Monday 25 October 2021

Dutch paper telephone directory to cease publication after 138 years

Photo: Stijn Rademaker/HH

The printed version of the Dutch telephone directory is appearing for the last time this year after 138 years of publication, publisher DTG said on Thursday.

Both the Telefoongids and the yellow pages commercial counterpart Gouden Gids will be replaced entirely by internet from next year.

DTG chief executive Erik Wiechers, told the Telegraaf the phone directory is ‘an iconic book’, but added no-one was mourning its disappearance. ‘We have three million visitors to our website every month,’ he said.

The telephone directory was first published in 1881, the same year the first telephones were in use in the Netherlands. But the directories were not home delivered then: one had to go to a post office to consult a telephone book.

The internet was the final nail in the coffin for the telephone book. DTG started its online service in 1996 and in 2014, decided the printed directory would be phased out in 2017.

But the directories were given another year of grace: the Dordrecht-Spijkenisse region will receive its last printed version in February, while Enschede will receive the absolutely last edition on 20 December. For advertisers in the small business sector this is a sort of bonus as many directories will lie on coffee tables for a few more years, Wiechers said.

But he admits a lot of people will be pleased the directory has stopped publication. They are angry that trees are chopped down to provide the paper for the underused book, Wiechers said.

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