CLIENT The Netherlands Veterans Institute (Vi)

PARTNERS 356 Media, Vuurrood

NOMINATIONS European Excellence, Sabre Award

When they hear the word veteran, most Dutch people picture an old man with a blue blazer and a row of medals pinned to his chest. But veterans are so much more than that: women, men, young, old, deployed across the globe by the Dutch government; retired, with a completely different career, or still on active duty.

The Veteran Institute offers help and care to veterans and their home front, and strives for more knowledge, social awareness, and appreciation for veterans. At the institute’s request, Bijl PR got to work on this challenge. In the past years, we’ve brought attention to Dutch veterans and themed Veteran Institute activities in several different ways, making the Dutch public more knowledgeable and giving them a bigger appreciation for veterans and the work done by the institute.


We develop a strategy that centres around the human being and the story behind the uniform. Because a veteran’s story perfectly shows, in its own unique and authentic way, what the Veteran Institute stands for, and what they want to teach the Dutch people. Our main focus lies on owned and earned media.

In order to achieve maximum impact, we choose a strategy and approach that focuses on both national and regional media. We bring the stories to the Dutch public through text and image: from the impassioned account by a known veteran on national television, to the story in the local newspaper about that boy that you used to go to school with. Their stories are told by the veterans themselves, in video’s (in collaboration with 356Media) undermining stereotypes, adding nuance, and demonstrating the value of freedom. These stories are shared across channels like print, social media, online articles, events, and encounters. For events, we develop concepts with a specific theme, with fitting stories.

A collaboration with Bijl PR is a true collaboration. As the client, with all of our information and expertise regarding veterans, we discuss, together with Bijl PR, how to best communicate and word our message. Throughout this process, the both of us have always been open, honest and full of enthusiasm. For several years now, this has resulted in effective and beautiful promotions, events and campaigns.

Nelleke Rienstra
Head of Communication and Marketing Veteraneninstituut


An impressive annual event is the Guard of Honour during the National Commemoration Day on May the 4th. We’ve all seen the guard of honour at Dam Square, but how many of us know who these people that bring the honorary salute are, let alone why they are standing there? Each year, Bijl PR puts the members of the honorary couloir in the spotlights by capturing their stories through image and text. This is an extension of the ‘Freedom: powered by Veterans’ campaign that Bijl PR developed together with Vuurrood, which forms the base of a recurring PR track surrounding May 4th  and May the 5th. The ‘Freedom: Powered by Veterans’ campaign’s main goal is to demonstrate how veterans have contributed to our freedom, and in what ways they are still passing it on.

Each year, the Veteran Institute and the Nationaal Comité Veteranendag organize multiple events, such as the Veteran Lecture. Bijl PR supports the organization of the events and the communication of the chosen theme. Previous themes have been, for example: the home front, and the stereotype of the female veteran. Leading to the official invitation, we load the theme of the Veteran Speech in film, image, and stories, and start inviting people to attend the speech. Other events that Bijl PR has generated attention for are: speed dating with veterans during Independence Day, and the communication and PR surrounding a WWII meeting with over a 100 veterans attending.


Our combined efforts have in the past years resulted in a lot of attention for veterans and their lasting stories. This has contributed (and still contributes) to more attention and an increase in social awareness, and a greater appreciation for veterans, and it’s put an end to persistent stereotypes surrounding veterans.






What makes working with the Veteran Institute special, is the people you meet along the way. PR is all about sharing stories, and that happens to be at the core of what we do here. Honestly, and unadorned, these veterans tell the stories that matter, that get to you. This is a collaboration that fits seamlessly into our shared social vision. A pleasure to be a part of.

Sophia Weavers
Sophia Weavers