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Sunday 21 December  
Producer Rob Kievit and presenter Jonathan Groubert
Jonathan Groubert's picture
Hilversum, Netherlands
Hilversum, Netherlands

Thank you for listening

Published on : 30 June 2012 - 3:18pm | By Jonathan Groubert (Photo: RNW/Ashleigh Elson)
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These are the last words spoken live on air by Jonathan Groubert on 29 June 2012, marking the end to broadcasts in English from Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

Listener Andreas Knedlik recorded the last goodbye as he heard it on shortwave in Europe.

-- 'THE END' --

22:52 [Dutch time - Music: A nice cup of tea - Eddy Startz. 1'00"].

This is Radio Netherlands, the Dutch International Service. I’m Jonathan Groubert.
Radio Netherlands, the Dutch International Service. There, I’ve said it for nearly the last time after 65 years on the air.

The truth is, our pedigree goes back to the dawn of radio. That’s why we’re playing Eddie Startz’s Nice Cup of Tea, his signature tune from Happy Station which itself started in 1927 as part of PCJ Radio.

[Music UP .10”]

We’re coming to you now live from Cel Vier or studio 4. This is the studio from which we broadcast everything, at least since I’ve been here, even since we automated our broadcasts. It’s all come right from here. 

So it’s fitting that we end here: live.

We’re just minutes from the very end of the very last broadcast of Radio Netherlands in English. Dutch has already closed and most other services are closing down as well today and there’s been a party atmosphere at the station. This will be in stark contrast with the silence of the near empty building come Monday.

And for this last broadcast, this is how we’re going to go out. Right now, we’re going to start the bells….

22.53 [Fade-under of the 3’00 RNW carillon]

I’m sure most of you recognize this: it’s Merck Toch Hoe Sterck, our interval signal that would announce Radio Netherlands’ arrival to the shortwaves….

We’ll play the bell to the end  and when they finish, we’ll do something different. We’ll play the Dutch national anthem, the Wilhelmus.  And then, there will be silence. You won’t hear from us again on shortwave.

But this isn’t the end.

Our new task, for the few of us who are left behind, will be to build something new and ambitious.

For 65 years we’ve been a broadcaster that had the tremendous good fortune to be totally editorially independent. We were never a government mouthpiece. This was a rare thing during the heydays of shortwave, and it is today.

So as of Monday, we are being asked to look at the world and search for places where the media is less than free and lend a hand. In some cases we’ll be going to them and where that’s not possible, we will help them come to us. It’s a worthy task and I, for one, am happy to do it because, frankly, that’s what we were doing anyway, right?

[BELLS UP for 10 secs]

Hundreds of you have written in over the last weeks. We’ve read all your comments and we feel good. So thank you for writing.

Above all, thank you for listening. Thank you for valuing what we did. Thank you for letting us know it was worthwhile. We are profoundly moved and we hope that sometimes, we moved you too.

As Dr. Seuss said, "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."

And so, on behalf of all of us here, for the last time, from Hilversum in Holland, this is Radio Netherlands, The Dutch International Service. Thank you for listening and goodbye.

22.55 [Words end, while the carillon plays out the last, nice musical minute.]

22.56 [Wilhelmus - national anthem]

22.57 [silence]

This last goodbye was preceded by a special one-hour commemorative programme:

Listen to Radio Netherlands' farewell programme


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Hans Vles 24 March 2014 - 10:16am / Tne Netherlands

Go to

for two great studio portrait photo's of Edward Startz.

Mike Ward 17 January 2013 - 4:01am / United States

As a teenager, I was a big fan of Radio Nederland, which became Radio Netherlands for us English speakers.

I listened to Tom Meijer's Happy Station...yes, I was too young for Eddie.

But Tom was one of my favorite shortwave radio personalities, and I was also a big fan of Jonathan Marks' Media Network. I even got one of Tom's records, a plastic 45 where he covered a Billy Joel tune.

One thing the RNW folks should know...I was one of many Americans who gained an appreciation of the Netherlands from listening to its excellent English language programming. I'll still visit, someday. It was like a beautiful electronic postcard each night on 6165 kHz. (Yes, I still remember the frequency of the Bonaire relay used at night to reach eastern North America.)

Like who were radio fans as teenagers, I eventually went into radio as a professional...I'm a 20-plus year broadcast news reporter/anchor currently plying my trade at my hometown news radio station, WAKR-AM 1590 and its sister stations in Akron, Ohio.

