Television in the Netherlands

Television in the Netherlands

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, Nederland 1, Nederland 2, and Nederland 3. Imported programmes (other than those for children) are almost always shown in their original language, with subtitles.[1]



In the Netherlands, television can be watched analogous or digital (the latter with the option of HDTV or 3D). Over 2010, 56.9% of Dutch television viewers were using some kind of digital service.[2] Watching analogue television can only be done via cable, since the Dutch government ended reception via airwaves in 2006. Watching digital television is possible through a variety of ways, the most common being:

  • Digital television via cable operators (in most cases through a Set-top box box with a smart card).
    • Ziggo and UPC are the two biggest suppliers of cable television in the Netherlands.
  • Satellite television
  • Digital reception via airwaves (KPN Digitenne)
  • Internet television (IPTV)

What television channels can be received is heavily dependent on the cable 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 2011, these are the following channels:[3]

Public channels

The Netherlands has three nationwide channels for publicly-funded television (Nederlandse Publieke Omroep (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 twelve digital television channels, that are available through Nederland 24, a promotional name for the set of digital speciality channels that are provided by the Netherlands Public Broadcasting organisation, are:

  • Geschiedenis 24 (formerly Geschiedenis)
  • Spirit 24 (formerly Geloven)
  • 101 TV
  • Consumenten 24 (formerly Consumenten TV)
  • Cultura 24 (formerly Cultura)
  • Best 24 (formerly Hilversum Best)
  • Holland Doc 24 (formerly Holland Doc)
  • Humor TV 24 (formerly Humor TV)
  • Journaal 24
  • Familie 24 (formerly Opvoeden doe je zo!)
  • Politiek 24
  • Sterren 24 (formerly


There is also an international 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



  • Chellomedia Benelux
    • Film1 (six premium film channels: Film1 Premiere, Film1 Premiere +1h, Film1 Action, Film1 Family, Film1 Festival, Film1 HD)
    • Sport1 (eight premium sport channels, main channel simulcasted in HD)
    • MGM Channel (Netherlands), Dutch version, but mostly subtitled
    • Weer & Verkeer (former Weerkanaal)
    • Extreme Sports Channel
    • History (Netherlands), Dutch version, but mostly subtitled
    • Zone Reality, subtitled
    • JimJam, Dutch or English versions available
  • The Walt Disney Company
    • Disney XD, Formerly known as Jetix. Dutch version, mixture of original Dutch content and subtitled or postsynchronized international programs.
    • Disney Channel (Netherlands), Dutch version, mixture of original Dutch content and subtitled or postsynchronized international programs.
    • Playhouse Disney, Dutch version, mixture of original Dutch content and subtitled or postsynchronized international programs.
    • ESPN Classic, International channel with optional English or Dutch commentary
    • ESPN America, subtitled
  • TF1 Group
    • Eurosport, International channel with optional English or Dutch commentary
    • Eurosport 2, International channel with English commentary


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

  • Eredivisie Live, four pay-tv football Channels
  • Travel Channel, subtitled
  • Motors TV, International channel with optional English or Dutch commentary
  • Car Channel, Dutch Channel
  • NostalgieNet, Dutch Nostalgia Channel
  • Pebble TV, Dutch Children's Channel
  • TV Oranje, Dutch Music Channel
  • Xite, Dutch Music Channel On Demand
  • Slam!TV, Dutch Music Channel

Cable and satellite

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 Discovery HD and National Geographic Channel HD. But because no Dutch network had made the move to HD, already broadcasted 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, Nederland 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 Nederland 1, Nederland 2, and Nederland 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.[4] 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 Nederland 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) are currently available in HD via cable and satellite. The channels of RTL nederland are only available in HD by satellite.

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

Available late 2011

  • Comedy Central HD
  • Comedy Central Family HD
  • Comedy Central Extra HD
  • Nickelodeon HD
  • TeenNick HD
  • Nick Jr. HD
  • Nick Toons HD
  • Nick Hits HD
  • Kindernet HD
  • MTV HD

Satellite viewers can receive a number of additional HD channels from the surrounding countries when broadcasting free-to-air including BBC HD. 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

See also


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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