May 25, 2018

Dutch Donald Duck weekly now available in Braille

Filed under: Dutch first,Literature by Orangemaster @ 3:13 pm


The Dutch often say that everybody in the country grew up reading the Donald Duck weekly magazine, but then that didn’t include the visually impaired.

Yesterday, Dedicon from Grave, Gelderland, a company that has been specialising in books for the visually impaired for 60 years, published a Braille edition of the classic, with accompanying audio. The Braille weekly is 10 cm thick.

Dedicon does not know yet if it can produce more versions, as it first needs to see if the target group likes the product.

Fun fact: In Dutch, Daisy Duck is called Katrien and the nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie and Kwik, Kwek and Kwak, the latter being the sound a duck makes in Dutch.

Read more about Donald Duck in the Netherlands:

Donald Duck Junior mag for children that don’t read

Donald Duck a big hit in the Frisian language

Donald Duck magazine takes kids’ money for copyright lesson

(Link and photo:

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June 3, 2014

Donald Duck is getting married! Or is he?

Filed under: Comics by Orangemaster @ 8:52 pm

Donald Duck magazine is such a national institution in the Netherlands that when editor Thomas Roep quit after 39 years, it made the national news. The on-again off-again relationship between Donald Duck and Daisy Duck (called ‘Katrien’, or ‘Catherine’ in Dutch) will soon be a thing of the past here in the Netherlands, although the story line was bought from Denmark. In fact, the Netherlands and Denmark are the world’s biggest producers of Donald Duck stories.

Will the wedding actually take place? Who will Donald’s nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie (in Dutch, Kwik, Kwek and Kwak) live with now? And what will Scrooge McDuck (in Dutch, Dagobert) cough up as a wedding present?

Way back when Disney was running Donald’s life in the 1950s, Daisy was portrayed as Donald’s long-term girlfriend, but after some nightmares Donald got cold feet and ran off to join the French Foreign Legion. Daisy then had other boyfriends, mostly sailors who eventually had to take off to war as well.

The Dutch press and surely the fans are worried that if the pair do tie the knot, the comic strip will come to an end. The Danes were inspired by the 1998 British-American film Sliding Doors, which features two separate story lines. Parodies of Dutch celebs will also be featured in the comic book, as they often do. And there are also spoilers that even I won’t read or tell you about.


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September 20, 2013

Dutch Little Golden Books turn 60, publisher celebrates with ‘giga’ version

Filed under: Literature by Branko Collin @ 7:45 pm

The famous Little Golden Books, a series of children’s book originally published by Simon and Schuster in the USA, have always been popular in the Netherlands.

The booklets with the golden spine were first published in 1942. It took 11 years for the series to get its launch in the Netherlands with a translation of Little Peewee, or Now Open the Box. This year Dutch publisher Rubinstein celebrates the 60th anniversary of the series in the Netherlands with a large format release of the translated booklet.

According to Holly Moors, the success of the series in the Netherlands is due “largely because Annie M.G. Schmidt improved the American versions irreparably.” Moors has a photo of his 2-metre-tall son (?) Rik reading the book for comparison. The Giga Golden Book, as Rubinstein calls it, has 14 extra pages that were in the American original but not in the Dutch translation of 1953.

The early 1950s must have been a good year for American cultural exports to the Netherlands (so close after the war). In 1952 the Donald Duck weekly was launched in this country and that publication is also still going strong.

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April 16, 2013

Thom Roep quits as Donald Duck editor after 39 years

Filed under: Comics by Branko Collin @ 2:14 pm

Comics writer Thom Roep (61) has announced in an interview with that he will quit as Editor-in-Chief of one of the country’s most successful magazines of the past 50 years, Donald Duck.

Roep said the growing importance of the Internet for the franchise was his reason for leaving. All the major Disney characters have Dutch Twitter accounts and Roep feels that “it is no longer credible that I lead a team that is concerned with, and enthusiastic about, things that just do not mean as much to me. I am so old-fashioned that I read tweets from paper. I am a paper man. That is why it is time for a younger person to take over, somebody who is interested in the digital side of things. I do not want to be a pretender.”

