Skip to content
3D illustration of media icons and the Dutch flag for our blog post about the Dutch media landscape guide for the Netherlands

A Comprehensive Guide to The Dutch Media Landscape In The Netherlands

Charles Ayling

Jan 19, 2024

The Netherlands is a vibrant and diverse country of roughly 17 million inhabitants. The same can be said for their Dutch media landscape; a modest scene with a wide range of media issues covered.

The media landscape in the Netherlands has traditionally been independent and widely trusted by the majority of the population. There is a broad media landscape with a high level of pluralism and a wide range of national—Volkskrant and Telegraaf—and regional—Leidsch Dagblad and Gooi en Eemlander—daily newspapers and magazines.

Additionally, NOS, a well-known independent public broadcasting service, collaborates with numerous major commercial broadcasting businesses. Also, Russian media outlets in exile, such as the Moscow Times and TV Dozhd, have found refuge in Amsterdam.

In this article, we discuss the Dutch media landscape of the Netherlands in more detail. We talk about the political media scenario, Media Act, and the leading media mediums. Read along!

Table of Contents

The state and government vigorously safeguard press freedom, albeit more effectively in the continental Netherlands than in their outlying provinces.

Moreover, the majority of Dutch journalists are individuals of the Dutch Federation of Journalists (NVJ), an active union that advocates for safe working conditions and fair compensation.

In terms of the legal structure, while a strong legal framework successfully protects press freedom, the government has failed to provide legally mandated access to official documentation for numerous years.

Most of the time, the documentation requested by journalists was late, erroneous, or incomplete. The powers granted to security agencies to decode communications networks and tap phones and internet communication systems also pose a danger of breaching source confidentiality.

Market Size and Finances in the Netherlands

Historically, expenses in the Dutch entertainment and media (E&M) sector have been greater for non-digital industries than for digital industries. Expenses for 'old school' media were predicted to fall further in 2019 to 5.8 billion euros, while those for digital media were expected to rise to around four billion euros.

Looking at financial documents from various media players in the Netherlands, however, two things become clear:

  1. First, the media environment in the Netherlands is relatively consolidated, with a few firms dominating their respective segments.
  2. Second, digital companies like Google, Facebook, and Netflix are already making an impact. However, estimating their exact market size in the country is difficult. For example, Facebook Netherlands BV sends figures to the parent business, which are then used in financial reporting.

Tip: Learn more about digital trends in the Netherlands by looking at our Global Digital Report 2023.

Dutch Media Act: Rules

The Media Act establishes criteria for public broadcasters and programming in the Netherlands.

  • Programs on public channels: The mission of public broadcasters is to provide news, educational, and children's programming in addition to political and sports programming. They also cover unique occasions like holidays and days of commemoration across the nation and the diversity of society should be reflected in the programming on public television. Plus, public broadcasters get central government funding to accomplish these goals.
  • Limitations on sponsorship and advertising: Public channels may run some advertising, although less frequently than commercial networks. Commercial interruptions are not permitted during programming on public channels. Also, sports and art programs are the only ones that can be sponsored.
  • Broadcaster requirements: The programs on the public system are produced by the broadcasting organizations NOS and NTR. To receive airtime, broadcasting organizations must fulfill a number of requirements. For instance, they must aim to create programs that reflect their vision and have at least 50,000 members.

Additionally, money from the federal government is not given to commercial broadcasters and hence, fewer rules apply to them. However, there are some requirements laid forth by the Media Act for commercial broadcasters and their programs.

They are not permitted to air commercials for more than 12 minutes every hour, for instance. It is forbidden to sponsor news and current affairs programs. Commercial broadcasters are likewise required to abide by child protection laws.

Illustration of people looking at

Leading Media Mediums in the Netherlands

According to research on media trust in the Netherlands, 77% of respondents indicated they trusted the radio, followed by the printed press and television. In comparison, online social networks were the least trusted, with 85% of respondents saying they did not trust the medium.

Some other common media mediums in the Netherlands are:

Dutch Newspapers

Except for Sundays and several public holidays, Dutch newspapers are published every day in the Netherlands. There are now 27 daily newspapers in print, with 10 being national, 16 being regional, and one being local. Some regional newspapers in the Netherlands also publish versions for smaller regions.

