New Moves in the Netherlands

For years The Netherlands has been a hot-spot on the European pirate scene. Dozens, if not hundreds, of FM stations operate there with relative impunity. The impetus for Dutch pirates has been a cultural one – popular niche music (such as dance and electronica) are all but ignored by the country’s commercial outlets. Pirates have rushed to fill the void, using hundreds of watts of power in the process.
For a country less than twice the size of the American state of New Jersey, you’d think their “radio police” would have little problem shutting stations down. But the State Agency for Radiocommunications, or RDR, has been unable to clear the airwaves of pirates, who often resume broadcasting almost immediately after being caught.
Several tactics have been tried in the Dutch war against pirate radio. First the RDR issued stiff fines against unlicensed broadcasters, but many were overturned in court when the judges ruled that the RDR hadn’t collected “sufficient evidence” to justify the penalty. Measuring and monitoring an unlicensed radio signal is not enough – if agents don’t confirm the actual presence of a pirate transmitter with their own eyes, then there isn’t enough grounds to issue a fine. Continue reading “New Moves in the Netherlands”