I hope all the RNW folks are doing well, months after the shortwave signals died. I have a shortwave radio again, and every once in a while, I pop it onto 6165, hoping to hear my old friends from Holland...

Lee carberry 12 January 2013 - 6:43pm / England

So very sad that it has come to this.Radio Netherlands helped to keep me sane in dark,lonely times.I miss it deeply.There is nothing like Short Wave radio.It is hard to explain to anyone that is not a fan.You either get it you don't . I do enjoy the internet very much but it is just not the same.
Th recording of the closing words from RN sends shivers down my spine .The music fades and then all that is left is that slow rise and fall of the carrier signal and the crackles in the ether....

Sunil Misra 28 October 2012 - 5:26am / India

I`m shocked!...Have had my association with Radio Nederland since early `80`---His & Her`s ,DX Jukebox,Media Network,Happy Station, of the His&.. prog in which my letter request was acknowledged is still on tape with me...a collection of my dxing days...seems like it`s time to pack-up!every body cannot afford internet which has its own limitations...I`m very sadddened to hear all these radio stations just winnding up,...

Roy Berger 25 July 2012 - 3:02pm

So sad. I caught the RNW broadcasts regular in Montreal. The CBC in Canada has also cut its shortwave service. Now how will we listen to the apocalypse? Compared to the costs of other national expenses, shortwave radio exists as a great bargain. Oh well, until the lights go Grundig is open. 

Colin Wood 22 July 2012 - 8:21am / Australia

After listening to another excellent and gripping episode of TSWI, I followed up on the net only to discover that one of the very best interview programs in the world has ceased. No doubt the programs on my source, ABC's News Radio, will dry up soon. Jonathan Groubert and the RNW team are among the most interesting, honest, helpful and compassionate people on any station that I have heard (and I'm a big BBC fan).
Hopefully they will find another outlet and continue their great work. If not, the world will be a poorer place.
'Thank you' is hardly sufficient.

jkkemp 15 July 2012 - 4:40pm / usa

thank you so much for previous broadcasts longtime swlr you will be greatly missed so glad you decided to keep archive on website at least can replay and remember when thanks again for a great job sincerely

james fr Canada 9 July 2012 - 4:57pm / Canada

Deeply sorry to see it go. Staples of my listening had been RNW and DWelle, now the second of these is gone. Miss TSWI and Earthbeat. Badly. I listened on SW before the internet took over. Years of other shows before the excellent trimmed programme. They even sent me cassette tapes in the olden days of my letters read on the air. Best wishes to Marnie and Jonathon particularly, whose voices provided an anchor during sleepless nights, at 52°15' (which was was another fine show, and latitude). Maybe the budget beaurocrats could actually listen before such decisions. But, the same is happenning everywehre. Kind regards. You will be sadly missed.

Maria B. 9 July 2012 - 2:39pm / United States of America

This is truly saddening news. I have been listening to RNW for a few years and love your programming. It's insightful, important, powerful, and will be greatly missed.

Janet Tollenaar 5 July 2012 - 5:52am / Canada

This is tragic. RNW is amongst the best international radio services. One by one different voices are disappearing from the global community. We saw several other European English radio services fade from existance. With each perspective lost we all suffer from a narrowing perspective.

The native English services are conglomerating (PRI is the insular NPR mixed with BBC pieces). I suspect the other native English will rapidly fall in succession - CBC, ABC (Australian), etc.

Personally I will dearly miss RNW. I will miss the wonderful personalities and incredibly professional reporting by all journalists. Since the early 90s, RNW helped to broadened my perspective by leaps and bounds. What we often forget is that Radio informs and educates all of society. How will we know the experiences and perspectives of the Dutch presented in a balanced way? I'm sure I am not the only one with a heavy heart - I can only hope that the global economy will improve to where rnw can and will return.

I sincerely thank each and every person and RNW for the amazing work over the years. I will really miss you! Janet

Mr. Kanchan Kr. Chatterjee. 5 July 2012 - 3:10am / India

I am old listeners sin 1981. RNW is a beautiful Radio station. you stop broadcast Rnw progranes. So i am Unhappy.

curiousnomad 3 July 2012 - 3:10pm

I am going to miss RNW so much. I have listened for years, and I considered it THE most reliable and outstanding source of news anywhere. It made me respect The Netherlands as a great country (I've visited), and I feel endeing the format and broadcasts was a very short sighted decision by the powers that be.

