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Hello, here Hilversum

Last weekend, more than 500 monuments in the Netherlands could be visited for free during the annual Open Monumentendag. Each year, this special day has a theme, this year it was 'Icons and Symbols'. After a thorough restoration, Hilversum's Studio 2 in the Muziekcentrum van de Omroep also opened its doors after 85 years. During the same week, a pop-up exhibition 'Hello, here Hilversum' was set up in the hall of the MCO, allowing the building's illustrious music history to be relived. The studios, now permanent home of Groot Omroepkoor, Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Metropole Orkest, can also be visited during free tours. Concerts take place regularly throughout the year.

'Hilversum has a mediagenic image in cultural Netherlands,' says Sabien Stols, communications consultant in culture, who is currently working on several projects within the Broadcasting Music Foundation. 'So what better way to reopen the oldest radio studio in the Netherlands, Studio 2, during the Open Monument Days on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 September 2016? And that in its pre-war glory.'

Sabien talks enthusiastically about the project but especially about the MCO building.

Hidden treasures

You cannot talk about the Netherlands Broadcasting Music Centre without mentioning Rogier Hageman's name. Not only is he responsible for the management and operation of the building, but he highlights its history and its special role in the cultural life of the region. His efforts to reveal the hidden treasures of the old VARA building, such as the restoration of Studio 2 for example, are remarkable. It is amazing how much has happened here between these walls: this is where not only Queen Juliana addressed listeners through the microphone for her annual Christmas message but also where Ella Fitzgerald, Django Reinhardt, The Ramblers and Eric Dolphy once performed. Those 85 years of broadcasting history are finally being made visible, thanks in part to Rogier. What we're so looking forward to is sharing this with our listeners, viewers, music lovers and celebrating the reopening of Studio 2 together.'

The heart of society

'Back in the days when there was no television, radio was an illustrious medium. You have to imagine: no TV, no phones at home, no internet, no mobile phones. Radio was the source of information but also the heart of society. And what about music? Jazz, classical, songs, chansons - the world reached the Netherlands through radio for decades. Especially in the first postwar years, people ate, slept, danced and cried by the radio. Studio 2 was the first professionally built studio location in the Netherlands from where programmes were broadcast. Thanks to the VARA, classical music also entered Dutch living rooms via radio from 1931. In 1995, broadcasting ensembles settled in the building and broadcasting different genres got even better. Between 10 and 16 September, you can fully immerse yourself in facts and details about the building and its broadcasting past.'

The programme

'On Friday 9 September, the doors of Studio 2 reopened to the listening public. NPO Radio 1 and NPO Radio 4 will broadcast from the reopened Studio 2. Also on the programme are "unplugged" 2 MeterSessions with Jan Douwe Kroeske. You can enjoy a week-long pop-up exhibition about the broadcasting ensembles, about radio makers such as Aad Bos and Felix Meurders. There are films, photos and lectures organised around the old and new existence of the broadcasters and their musical highlights. To be visited until Friday 16 September. Check out the website of the MCO Or just come along.

Good to know
An overview of the full programme can be found via this LINK

Ewa Maria Wagner

Besides being a viola player in the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, she works as a journalist in various editorial departments. Among other things, she writes about everything directly and indirectly related to classical music and the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, among others. Since 2014, she has also been active as a reviewer for cultural websites.View Author posts

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