Jul 28, 2010
This was actually my first attempt at making a mini radio documentary, being 23 at the time. Joined Radio Netherlands (Radio Nederland as it was then called) the year before.
In July 1981 I got an interview with the late Professor Lou de Jong (he died in 2005), who worked at Radio Oranje in London during the war. Alongside the BBC Dutch Service broadcasts, there was time allotted to governments in exile. Before doing the interview, I did quite a bit of research into what happened at the offices in Stratton Street. Lou de Jong was a bit stiff to start with. He was testing me to see if I had really done my homework or just wanted a sound clip for something else. I told him I was fascinated in broadcasting history and really wanted to find out what it was like to be a broadcaster in those difficult times, especially working for the Dutch government in exile. So, after a while, he began to really enjoy telling the story even though it must have been the hundredth time.
The Dutch government had a 15 minute slot in which they could beam their message back to occupied Holland, but also, as it turned out by looking at the schedule, to the Dutch East and West Indies. The entire scripts of the transmissions were in the archives of Radio Netherlands building (since the station grew into Radio Netherlands in 1947) before being donated to the National Archives. The original programme was broadcast in two parts, which explains the strange length. More details on the Dutch Institute for War Documentation is here.