Posted in Current events

Explosion of free newspapers in the Netherlands

This week, we got another free newspaper in the Netherlands — the fourth one, joining Metro, Spits and De Pers. Metro and Spits have been around for years and are distributed in metro and train stations.

The new free paper is called Dag, a joint venture between KPN, the Dutch telecom incumbent and publishing company, PCM which has paid newspapers such as de Volkskrant, NRC Handelsblad, etc. Dag comes out in a paper version distributed in metro stations and shops, online and on mobile phones. The idea is to provide the news through all media. The online site of Dag is heavily video oriented.

Dag: a tackier, louder, multimedia version of De Telegraaf

The paper version of Dag is tacky, filled with large photos and sensational, trashy news. Today’s paper showed an outsize photo of scantily clad muscular young man (muscles in the foreground) in a disco hugging a young woman who also wore very little. The article was about the dangers of anabolic steroids, which, according the article, is very popular with young people in the clubbing circuit. Of course the article mentions where on the Internet to get these steroids. It’s clear that Dag is going after the 16-25 crowd.
To me, Dag looks like a younger, more extreme version of De Telegraaf, one of the traditional, subscription-based newspapers in the Netherlands. De Telegraaf is known for large color photos, especially of football games and celebrities. Foreigners who come to the Netherlands and are new to the Dutch language are advised to read De Telegraaf before diving into other newspapers. I managed to understand De Telegraaf’s articles after four weeks of a Dutch language course.

De Pers: intelligent and dignified

Early this year, another free newspaper called De Pers was launched. De Pers is more traditional and focuses on quality. The articles are longer, there are no large photos of celebrities and football games. Their website is more text oriented. I am impressed with the content in De Pers. I’ve been reading it everyday and I find myself reading most articles. They are after an audience that is better educated and older, putting themselves in direct competition with De Volkskrant, Het Parool and perhaps NRC Handelsblad. According to this article:

The paper is on track to reach a circulation of 500,000 by the end of the first month and the target is to reach a circulation of 800,000 in the last quarter of the year, making it the most popular newspaper in Holland. After this period, a home delivery service in certain areas will be launched alongside a subscription service costing just €95 per year.



Author of "The Secret of Angat", a novel set in the Philippines during World War II. Founder,; Founder ( - travel) and (beauty, style).

One thought on “Explosion of free newspapers in the Netherlands

  1. I think free newspapers are a great example of how commodity news is commodity in any media – its not just true on the internet. Then your differentiation isn’t about content, but rather about packaging and marketing!

    Click on my name in this comment for some more commentary of what distinguishes commodity from “premium” in the newspaper business.


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