There are ten national newspapers in the Netherlands. According to the circulation data published in 2017, these are ranked as follows:

  1. De Telegraaf: Based in Amsterdam, the newspaper has a populist, right-wing leaning, and while it has some sensational stories, it takes a serious tone when it comes to real news and sports coverage.
  2. Algemeen Dagblad: The Rotterdam-based newspaper is politically and religiously impartial. Local dailies in Rotterdam, Utrecht, and The Hague carry a regional supplement.
  3. Metro: Based in Amsterdam, Metro is the third most popular newspaper by circulation and the only one that is free. 
  4. De Volkskrant: The Amsterdam-based daily was previously a center-left Catholic broadsheet. In the 1960s, it became a left-wing journal, but in 1980, it began to modify its attitude. It is presently regarded as a medium-sized centrist alliance.
  5. NRC Handelsblad: Based in Rotterdam, the NRC Handelsblad is a daily evening newspaper that is considered quite progressive. Furthermore, it is often regarded as the country's official newspaper, providing high-quality editorial and news-gathering services.
  6. Trouw
  7. Het Financieele Dagblad
  8. Reformatorisch Dagblad
  9. NRC Next
  10. Het Financieele Dagblad

Are you looking for specific newspapers and publications to start your print monitoring journey? Here you find a list of the largest US newspapers and a list of the largest US magazines.

Meltwater Explore social listening product banner for monitoring Dutch media

News Websites in the Netherlands

It goes without saying that the internet plays a significant role in providing people in the Netherlands with news and other essential information.

Dutch News Websites

While there are many websites that offer news and information in Dutch, the following are among the most popular:


International News Websites in the Netherlands

Furthermore, English-speaking expats in the Netherlands can access English-language news from a variety of websites, including the following:

  1. Expatica 
  2. NL Times
  3. Dutch News
  4. IamExpat

Radio Channels in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, several broadcasting groups work together to provide public radio under the umbrella of the Nederlandse Publieke Omroep (NPO). The NOS broadcasts news bulletins on all channels.

Additionally, there are various commercial and regional stations that broadcast local news, music, and talk shows. Among the most popular commercial stations are:

Dutch Radio Channels

  1. Radio Noordzee
  2. NOS
  3. Sky Radio
  4. Radio 538
  5. BNR Nieuwsradio

International Radio Channels in the Netherlands

You may also listen to numerous international radio stations online by using Real Player or Windows Media Player to stream them live.

Some radio stations that you can tune into are:

  1. BBC Radio
  2. Internet Radio United Kingdom
  3. Streema
Image of a woman listening to Dutch podcasts

Television in the Netherlands

In the 1980s, cable TV's widespread adoption created opportunities for commercial interests to challenge public broadcasting. 

In 1989, RTL-Veronique (RTL 4) began broadcasting via satellite-to-cable, quickly becoming a market leader, which led to the emergence of private television channels in the 1990s. SBS entered the market in 1995, and independent production companies, including Endemol Entertainment, grew rapidly. 

Today, three major parties dominate the television market:

  1. The public broadcasting system
  2. HMG
  3. SBS

Did you know? The Meltwater suite offers TV & Radio Broadcast monitoring as well!

Dutch Digital Media

The Netherlands appears to be highly digitalized, with the Dutch populace increasingly relying on online media rather than linear TV or printed newspapers.

The Dutch media landscape is steadily changing as a result of online media and entertainment outlets. Given that the Netherlands has one of the highest online penetration rates in Europe, it should come as no surprise that audiences in this digitally developed market are increasingly incorporating online media and entertainment formats into their daily lives.

Internet and social media usage has reached parity with television viewing, and since the outbreak of the pandemic, demand for online communication and entertainment has been at an all-time high.

Tip: Learn more about digital media trends in the Netherlands by looking at our Global Digital Report 2023.

Social Media in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has over 88% social media penetration, making it the largest social media market in the Benelux region. When it comes to the most popular social media networks in the Netherlands, Meta-owned properties frequently steal the show – a trend that can be seen across most of Western Europe.

In 2021, WhatsApp was the most popular service across all age groups, followed by Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. In addition to social media, Dutch viewers are more receptive than ever to online video programming, with Netflix dominating the VOD streaming rankings ahead of all regional options.

