Lieve Desmet: Celebrating 50 years of TV on the Flemish Public Broadcaster, VRT in Belgium Entertaining and building a collective memory

Introduction: At present, a lot of Western European countries are involved in some kind of celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of their introduction of television. Following the examples set by Germany (1935), the United Kingdom (1936), France (1937) and the Netherlands (1951), Belgium was in 1953 the fifth Western European country to introduce public television1. Like the BBC, Belgian public television was launched by the national public radio network: the National Radio Institute, which had separate services for the Dutch-speaking Belgians (Flemings) as well as for their French-speaking fellows (Walloons). Over the years, this linguistic division (which came and comes with cultural differences) was embedded in the statutes of the public broadcaster. Among other things influenced by the political processes that slowly turned Belgium from a unitary into a federalized state, the linguistic distinction eventually resulted in the establishment of a separate Flemish (NIR/BRT/BRTN/VRT) and Walloon (INR/RTB/RTBF) public radio and television network. In 2003, both institutes, which still share the same building in Brussels but operate completely independent, celebrated their fiftieth anniversary. The commemorations didn’t have much in common apart from some sharing moments during the opening and closing show and a logo, which was specially designed for the occasion. …

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedin