Wim de Bie passed away

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Wim de Bie passed away

Today we received the sad news that Wim de Bie passed away at the age of 83 in his hometown The Hague. Wim has suffered from serious health problems in recent years, but his death still came as a huge shock to the VPRO. What Wim de Bie has meant for VPRO, as part of the duo Van Kooten and De Bie and as an independent program maker, cannot be underestimated, the broadcaster states in a press release.

General director of VPRO Lennart van der Meulen: ‘Wim de Bie has appealed to the conscience of several generations of progressive thinking Dutch people. He always made an appeal to thought and civilization, and not to follow the crowd. And that with the unique sense of humor that characterized the work of Van Kooten and De Bie.’

Wim de Bie became nationally known as part of the duo Van Kooten en de Bie. From the start of his broadcasting career, around 1963, he formed a close team with Kees van Kooten. Their first joint creation was De Klisjeemannetjes, a duo that, in Wim’s VARA radio program Uitlaat, criticized the bourgeoisie of those days with mild mockery and in flat-The Hague language.

From 1972 De Bie, sometimes together with Van Kooten, made many programs for the VPRO. Partly due to the annual Boekenweek broadcast of a compilation of Van Kooten and De Bie from the archive, which they always put together themselves, it is as if we have lost a maker who is still active. The Van Kooten en de Bie program was a defining feature of the VPRO for many years. And it still is for many people.

From 2002 to 2008, De Bie posted his comments for VPRO daily on bieslog.nl, often accompanied by audio and video. For this he received the Silver Prichett Prize in 2005. There, too, he was groundbreaking in the autonomous way of working that he had created for himself. De Bie could rightly call himself the first digital program maker of the Public Broadcasting.

Wim de Bie made several records/CDs both with Kees van Kooten and solo, including his a cappella album De Bie sings and Whistles from far away, together with Henny Vrienten. As a linguistic virtuoso, De Bie wrote several books and, together with Van Kooten, invented words such as ‘doom thinking’, which ended up in the Van Dale and are still part of our daily language use.

De Bie was a satirist and his observations were sharp, witty and ironic, but never cynical or crude. Well foresighted. For most of his life he commented on current affairs, in his own distinctive way. As himself, but especially with characters such as Otto den Beste, Dirk, Tedje van Es, Thea Ternauw and Arie Temmes.

That struggle has now finally come to an end. What remains is the memory of a great maker and colleague, whose radio and television work will continue to be cherished by the VPRO. On www.vpro.nl/wimdebie, VPRO commemorates Wim with special moments from his long career.

Wim passed away peacefully at home on March 27, 2023 in the presence of his family. He is buried in a very private circle.

Photo: Brunopress

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