HistoryAn enjoyable experience since 1964
Amsterdam – REM Eiland used to have the purpose of generating an experience. As a broadcasting platform it made sure that millions of viewers enjoyed the first Dutch commercial television. It was the rebellious piracy channel called TV Noordzee that reached a broad audience.
REM Eiland these days is still all about creating an experience, but it now does so in the form of a modern restaurant. The robust and industrial elements of the former broadcasting platform combined with the amazing view still creates a great experience for its visitors. Dining at REM Eiland is dining with a piece of history.
The origin of REM Eiland
In the beginning of the sixties watching television was completely different than nowadays. Very often there was just one television available in the entire neighbourhood, so people from the neighbourhood would gather to watch television. Both adults and their kids would all sit in front of the TV to watch a bit of their favourite shows. Back then, there was only one channel which did not even broadcast throughout the entire day. That is something that we can hardly imagine these days.
REM Eiland was going to change that. An artificial island was built in the North sea, according to the idea of Pieter Schelte Heerema and shipbuilder Cornelis Verolme. Shares were being issued in order to finance the island. The shares became immensely popular; everyone wanted to invest in REM Eiland. They sold 350,000 shares in no time. On August 15th 1964 the moment was there: TV Noordzee became a fact! With hit series like “Zorro”, “Mr. Ed, the talking horse” and “Rin Tin Tin” TV Noordzee became enormously popular.
TV Noordzee, one of a kind television
TV Noordzee was the first Dutch commercial television channel and therefore offered a new kind of entertainment. It was a unique experience for the viewers. The people went to great lengths to be able to receive the commercial TV channel. Often the fathers of the family tried to fabricate their own antennas to be able to receive this new channel. Advertising commercials also made their first appearance. Advertising money rapidly came in, which was quite exceptional for that time since commercials where very expensive. The costs for an advertising commercial was between 6,000 and 8,000 Dutch guilders per minute.
REM Eiland before it was brought into the Houthavens in Amsterdam
The end of TV Noordzee
Even though the popularity of TV Noordzee was great amongst its viewers, the government decided to adopt an anti-REM law. The Dutch government was strongly against commercial television so this law made any broadcasting activities from sea illegal. The Netherlands was not ready for this new type of entertainment so all broadcasting from REM Eiland needed to stop. On 17 December 1964 at 9AM the government entered REM Eiland with marines and policemen to make an end to TV Noordzee.
From broadcast platform to restaurant
Since REM Eiland is an important piece of history for the Dutch, the end of TV Noordzee did not necessarily mean the end of REM Eiland as well. The island was brought to shore and placed in the Houthavens of Amsterdam. The island was then fully renovated into a restaurant, but kept some of its original elements.
When you set foot on the island you can immediately feel the history of REM Eiland. The floor with the restaurant area used to be the old helicopter platform. Some of the old broadcasting equipment kept remained and are now part of the interior of the restaurant. Come and have a look for yourself. Our staff is excited to welcome you at REM Eiland.