Radio Veronica was one of the most influential radio stations in the Netherlands, inspired by Radio Mercur in Denmark.
It was an old lightship, the Borkumriff, near the island of Borkum, that was retired (on this photo under tow to Emden in 1957..
The ship was built in 1911 and served for 46 years in the ‘Deutsche Bucht’, here on a photo from 1934 (notice the nazi flag in top).
And here’s another one – from 1939, just before the ship was temporarely towed in when the war broke out.
A unique document with the names of all shareholders, like De Vries & Lampie (wellknown advertisers for their wedding dress business later on).This was one of two photos they handed out to the press to show how the ship would look (actually, it was a photo of the Kiel lightship with the word Kiel crossed out).
In reality It took them a lot of effort than expected to change it into a radioship.
Here’s another one of the ship in dock.And the RCD (the agency against pirate radio stations) confiscated equipment, like here in Oswalds Amsterdam Beursstraat office (at the left is the notorious D. Neuteboom).
But gradually it turned to ‘Veronica’.
Here the ship was moved to another qua in winter 1960 (photo courtesy of Stichting Norderney).
The old steam engine was tried on april 16th, before departure
On april 18, 1960 the ship tried to sneak out of Emden.
They only had to pass the Nesselander Schleuse
The ship was seized by the police but the brave English captain of their tugboat Guardsman succeeded to get the ship out.
The ship on its way to the Northsea.
And there it was: on the high seas.
And what a romatic ship it was.
Being an old light ship, the Borkum Riff had a superb anchorage system.
Soon their first theme tune became: Ted Heath and His Music – Swingin’ Shepherd Blues.
Bringing out supplies with the first tender: Scheveningen 26 of skipper Jan Groen.
On April 21st, he pushed in the button the start the first ever official program on tape.
Their first – simple studio aboard.
And the improved mixing board
This is where the first land studio was: in Amsterdam, at the Keizersgracht 16.
This is was the HQ of het Nederlands Laboratorium voor Filmtechniek.
Max Groen was one of their first announcers.
It didn’t stay unnoticed.
In the first few weeks the station was jammed by a German navy station in Norddeich.
But soon reception was getting better and a logistic system of tapes from land being played on board was set up.
Here are Jaap, Bull and Dirk Verwey.
At a later date studios and offices moved to Hilversum – here with Joost de Draaijer – and some soundproofing of the poor.
Bob (Krijn Torringa) and Brenda.
Their first QSL-card
This is how the press looked at Veronica, they didn’t really predict a long an bright future.
And suddenly it was becoming the goldmine that everyone expected. Soon they did charity, like the famous Open Het Dorp (Tony Vos kisses host Mies Bouwman), in which they donated 140.000 guilders, six times the amount of Heineken.
Still floating by the way in England as a private yaught.
The studios were getting better too, here with technician André de Vries.
And behind the microphone.
Veronica got itself a new ship in ’64, secretly fitted out in Zaandam.
Testing the hull – you can tell it was beatlemania in 1964
A stockbroker had offered them two sisterships from Hamburg to choose from: the HH297 – Otto Schubert
This is them, steaming up (it was a steam ship!) the Thames on this fuzzy photo.
And this one: the HH294/Paul J. Müller, which they actually picked (photo from 1952).
The first QSL card of the new ship (still no name painted on it)
And one from 1971.
And the last one, from 1973.
On the ship of Dirk Verwey in the Hilversum yaught harbour.
When Radio Caroline run aground in 1966 the ship went for repairs to Zaandam, at exact the same spot where the Norderney was fitted out.
And this is the Radio England ship, yet at the same Zaandam quay in 1966.
And Veronica was alone again (photo © Freek Simon)
Establishing itself even further – here’s a staff photo of august 1967.
You can tell Tineke suffered from sea sickness.
They bought a new studio building in 1969, with state of the art equipment (here with Dj’s Tineke and Gerard de Vries).
Veronica even tried to expand to Germany, according to this (rare) poster – but no German advertisers were attracted.
DJ Tineke recorded programs at home after an accident had made her less mobile.
In 1969 Veronica got itself this posh office in Hilversum.
This is how it could have been too: when money ran out Veronica invested in Northsea to keep them from their door and took the ship in security. They asked a judge to collect it – he said no, otherwise this is how the ship could have looked in Veronica ownership.
The same month the Dutch parliament started to debate the future of the pirates, Veronica director Bull Verweij (l) and program director Rob Out are still in a good mood
But for a while it seemde like business as usual, with the ship back at sea
And Cees Man in ’t Veld reading the hourly news bulletins aboard.
And the generators snoring away.