Thomas Witherspoon 3 July 2012 - 2:46pm / USA & CANADA

Here's my blog post about listening to RNW's farewell broadcasts along with original shortwave radio recordings made from my vacation cabin on Prince Edward Island, Canada:

My best to all of you...
Thomas Witherspoon

Anonymous 3 July 2012 - 3:44am / United States

Yesterday, I had a long chat with a longtime fellow SWLer. One of the things that we have been afraid of, is that various Western governments -- owing to debt, trade arrangements, and the like, go out of their way to be overly diplomatic. That is - "let's not offend anyone. Let's not tick anyone off." Shortwave has the potential to offend. And, its listeners cannot be shut off, or even monitored or tracked.

My suspicion is that while budget cuts are being used as an excuse, what also is bringing some Western states to dump shortwave is that they don't want to rumple the feathers of leaders in other countries. Oh, yeah, they will continue to put out material on the internet, but the governments who don't want those messages heard by their residents will just cut the wire.

Jonathan's words = "So as of Monday, we are being asked to look at the world and search for places where the media is less than free and lend a hand."

You want to lend a hand? Turn the RNI shortwave transmitters back on. Figure out a way to gracefully reverse this move without losing face, and keep on going.

Jeff Edwards 2 July 2012 - 8:35pm / USA

Thanks for be there, and especially thanks for helping me develop an understanding of what the rest of the world might be like while I was growing up in the Minnesota fifty years ago. I'll file my recording of the session along with my cherished Radio Nederlands QSL card from that bygone era for my grandchildren to discover and wonder over when I'm gone.

Steve 9 1 July 2012 - 2:17pm / Brazil

Reposting here from, on 29-06-2012, just in case I get lucky:

I was recording most of the final day's programming, but had to leave my computer at around 1800 GMT and, wouldn't you know, the recording software decided to die a few moments after I left. If anyone has the final (I believe it would be) 90 minutes and would care to arrange an exchange (somehow), I'd be grateful. Specifically, I'm looking for:
* Reloaded: Mindy Ran looks back one final time...;
* Dutch Pop Farewell - Tim Fisher EuroHit40 host Tim Fisher takes a valedictory look at Dutch pop music...; and
* Farewell and Thank You to RNW going off the air at 20:57 UTC
If we can arrange something and there were any interstitials between 1800 and the start of Reloaded, that would be of interest, too (as there were a couple of moments today when listener letters were being read on-air).

Jan M 1 July 2012 - 3:53am / Australia

Just noticed RNW is no more. Here in the land of OZ wre get only Britsh oriented news,background and history information. I and many others rely on DW and RNW for broader information which gets less and less and now an important source -RNW- is gone: we Netherlanders abroad are left on our own devices, don't you understand that we are NL's representatves and ambassadors and 'sell' Holland to our new countries, this we can nolonger do to the fullest, we are left alone; thanks, but no thanks!

E. Jonathan Hardy 1 July 2012 - 2:53am / USA

I feel like I'm losing an old friend. Been listening or 31 years over shortwave. Don't always have internet access when I'm in more remote areas of North America.

The programming has always been enlightening, well balanced and very creative.

Sad that many broadcasters really don't know how many of us SWL'ers are still out here...... losing RCI and RNW in the same month is very saddening indeed.

I'll miss you old friend.

Jonathan P Marks 30 June 2012 - 10:02pm / Netherlands

Posted a short interview with Jonathan Groubert made just before closedown, plus the photos I took.

Jeny Smithson 30 June 2012 - 5:50pm / Spain

Goodbye RNW and all who worked in her. I've just listened to Jonathan Groubert's "last goodbye", and I'm very sad. I found RNW on shortwave around 1990, when searching for an alternative to the BBC World Service. That Service stopped s/w broadcasts long ago. I still hear it on BBC i-player, but its brief has shrunk to little other than news coverage. Tuned in on DAB radio, I noticed that RNW's output was also shrinking. Luckily Johnathan's guests on TSWI were so fascinating that they were worth hearing several times. Marnie Chesterton's Earth Beat was another of my favourites. But I want to thank the whole RNW team - and the Dutch government for setting it up and keeping it going for 65 years (my age too!). I meant to write before, I meant to listen more once I knew it was closing, but yesterday I turned on and found silence. So thanks also to Andreas Knedlik for making a recording of the final 5 min. It's great to know that Jonathan and others remain to start an even more ambitious venture - helping those for whom honest reporting really is a lifeline. Good luck to them, and all those who lost their jobs as of yesterday. Goodbye and thankyou for broadcasting. Jeny.

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