On Wednesday 8 November 2023,  The Venlo Incident podcast will launch. A shooting right on the border, British spies, fake news being reported: what exactly happened in Venlo on 9 November 1939? In the podcast, history collection specialist Huibert Crijns and NTR director Paul Ruigrok discuss the incident and its far-reaching consequences. They regularly make the link with present-day examples of fake news

The Venlo Incident

It happened on an autumnal Thursday on 9 November 1939. A car with two Brits and two Dutch people drives to Café Backus in Venlo, on the German border. A firefight breaks out as soon as they arrive and the men are quickly dragged out of the car and taken to Germany. The newspapers did not agree on what exactly happened. The Nazis, however, saw the incident as an opportunity. They used it for propaganda purposes, with major consequences for the Netherlands.

Fake news then and now

The incident in Venlo in 1939 has been well documented over the years, but mainly as a political-diplomatic event until now. The makers of the Venlo Incident podcast chose fake news as an angle because of the parallels with the present. Huibert Crijns: “We wanted to make the podcast to show that disinformation, censorship and propaganda have long been standard modus operandi in times of war.”


Want to know more? Please contact Helen Johnson, press officer of the KB.


The four-part podcast series of the KB and NTR will be available to listen to via the NPO and the major podcast platforms. All episodes of the podcast will be online on Wednesday 8 November.