Donald Duck was founded in 1952 as a weekly when other countries already had Disney magazines. The magazine managed to sell at least 300,000 issues each week until recently, mainly because it relies on subscriptions. Roep thinks its success stems from the fact that “[the magazine] is passed from generation to generation. Parents want to give their children the same pleasant childhood memories as they had. Let’s be honest though: if the magazine did not exist and it was started now, it would not manage to sell 10% of what we sell now. Would a white duck in a sailor suit be successful?”

Sales figures have been dropping—currently they are at 278,000 issues—and publisher Sanoma have been producing themed issues to get more advertisers on board. Today a special issue about the inauguration of the new king was released (see illustration). It contains a story, Abduckation, that according to Roep refers to a famous saying that was popular around the time Beatrix became queen. I am guessing this refers to ‘geen woning, geen kroning’ (no coronation when there is a shortage of houses), the slogan under which squatters disrupted Beatrix’s inauguration.

Roep wants to return to writing comics. In the past he has written the Douwe Dabbert series which was drawn by Piet Wijn.

See also: Students prefer Donald Duck magazine over serious newspaper.

Disclaimer: I have written stories for Donald Duck magazine.

(Image: Donald Duck)

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April 18, 2012

Donald Duck a big hit in the Frisian language

Filed under: Comics,Dutch first by Orangemaster @ 1:50 pm

Created in 1952, the Donald Duck weekly magazine has just been translated into Frisian, the language today’s kids would associate with speed skater Sven Kramer and supermodel Doutzen Kroes. After just three days, Donald Duck is almost sold out, with only 10,000 copies left of the original 40,000, enough to supply one tenth of the Frisian-speaking population. Donald is still speaking Dutch here, but he is doing something typically Frisian: fierljeppen (far-leaping). Frisian, as well as English, German and Dutch, are part of the same language group of West Germanic languages.

As of 27 April, they’ll print more magazines to meet the rising demand, which I would imagine also makes it a collector’s item. Just this year, we had the First ever national advert entirely in Frisian and if cutie pies like Sven and Doutzen speak Frisian, it’s bound to be increasingly trendy.


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January 21, 2012

Donald Duck does not live in Friesland

Filed under: Comics by Branko Collin @ 3:10 pm

The Dutch weekly Donald Duck magazine celebrates its sixtieth birthday this year by having the Duck family visit the provinces, Parool reports.

The first of these celebratory issues is in the stores right now. In it Donald and Daisy re-enact the story of the sunken city of Stavoren. If that sounds like the recipe for a classic Barks-like adventure, forget about it. The Friesland themed story has all the charm of a copy-written widget factory brochure.

See also:

Illustration: Donald Duck and his nephews (Kwik, Kwek and Kwak in Dutch) busy fierljepping (a Frisian word that means far-leaping, demonstrating nicely the close relationship the language has with English), source Donald Duck magazine.

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August 29, 2008

Donald Duck Junior mag for children that don’t read

Filed under: Comics by Branko Collin @ 8:42 am

The prejudice that comics are for people who don’t like to read books gained a new dimension this week with the launch of Donald Duck Junior magazine. NRC quotes Sanoma publisher Suzanne Schouten (Dutch): “The age at which children start with Donald Duck [magazine] went from 6 to 8 years old in the last few years. The magazine turns out to be too difficult for many 6 and 7 year olds. Children read less these days. That’s why we wanted to develop a magazine that is much simpler and with which children learn to read while having fun.”

As daily NRC puts it, Junior has “less text, bigger balloons, and simpler puzzles.” I took a quick look at the magazine in the super market today, and noticed that numbers were spelled with digits, and were emphasized. Also, the text mostly used short words, single or double syllable.

Image: SanomaCrossing.

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July 10, 2008

Students prefer Donald Duck magazine over serious newspaper

Filed under: Comics,Weird by Branko Collin @ 7:43 am

Left-leaning newspaper of record De Volkskrant came to a shocking discovery (Dutch): it’s no longer the students’ darling. Instead, university students are flocking to a magazine they know from their elementary school years, Donald Duck.

The “merry weekly” is the most popular periodical among students, beating magazines and newspapers like Intermediair and which consider students and former students to be part of their target audience. So says the Nationaal Studentenonderzoek (National Student Survey) held by marketing agency StudentServices from Rotterdam. The agency questioned a whole campus worth of students (1,775 to be precise).

Editor-in-chief of Donald Duck magazine Thom Roep is not surprised though. “An earlier study already showed that we’re passing magazines like Playboy as a popular men’s magazine,” he told De Volkskrant.

