It is financed not from tax revenue, but by the broadcasters themselves.

‘We don’t have much money…and we have to check a lot of things again,’ Slotboom told ‘We are planning on touring the country to present Net in Nederland to language schools around the country, and connect with them and adjust [our translations].’

‘Everybody is very happy with our initiative, but we have to prove ourselves,’ she said.

The service is an initiative of broadcasters AVRO TROS, BNN VARA, KRO-NCRV, VPRO, EO, MAX and HUMAN, and is supported by NTR and the NPO. has been free for 13 years, but now we are asking our readers to help. Your donation will enable us to keep providing you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch.
Donate via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.