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REM Eiland, Unique Amsterdam Restaurant Has Pirate Radio History

DutchAmsterdam.nl — A platform used in the Sixties by an offshore ‘pirate’ radio and TV station off the coast of Holland is currently being towed to Amsterdam harbor, where it will soon function as a unique restaurant.

Built in 1964 in the Republic of Ireland the REM Eiland (REM Island) was situated in the Northsea, six miles off the coast of Noordwijk, Netherlands — just outside the country’s territorial waters.

Broadcasting as Radio and TV Noordzee REM (Reclame Exploitatie Maatschappij = advertising exploitation company) was operated by a group of broadcasting entrepreneurs. Their commercial station joined similar ‘pirate radio’ projects, such as Radio Veronica, Radio London and Radio Caroline, which were based on ships.

Territorial Waters

However, the 9 million Guilders (€ 4 million) REM project lasted for just over 4 months, from mid-August to mid-December 1964, before being closed by Dutch authorities.

While the radio ships were anchored in international waters, the REM island was resting on the seabed.

The Dutch government, keen on protecting its national public broadcasting system, hastily passed legislation — supported by several neighboring countries — to extend the national territorial limit of the continental shelf to 11.5 km, thus bringing the island within Dutch legal jurisdiction.

On December 17, 1964, Dutch Royal Marines boarded the platform and confiscated the broadcasting equipment.

Mr. Ed, Rin Tin Tin, and Alfred Hitchcock

Back then the Netherlands had just one official TV station. Broadcasting time was shared between five private associations, with time slots distributed based on their membership numbers.

While its broadcasts could only be received — with a special antenna — in the Western part of Holland, REM had quickly become hugely popular with programs like Mr. Ed, Rin Tin Tin, and Alfred Hitchcock movies.

Thus the people behind REM began a membership drive and one year later the station, now called TROS (which stand for Television Radio Broadcasting Association) joined the Netherlands Public Broadcasting system, where it soon grew into one of its largest broadcasters.

Between 1974 and 2004 the Dutch government used the REM island to measure sea temperature and salt concentration. Unable to find a buyer for the structure, the government dismantled the island in September 2006.

Houthaven Development Project

In 2008 housing assocation De Key bought the island — which was missing its substructure and broadcasting antenna — to serve as a key feature in its Houthaven development project.

The Houthaven (literally, wood harbor) was formerly used to store and transfer wood. It is now being transformed into a residential area, with some 2.000 houses to be built on artificial islands. The neighborhood will also include schools and retail space.

The REM island will function as, among other things, a restaurant. It is expected to open before the Summer, 2011.

Update: The restaurant did open, and garners mixed reviews. Most kudos go to the decor and the view.


REM Eiland: History and Future

Dutch-language only. REM Island, history and future.

REM Eiland Restaurant: Address and Information

Haparandadam 45-2
1013AK  Amsterdam

Monday – Thursday: 18:00 – 01:00
Friday – Saturday: 17:00 – 03:00
Sunday: 16:00 – 01:00   

Email: info@remeiland.com

Website: REM Eiland Restaurant

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