ROTTERDAM - The television- and radio action "Ship Ahoy" for the new Red Cross hospital ship appears to be a great success. At this time, at half past ten, the necessary amount of five million euros has been received. In the course of the night the amount of money will increase even further, is expected.

In the not yet officially opened Ahoy’ hall in South Rotterdam, it has been buzzing with positive activity all evening. Continuously (and from all over the country) the gifts came in by telephone, but also via telegram.

Central to the action is the new hospital ship Henry Dunant. The old hospital ship of the Red Cross is in dire need of replacement. The ship is used to make vacations possible for people who can hardly get out of bed due to illness or disability.


The evening will be broadcast live on television and on the radio. The presenter is Henk van Stipriaan, known for the Van Harte campaigns.

Numerous famous artists give performances, such as fifteen-year-old Heintje, who gave his wages of eight hundred guilders to charity.

The singer without a name performs from the old hospital ship, in Maasbracht. The tears flow freely. "This is the best day of my life", says a 68-year-old woman in Het Parool.

The Singer without a Name has called all her fans, who bought a picture from her to donate a quarter to the Red Cross. The singer has sold at least seven million records in recent years.

* Singer without a name. Photographer: Joost Evers, National Archives / Anefo

Gert and Hermien Timmerman flew by plane from Eelde to Zestienhoven. All available seats in the Caravelle aircraft (several dozen) are sold for 250 guilders each. Then there was talk of a return ticket.

There are also many famous Dutch people on the phone, who often turn it into their own show, such as Rijk de Gooyer, Tom Manders, Kees Schilderoort and Dorus (complete in his recognizable outfit). In total there are three hundred operators.

The most notable guests of the evening are Princess Margriet and Mr. Pieter van Vollenhoven. The pair had a great time during the many performances. The princess has been a volunteer for the Red Cross for many years.


The evening has a series of striking, and often heartbreaking, stories from donors. An elderly woman presented her complete savings account from 35.000 gulden.

There are also striking promotions. A man from Veghel has tied cans behind his bicycle and drives rounds through the village. If he's gotten enough attention from fellow villagers, he asks them to donate money for charity. That has already yielded six thousand guilders tonight.

Also large companies, settings, associations and retailers are amply drawing the wallet. There were also numerous door-to-door collections.

Not everything went perfectly

The campaign was preceded by weeks of preparation. In our country, nine thousand banks are still open tonight, so that there is the possibility to transfer money after closing time. Furthermore there are 850 technicians involved in the program.

The preparations have not been in vain. PTT men who were on stand-by intervened because some of the telephones failed due to a technical malfunction.

An anonymous caller reported that a bomb was hidden in the hall. The police in The Hague has announced that scammers may be walking around, who pretend to be collectors of the Red Cross.

False gifts are also made. With high amounts, the telephone number is immediately requested, so that you can call back, to verify the gift. In this way, several crooks have run into the lamp.

Open the Village

The creators of the program are very happy with the result, but at the same time relief. "This morning I was still walking on the Lijnbaan in Rotterdam at half past five", director Fred Oster says in Het Parool.

"I thought" if that goes well ". The fear of failing creeps over you from time to time, even though you have seen so many actions succeed. ”

(Fred Oster, password, 15-10-1970)

The promotion is already referred to as the Rotterdam version of "Open het Dorp". That program, eight years ago, was groundbreaking for the Netherlands at the time. In 23 hours became more than 12 million guilders. The program gave presenter Mies Bouwman star status.

The amount of money may not be that high, but the "Rotterdamse Open het Dorp" was in any case a great success.

Hoe ging het verder:

At the end of the broadcast, in the middle of the night, the counter ended around the 7,3 miljoen gulden. It is expected that the 8 million is also still achieved.

The ship Henry Dunant was on 24 februari 1973 baptized by Princess Margriet.

Foto: Red Cross
* First trip new Red Cross ship “Henry Dunant”

Converted, the Schip Ahoy campaign was certainly not the most successful television campaign in the Netherlands. Two years later, the Kom over de Brug II campaign raises more than fifty million guilders for development work in the Third World.. In 1974 an action for the treatment of children with cancer yields more than seventy million guilders. This made the campaigns much more successful than Open het Dorp from a financial point of view.

The absolute frontrunner is the action after the tsunami in Asia 2004. This yielded more than two hundred million euros.


Algemeen Dagblad – 15-10-1970

De Volkskrant – 15-10-1970 – Ship Ahoy successful

Trouw – 15-10-1970 – Ruim 5 million for new Red Cross ship

Het Parool – 15-10-1970 – Ahoyhal resembled De Kuip

Het Vrije Volk – 15-10-1970 – A mini-Open-the-Village

TVNZ – 15-10-1970 – Ruim 7 million for the Schip Ahoy campaign

Author: Dave Datema

published: 13-10-2020

story number: 155

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