November 9, 2013

Magazine portfolios not too worried about layoffs at Sanoma

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 10:04 am

Magazine publishing giants Sanoma is laying off 500 Dutch employees and shunting 2,000 freelancers, as well as considering axing or merging some of their less popular publications, some of which used to be big names in the Dutch weekly scene such as Panorama, Nieuwe Revu, Playboy and Marie Claire.

I thought it would be interesting to see what is happening to the leesmaps, magazine portfolios where for the subscription rate of about a single weekly magazine you get a whole bunch of them. The catch being you only get to keep the magazines for a week, then they move on to the next customer who pays a slightly lesser rate, and so on, until the commercial potential of the folder of magazines is exhausted. Hairdressers and doctors love leesmaps for their waiting rooms.

Does such a concept even exist outside the Netherlands? In a 2011 interview with Volkskrant, Audax founder Jacques de Leeuw claimed he invented the concept as a 17-year-old when delivering magazines that his father imported, placing the introduction of leesmaps in 1950. An unlikely story considering that the Lité Leesmap was already advertising in the 1940s in De Leeuw’s home town of Tilburg.

Leesmaps have been in decline for years. At the height of their popularity there were a million leesmap subscribers in the Netherlands, but in 2007 that number dwindled to 300,000. Still it doesn’t seem the Sanoma cutbacks will mean much of a loss to the leesmaps. To the latter, the magazines that get the axe already formed the dead wood. The question is how symbiotic the relation between the unpopular magazines and the leesmaps was. Weeklies like Panorama and Nieuwe Revu may even have been able to extend their death rattle a little longer because they were still ‘popular’ in the leesmaps.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

March 27, 2012

Netherlands get its own Vogue magazine

Filed under: Dutch first,Fashion by Orangemaster @ 11:48 pm

Although there’s a crisis on and journalists and photographers all over the country are fighting over jobs, they decide to launch Vogue in the Netherlands. Launched on 22 March, it joins 18 other international editions around the world. Edited by former Dutch Glamour editor Karin Swerink, the debut issue features models Ymre Stiekema, Josefien Rodermans and Romee Strijd.

As long as they don’t make fashion mistakes like Jackie magazine did by calling singer Rihanna a niggerbitch, they should be just fine. And we do hope it won’t be all super blond and Caucasian as well.

(Link:, Photo of Dutch flag by Guido, some rights reserved)

Tags: ,

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

November 15, 2010

New monthly comics magazine Por Dios

Filed under: Comics by Branko Collin @ 1:29 pm

Eppo publisher Rob van Bavel has added a new comics mag to his stable, called Por Dios.

It will contain the same sort of comic strips that adorn his other publication, with a twist: the comics in Por Dios have been published before. Every issue of the monthly will contain one complete long story. The upshot is that Van Bavel can now publish stories by authors that are dead (Don Lawrence, De Smet) or retired, and that new generations can be introduced to the classics.

The name comes from the tag line of Eppo precursor Pep: “Por dios, what a magazine!” The price per issue is 5 euro, while a 12 issue subscription can be had for 50 euro.


Tags: , , , ,

November 8, 2010

My newsagent puts comics mag Eppo in its logical place

Filed under: Comics by Branko Collin @ 9:54 pm

I was looking for Eppo magazine at the Primera Heijm newsagent’s today, but at first could not find it with the rest of the comics.

If you see Eppo for what it is though, a ‘re-imagined’ comics magazine for thirty and forty somethings, you ought to look in the grown men’s section.

Although truth be told, I still think it ought to be put with the rest of the comics. That way kids can also reach it.

Tags: , ,

July 11, 2009

Calvin’s 500th birthday luxuries sell briskly

Filed under: History,Religion by Branko Collin @ 11:27 am

The granddaddy of the War on Fun must surely be Jean Cauvin (1509 – 1564), the French protestant priest who is seen around these parts as more influential than Luther himself. The man was a big believer in hard work and no (earthly) reward, so it is perhaps odd that the trinkets that are being sold in honour of his 500th anniversary are selling like hot cakes.

