In my work as an archivist at Radio Netherlands I deal with all kinds of audio-material. Apart from a huge record and cd collection, other treasures of the archives are the many thousands of music recordings done by Radio Netherlands (mostly western classical music, but also other genres like jazz and world music) and many thousands of music programmes and all kinds of spoken word programmes. Some of the oldest material is on 78rpm-records, but the vast majority is on tape. All this material is being digitized, and now selections of it are published and can be listened to on the web.
Besides regular news the spoken word programmes are concerned with big national events, dutch society, literature, art, royalty, economy, religion etc., all produced and broadcasted since the birth of Radio Netherlands in 1947. Altogether the Audio Archives of Radio Netherlands provide a unique perspective on the world at large and on the social, cultural and economic dimensions of dutch society since 1947. Since we’re talking about World Radio here, not only in dutch, but also in english, spanish, portuguese, french, surinamese, bahasa indonesia, afrikaans and arabic.
For Holland the Radio Netherlands Archives have always been a sort of ‘hidden treasure’, but recently things have changed. All material is being digitized now and selections are now retrievable/available via internet, thanks to my colleague Martien Sleutjes who’s keeping a weblog and adding material on a daily basis. Though it may concern only selections, among them are real treasures. So, if you’d like to find out how Radio Netherlands reported about the world and dutch society in the past 60 years in different languages, take a dive in the Radio Netherlands Archives and start listening. You’ll be surprised by what you’ll find there, and there’s coming up more all the time!