Lawaai als modern onheil | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 129, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



This article analyzes public opinion on the introduction and diffusion of portable radios in the Netherlands, in particular the discourse on the ubiquitous din the devices allegedly caused. This discourse, mainly comprising the digitized newspapers of the National Archive, shows that contemporaries deemed the portable and especially its use – thoroughly altering the country’s soundscape – emblematic of modernization. Examining this discourse casts new light on the way the Dutch dealt with modernization, a topic of fierce scholarly debate. The was that portable radio users caused a nuisance that marked the beginning of a new era in which individualization eroded old values and led to hedonism. Almost all actors who addressed the topic of portable radio fiercely opposed these developments. To them the portable radio was part of a ‘modern disease’ which infected social manners and traditional values. They jointly and relentlessly – irrespective of social or religious background – condemned this aspect of modernization.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): din; individualization; modernization; portable radio; the Netherlands
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