CLIENT Dutch Heart Foundation

PARTNERS Triple Double, Feyenoord, Opel

AWARDS Dutch PR Award, Zilveren Effie, Sabre Award

Timely CPR with help of an AED drastically increases the chance at survival of people suffering from a cardiac arrest. If you receive CPR within six minutes after the cardiac arrest, you have the biggest change of survival. To make this possible, you need to have as many civil volunteers as possible.

The Dutch Heart Foundation asked Bijl PR to find the amount of volunteers needed that are capable of performing CPR, so that 1% of Dutch people are registered as civil volunteers. Because if you want to create a so-called ‘6 minute zone’ with the right amount of available AEDs and a national on-call system, you need enough volunteers.


If your heart’s healthy, you won’t even realize it’s there. With our ‘Hartslag van het Legioen’ (‘Legioen’ is what Rotterdam people call the supporters of Feyenoord, their local football team) campaign, we want to make people aware of the risks involved in a cardiac arrest and the crucial importance of quick help within 6 minutes. Most of all, we wanted to let them know what THEY could do to help decrease those risks, by signing up as a civil volunteer. Our approach shows what  stress and tension can do to a heart, and why it’s important to act as soon as possible. To do that, we let well-known people give the right example by having them take part in CPR courses. Through consistent communication and a multi-channel approach, we keep the topic top of mind, and we’re able to reach a large target audience, time and again.

Every year, about 17,000 people suffer from a cardiac arrest outside of the hospital. Quick CPR drastically increases the chance at survival. Those chances have improved immensely. During the 90s, the survival rate was at 9%; today, it’s at nearly 25%. This is thanks, in part, to the increased amount of civil volunteers and the use of AEDs.

Floris Italianer
CEO Dutch Heart Foundation


In association with Triple Double, we created the ‘Hartslag van het Legioen’ campaign, as part of the multiple-year campaign to recruit more civil volunteers. After Opel and Feyenoord announce that they will help the Dutch Heart Foundation recruit volunteers, the Feyenoord selection starts taking part in CPR training. Then, we organize a massive live heart rate test, during the classic match between Feyenoord and their Amsterdam counterpart, Ajax. We literally show what the tension and stress of such a game can do to supporters and their heart rate. We share the results with the media, who we enable to measure their own heart rate during the game as well.


In the media, we generate attention for the urgency of an increased amount of civil volunteers that know how to perform CPR. We provide a constant stream of communication about the number of civil volunteers, the shortages as well as the growth in Rotterdam and the country as a whole. Per Dutch province, we draw attention by communicating the numbers per municipality and province and portray the progress made in reanimation throughout the years. We also share the civil volunteers’ beautiful stories, their reasons, and their experiences.

During the months that follow, we draw further attention in the media to the urgent need for civil volunteers that know CPR, to build on the success of the ‘Hartslag van het Legioen’ campaign. We organize, among other things, a massive CPR training in the Kuip, attended by over 1000 people. We keep communicating the numbers for each municipality and province, as well as the progress made in the field of CPR throughout the years. Finally, we share the the civic volunteers’ beautiful stories about their reasons and experiences.


  • Hartslag van het Legioen’ is part of a three-year campaign for the Dutch Heart Foundation to recruit more volunteers. In three years, the counter went from 68,000 to 170,000 civil volunteers.
  • The Netherlands is the first country in the world with such a national nation-wide network of registered civic volunteers
  • A total reach of 10 million people with the ‘ Hartslag voor het Legioen’ campaign.



68,000 to 170,000


10 million

Being a Feyenoord supporter myself, the campaign we created for the Dutch Heart Foundation obviously made me very happy. But the results are quite literally heart-warming: more new volunteers means less cardiac arrest victims. This jury comment at the Dutch PR Awards says it all, really: ‘This campaign did not miss a single beat.

Marjoleine van Klaveren
Marjoleine van Klaveren