When I was a student our house was subscribed to the Volkskrant. In a “red-pink” town like Nijmegen a subscription to a lefty paper was almost mandatory. As it happened I also read Donald Duck magazine quite a lot but that was because I considered it homework, as I was trying to sell comics scripts to the magazine.

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December 3, 2007

Donald Duck magazine takes kids’ money for copyright lesson

Filed under: Comics by Branko Collin @ 2:17 pm
Illustration copyright 2007 Disney.
– Scrooge: Plus a fine for PIRACY! Ten thousand euro, you sneaky thief!
– Donald: M-mercy! I am so sorry! And I finally BOUGHT the original CD!

This week Donald Duck magazine has decided that their customers should be treated to what amounts to a lesson about copyright. In a two page story (issue 49-2007) Huey, Dewey and Lewey download the latest Jan Goudsmid CD, but only so that they can already listen to it until they can afford to buy the real thing. Donald Duck suddenly realises how much money he could make if he bought a 20 euro CD and sold 100 copies at 10 euro a piece, and starts to put his nefarious scheme into practice. But record company owner Scrooge McDuck finds out and puts a stop to Donald’s plan.

Downloading music for private use is legal in the Netherlands, but selling unlicensed copies is not. The over-the-top moralistic tone of the story caught the attention of FOK forum subscribers, who immediately started pointing to the similarities between this story and the Brein foundation’s party line. The dialogue is preposterous at times. Donald: “Why don’t you guys keep this [downloaded copy]?” The nephews: “But that’s not fair! This CD is COPYRIGHTED! If nobody would buy CDs anymore, the record companies and artists would become beggars!” (Remember: the record company is owned by Scrooge McDuck.) One of the FOK forum subscribers: “They used to print »(advertisement)« about items like that.”

Disclaimer: I have written for Donald Duck magazine myself. Although they paid significantly less than the competing Sjors en Sjimmie franchise, it was always fun to write stories for them, simply because they pretty much let you decide what to write. As a result, stories for the magazine may have a tone of voice that implies grown-ups talking down to kids, but typically the stories are just fun adventures. Moralistic tales like this copyright story are rare. Indeed, in the next story of this week’s issue Chip ‘n’ Dale try to break into what looks like a military compound in order to steal nuts. Their three attempts fail because the compound is well secured – even underground – indicating the owners’ unambiguous desire to keep out intruders. But in the end, the two chipmunks luck out, and end up with a mountain of nuts. Moral of that Disney story: crime pays.

Also: the MPAA is a member of Brein. Disney is a member of the MPAA.

Update December 4: Thom Roep (Dutch), Donald Duck’s editor-in-chief, denies to FOK that the Brein foundation is in any way connected with this story, and admits that the dialogue is a little heavy handed for a magazine that dubs itself “het vrolijke weekblad” (the happy weekly):

Specifically the things that the nephews say on page 25, frame 7 [the bit I quoted before – Branko] should have been a lot less goody-two-shoes, and does indeed not correspond to the style of the magazine, which often tries to look at certain situations with a somewhat cheeky wink. We regret it a lot that this story has caused so much irritation and reactions, and we will definitely stay alert to remain a “happy weekly” in the future.

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October 10, 2007

Donald Duck in Amsterdam

Filed under: Architecture,Comics by Branko Collin @ 1:30 pm

Albeit an American export, the Donald Duck comic is something typically European. For some reason, Donald Duck comics haven’t done much in their country of origin. In the Netherlands however, Donald Duck magazine — subtitled “The merry weekly” — is considered the blueprint of how to make a successful magazine. It has existed for well over 50 years, and has always been a hit, not in the least because grown-ups kept buying the magazines for themselves and their children long after they supposedly should have grown out of comics themselves.

Donald Duck’s adventures often take place in Duck Town, which is a generic city in the US. Whenever couleur locale managed to creep into a locally produced comic, it would be an exception. But the Dutch magazine is now sending its main characters on the road, and is working on a story that takes Donald, Scrooge, and the three nephews to Amsterdam. Daily De Telegraaf reports (Dutch) that there will be gables, canals, and the royal palace on Dam Square (so-called because it is where the actual dam was built in the river Amstel).

Disclaimer: I have co-written a few stories for Donald Duck magazine myself in the past, but I have no ties to the magazine.

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