Dutch-language newspaper The Windmill Herald will cease operations next month, according to publisher Albert van der Heide. The newspaper, which under various names has been in operation since 1954, has seen its readers number dwindle due to demographic developments and has not been self-supporting for several years.
In an interview with the Dutch International Society yesterday:
"We were able to slow the effects of a nearly inevitable greying readership with an English-language section in The Windmill Herald," said Albert van der Heide who purchased the paper in 1969, five years after coming to Canada as a teenager. "We keep hearing from grandchildren of 1950s Dutch immigrants interested in their heritage and roots, but not enough to sustain the paper in its current format," he said."
The paper, which is published twice-a-month, dipped increasingly into red ink as the Canadian dollar moved to parity with its U.S. counterpart and as postal rates and technology costs going up.
The only remaining Dutch-language newspaper for North America is now De Krant, whose publisher we interviewed in August 2011.
The publisher made the announcement with an open letter in this week's edition:
"Over the past four years, there have been numerous reports of newspapers and magazines ceasing to publish, citing various reason, including declining subscriber numbers, shrinking advertising income and rising costs. The Windmill Herald has not been immune from these either. The hard truth of the matter is that the Windmill Herald has not been self-supporting for a number of years. We have come to the conclusion that a turn-around is not likely any time soon. Hence the decision to cease publication.
We are very grateful for the significant support The Windmill Herald received over the years. Collectively, subscribers took care of over half our annual budget. That was the case in 1970 and that remains the case today, no doubt the envy of most specialty newspaper publishers. Similarly, the (Dutch immigrant) business community has been very supportive throughout the years. The readership and the advertisers were huge positive factors in our ability to publish without any interruptions. Also the Windmill Herald's suppliers, employees and contributors played their roles very well. They all deserve a round of applause.
Founded in 1954 in Ontario as Hollandia News and in 1958 in British Columbia as Goed Nieuws with regional readerships, the Windmill Herald gained, thanks to reader involvement in the 1970's and forward, a significant continent-wide readership, served by three editions, Western Canada, Central and Atlantic Canada, and the USA. Without this help from the subscribers, the Windmill Herald would definitely not have survived this long.
The Windmill Herald (Western Canada edition) was first published as Goed Nieuws in 1958. The Windmill Herald (Central and Atlantic Canada edition) as Hollandia News in 1954. Windmill Herald (USA edition) was launched in 1990 and the English section, later supplement the Windmill Post, in April 1980.
In closing, it has been a privilege to serve the community in this capacity for exactly 43 years. As publisher of The Windmill Herald, I thank my family for their unwavering support of the decades. We acknowledge the Giver of all Life as the One who gave us the ability, strength and courage, this in spite of a serious health challenge in 1980. Please join me in giving Him all the Glory, and attribute any and all of the many shortcomings to me.
A. A. (Albert) van der Heide
Publisher and Editor"