Digital Print Media in the Netherlands

The adoption of digital media and its integration with print has grown in importance in recent years. While print versions continue to account for the majority of publisher earnings, e-book sales volume in the Netherlands has climbed for the better part of a decade.

Looking at newspaper performance, the move from traditional to digital becomes much more apparent. Younger viewers have shown a preference for digital news media, and according to a recent survey, most age groups prefer a combination of digital and print sources.

For example, only 6% of 13-to-37-year-olds used paper sources to get their news. Within the age category of 50-64 years, this number was roughly 15%.

So, where do the Dutch receive their information? emerged as the biggest online news brand in the Netherlands based on audience reach in early 2021, according to the most recent data.

Meltwater social listening suite for monitoring Dutch media

Media Streaming Platforms in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, there are numerous streamlining services accessible, including:

  1. Disney+ - The newest addition to the international streaming market delivers a slew of movies and TV shows from Disney's vault. This contains The Simpsons, Star Wars, and a lot more.
  2. Hayu is an on-demand subscription service that focuses on all of the biggest and best reality TV shows. Watch the most recent episodes as soon as they air in the United States, or gain access to boxsets of all your favorite reality shows.
  3. Amazon Prime Video is a subscription-based service that is available in more than 200 countries and territories. Your movie and show choices may vary depending on where you are. The majority of the shows are in English, however, subtitles in other languages are available.
  4. Netflix - This video streaming behemoth is a global powerhouse. You can have unrestricted access to its library of movies and TV series for a monthly membership cost. It is available in over 190 countries globally, however, the selection differs depending on where you are.
  5. Ziggo GO - In 2012, Ziggo introduced its online service. Users can view live TV and on-demand video material on their PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. All HBO programming has been made available on this streaming service since HBO's closure in the Netherlands in 2016.

Tip: These are the top streaming services. Learn more about data-driven decision-making at Netflix.

Leading Media Companies In The Netherlands

Every new media and technology that is introduced and every shift in audience trends creates new opportunities for connecting with and monetizing audiences.

Here are the top digital media publishing companies to watch out for in Amsterdam:

  1. The Best Social: The Amsterdam-based firm excels at harnessing the power of social media. They have three divisions: publishing, studio, and events. The Best Social works with customers from a variety of industries to help them rebrand and establish a fresh image.
  2. De Telegraaf: It is the most popular daily newspaper in the Netherlands, with a large circulation, and is owned by the Telegraaf Media Groep. De Telegraaf is well-known in the country for providing readers with exciting news and sports information. More crucially, they run political party campaigns.
  3. MTV: MTV is owned by Viacom and is well-known in the country for broadcasting love and lifestyle programming as well as other types of content. MTV Netherlands also provides music business news and other information to its fans via their website and TV channel. MTV Netherlands has also started broadcasting foreign programming in the country.
  4. Vrij Nederland: Originally an underground newspaper, Vrij Nederland has subsequently evolved into a magazine with a more left-wing slant. This publication is also regarded as one of the most important and thought-provoking in the country.
  5. The Leader-Herald: It is a well-known national online news and information-sharing platform with a large audience that was founded in New York. This online and print media publication has 5000 subscriber subscriptions and over 12000 readers in total. Local news, sports, lifestyle, and in-depth analysis are all covered.

In addition, ranked first and was the most popular News & Media Publishers website in the Netherlands in September 2023, followed by in second place and in third place as the top News & Media Publishers websites in the country.

How To Stay on Top of the Dutch Media with Meltwater

Meltwater Explore screenshot showcasing Dutch media monitoring

This rise of digital media in the Netherlands has also accelerated the growth of media monitoring in the country. Media monitoring is keeping an ear out for who is saying what about your company, your rivals, your sector, and any other issues that are crucial to your business.

It is an essential practice to strengthen your public relations strategy since, when it comes to public relations, you must always be aware of what's happening. Not just with how people see and present your own organization, but with everything else as well.

Meltwater's PR solution can help you stay on top of the latest developments in your industry by providing you with a comprehensive media monitoring service and valuable insights into your customers' habits.

Plus, you can take your company's marketing to the next level by using a press release distribution service, relationship management, media database, and other critical media tools such as the Meltwater Media Relations Suite.

Simply fill out the form below to receive a free demo: