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The REM Island

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Issue: 3 Date: 1st February 2021

Since we've covered virtually every Offshore Fort one way or another, we felt we should include what after all was something of a 'Foreign Fort' the very first Offshore Broadcasting Platform the REM Island in this copy free freature

REM Island Deckhouses & Logo

1. Dutch Press item with REM Logo overlay

It's a privilege & pleasure to have a long time friend & acknowledged authority on Offshore Broadcasting Hans Knot contribute to & edit this feature

Hans has an intimate knowledge of the REM Island which transmitted both Radio & TV off the coast of his native homeland

Radio Mercur QSL Card

2 & 3. Radio Mercur (Denmark) & Radio Syd (Sweden) QSL Cards depicting the ship used by both stations Cheeta I

Watching with interest the success of the Scandinavian Radio Syd & Mercur

And closer to home the infant CNBC later Radio Veronica, a band of businessmen headed by Rotterdam Shipbuilder Cor Verlome set about planning a broadcast service for Holland & the Benelux Countries

4. Radio Veronica QSL Card showing the Borkum Riff

For technical reasons the seeds of an idea to build a stable artificial island base to house both a TV & Radio Station were sown in early 1963

5. Deck House & Antenna sections being towed out on a lighter

With designs approved the island, built in sections began soon after at the Verlome Shipyard, Cork, Southern Ireland, with component parts shipped to the site off Noordwijk, Holland

6, 7 & 8. The REM Island on site off Noordwijk, Holland

The design wasn't dissimilar to an oil platform with legs said to be in 60' of water not an easy undertaking*

* The WWII Forts off the English Coast were sunk in 40' of water (MHW)

9. Video Clip - The REM Island, design, build & in broadcast service

Once in situ the hollow legs were filled with concrete, before assembling a two story 40' x 80' cabin top most during the early summer of 1964

The REM Tower's construction coincided with Radio Sutch's launch above & subsequent boarding of Shivering Sands on Wednesday 27th May 1964

10. Radio Sutch Press Launch by Tower Bridge the pool of London on Monday 25th May 1964

Perched 40' above the sea the platform with a substantial 360' antenna mast was erected alongside a helipad to enable supply by air as well as sea

11. Technician 'scopes' transmitter output

Typically known as the REM Island after owners Reklame Explotatie Maatschappij the structure was manned by a crew of 14 including Belgian & Dutch technicians & crew

12. Video Clip - REM Island Memories

The Radio Station equipped with RCA broadcast hardware identified itself as Radio Noordzee & tested from 19th July & shifted frequency a number of times before settling on 1400 kHz/214 MMW

13 & 14. REM Telecine arrangement using 16mm with film for programmes & commercials

Programmes on the whole were mainline British & American which were subtitled in Dutch but ran the original standard optical English soundtrack

It's assumed that commercials for speed & convenience had magnetic soundtracks

15. REM Press TV Advertisement from August 1964 16. Day one tests, the programme listing

Television tests began on 15th August picking up a credible audience from day one, as a result major sponsors & local firms quickly signed up ahead of the launch on 1st September

17 & 18. Transmission Control Engineer & Hetty Bennink goes live

19. 20 & 21. Dutch Radio Bulletin from November 1963

22. Hoist to platform (Harm Koenders)

Whilst popular with audiences the Dutch Government weren't impressed & set about introducing legislation to outlaw the operators of the platform

Using conventions defining continental shelf limits they had by the 1st December passed laws forbidding broadcasts from structures on the seabed

Directives that no action should be taken to repel the authorities boarding REM, but to protect insurance TV Noordzee voluntarily closed on 14th December 1964

23 & 24. The Delfthaven alongside the REM Island

Radio Noordzee though continued until the 17th December when a Dutch Naval Vessel the 'Delfthaven' appeared a few metres off the platform & was joined by three helicopters

25 & 26. Helicopters arrive on the scene

Just after 09.00 am a Dutch Police task force had been lowered to take control of the platform & silence Radio Noordzee

27 & 28. Boarders on the platform

29. More officials landed from the sea

30. 31 & 32. Official Police vessels are joined by curious boats that ventured out from Amsterdam for a closer look

You'd have thought that these events might have detered the British Fort Based operators

33. REM Platform under Cloudy Skies (Harm Koenders)

34. MV Fredericia in 1964

But in 1964 Britain we were at the beginings of the Offshore Boom, Radio Caroline had only been around 9 months

Radio Sutch had faded & the infant Radio City was a mere 4 months old

Talking recently to Paul Elvey & Tony Pine (August 2011) about these events, Paul knew of the European stations but doesn't remember any detail

Tony recalls "We were British what was happening off the coast of Holland was of no consequence"

35 & 36. The empty & abandoned REM Island in 1971

37. Martin van Der Ven & Hans Knot, take a trip to the REM Island in the summer of 2005

38. Video Clip - Post closedown, more memories of TV & Radio Noordzee from 2006

39. REM just before removal from sea

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