Brabants Dagblad reports (Dutch) that a small lake of Calvijn jenever has already been sold (500+ bottles), and that the 25,000 print run of the Calvijn glossy has completely sold out. The exhibition about his life in Dordrecht has so far attracted more than 60,000 visitors. It is unknown if all these people gorged themselves on nectar and ambrosia right after, but there are ten restaurants in Dordrecht that offer special Calvin meals. Perhaps just a pea on a plate, who knows?

Novelist Maarten ‘t Hart points out delicately in NRC Handelsblad (Dutch) that some of the rules of sobriety of Calvin derive from Roman stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger, who did not like music and dancing (“[there is] a time to dance”, Ecc. 3:4) and other exuberances, such as wearing anything other than dark clothes (“Let thy garments be always white”, Ecc. 9:8).

Meanwhile, in the same paper (Dutch) liberal politician Boris van der Ham points out that the celebration of 500 years sobriety is also the celebration of 400 years resistance against the Calvinist philosophy. The States of Holland had a session in 1608 in which theologian Arminius pleaded for the free will of people: “And so I think that man tries to think well, want well and act well.” But Van der Ham also points out that the Dutch reputation as being straight-shooters to the point of being rude is firmly rooted in Calvinism. “In other countries ‘sins’ were often allowed in a don’t-ask,-don’t-tell way, here the curtains were drawn wide open. […] If other countries sometimes look with bewilderment at our freedoms, it’s not because of the freedoms themselves, but because we are so open and honest about them, in what is essentially a Calvinist way.”

(Photo: Calvijn Dordrecht.)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

February 4, 2009

Eppo comics magazine revived

Filed under: Comics by Branko Collin @ 10:05 am

After WWII, Europe was treated to full-colour comic magazines, notably Robbedoes (Spirou) and Kuifje (Tintin), both from Belgium. The Netherlands had Pep en Sjors, which later merged into Eppo, which then became Sjosji, which went tits up in 1999 because kids don’t read comics anymore. A bunch of middle-aged men then got together and declared they refused to live in the present.

Instead, they revived Eppo magazine (Dutch), the first issue of which is now in the stores. A hefty 99 euro will get you 25 issues, a year’s worth. The first issue is surprisingly light on advertisements, 2.3 out of 36 pages. I hope that’s not a bad sign. Eppo is first and foremost an exercise in nostalgia; the editors even brought back De Partners, one of the worst comics ever allowed to roll off a printing press. And the mag opens with space opera Storm, just like it used to. (Now we just have to wait for the letter pages to be filled again with debates between Storm haters and Storm lovers.)

I am not sure whether I should cheer on the re-introduction of a regular, mainstream comics magazine in the Netherlands—not counting Donald Duck magazine which is a phenomenon hors categorie. Reading the mag feels a bit like choosing a coffin—surely I am not yet that old? On the other hand, the big guns of yesteryear have lost nothing of their story telling genius. The new Franka reads like Largo Winch (friendship, betrayal, high finance, Ludlum in comic form really), Martin Lodewijk gets ever better at mixing the old-fashioned and the corny with current events in his hilarious spy parody Agent 327, and there’s even a comic version of Havank’s The Shadow by none other than Daan Jippes.

What the heck: cheer! What magazines like Eppo did was create an advertising platform for comic artists (Dutch), as I am sure this new incarnation will also do. That can only be a good thing.

Illustration: 3 panels from Franka story De witte godin (The White Goddess).

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

April 19, 2008

Reverse graffiti embraced by advertisers

Filed under: Art,Fashion by Branko Collin @ 11:04 am

Reverse graffiti is a delightfully provocative art form that works by selectively cleaning the grime off a city’s walls and streets (and by writing “clean me” on the back of vans). It has city governments the world over racking their brains over how to prosecute the perpetrators—how are you going to punish the people that clean your city for you? But officials need not worry much longer because they’re getting help from an unlikely source: the business world. The Dutch version of women’s magazine Elle has started a reverse graffiti campaign to advertise its wares. Surely no self-respecting artist will touch reverse graffiti now that it has been tainted by commercialism?

Elle’s “artists”—in a presumed rush to get as much work done as possible—are using stencils and pressure washers to clean parts of the pavement.

Photos: stills from Elle’s promotional video. See also: reverse graffiti by Moose (UK) and by Alexandre Orion (Brasil). Via Dagelinks (Dutch).

Tags: , ,