Netherlands 0-0 Sweden (lost footage of international football match; 1952)

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The Netherlands team prior to the match.

Status: Lost

On 14th May 1952, the Netherlands hosted Sweden for a friendly international football match at the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam. The encounter is notable for not only being the first live televised international football match in the Netherlands, but also the first to be televised nationwide.


Heading into the match, Netherlands were enduring a poor run of form, having won just once in its last twelve games.[1] In contrast, Sweden had won four of its twelve proceeding matches.[2] The last time the two sides clashed was on 8th June 1950, where Sweden won 4-1.[3] Meanwhile, the Netherlands was making progress in televising football matches.[4] Prior to the country's nationwide introduction of television in 1951, a Netherlands Football League Championship match between PSV Eindhoven and E.V.V. Eindhoven was televised as part of a test broadcast on 10th September 1950.[5] However, the viewership was restricted to residents who owned a Philips television set within the city of Eindhoven.[6][5] Thus, when the Netherlands-Sweden game was televised on 14th May 1952, it became the first match to be televised across the country, in addition to being the first live televised international game.[4]

The broadcast was handled by NTS, with commentary provided by Aad van Leeuwen.[4] Having gained experienced televising the Queen's Day parade and performances at the Binnenhof in The Hague, NTS latest coverage was expected to generate additional viewers due the popularity of football within the country.[4] To televise the game, NTS installed three cameras, with one situated on the roof, while two others were in the stands.[4] Additionally, a transmitter was installed on the marathon turret to transfer the images across.[4] While television sets were generally cost-prohibitive for most households at the time, photos indicate many within the Netherlands were able to watch by gathering in the streets to watch from sets displayed in shop windows.[7][4]

De Telegraaf stated that "the actual image broadcast will continue as long as daylight allows".[4] Thus, the broadcast continued thanks to the clear weather on the day.[4] However, the quality did decline because as the evening fell, resulting in the final half hour being aired in darkness.[4] Ultimately, the coverage and van Leeuwen's commentary received some criticism, primarily due to the occasional drops in picture and audio quality, as well as van Leeuwen struggling to provide significant information early on to keep viewers informed of plays.[4] Nevertheless, his commentary improved even as darkness fell.[4] A review from Groningen newspaper Nieuwsblad van het Noorden praised the broadcast's quality, noting that there was "Decent TV reception in Groningen."[4] The match itself was of low-quality, ending in a goalless draw in front of 64,500 in attendance.[8][4]


Ultimately, the match was televised live in an era where telerecordings were rare until videotape was perfected in the late-1950s.[9] The broadcast is therefore extremely unlikely to resurface, although some photos can be found online.

See Also