December 06, 2023

70 years of TV in Flanders: a journey through decades of information, entertainment and connection

1953 marked the start of a revolutionary era that would change the face of Flanders forever: television made its appearance. Today, 70 years later, we celebrate this milestone of innovation, information and entertainment. Even though we now experience media on many more channels, the impact of TV reaches beyond the living room and has helped shape our world today.

From black-and-white to vibrant colour spectacle, the evolution of television in Flanders is not just a technological advance. It also reflects the cultural metamorphosis that Belgium went through over all those years. From the very first broadcasts to today's digital revolution, every picture pixel carries a piece of history.

Rapidly growing popularity

The first broadcasts focused mainly on news items from Flanders and the rest of the world, documentaries and TV games. In the early years of television in Flanders, people used a simple studio set-up and broadcast times were limited. On some days, there was not even a broadcast. But the medium quickly grew in popularity. Within a few years, its offerings continued to expand, from drama to comedy to informative programmes.

Looking to the past

For decades, television has been home to heroes, timeless classics and iconic moments that are etched in our memories. From the first steps on the moon to a lot of legendary shows and series that charmed many generations. Examples are Schipper naast Mathilde, Kapitein Zeppos, the images of the first steps on the moon, the marriage of Boudewijn and Fabiola, victories of sports heroes like Eddy Merckx and many Olympic champions we could cheer from home. Television brought life in Flanders into the living room as if you were there yourself.

TV transcends the medium

You cannot ignore the social influence of television. Just think of its lasting imprint on the way we act, think and live together. Television provides a window on the world and connects people worldwide through current events, contemporary culture and compelling fiction stories. The television pioneers of the 1950s paved the way for programme makers of today and technical evolution never stood still. Television led to innovations such as streaming services. In turn, these are changing the way we consume media.

From groundbreaking technologies to new genres and formats, the past 70 years are just the beginning. Television as a medium faces an exciting future, with challenges.