Ship details: The 399 gross ton 44.05 metres long and 8.22 metre wide M.V. HH 294 'Paul J. Müller' was built in 1949/50 by the Deutsche Werft AG in Finkenwerder/Germany for the Paul Müller shipping company in Hamburg. The vessel should serve as a fishing boat in international waters off Iceland. In July 1956, the vessel was sold to the Niedersächsische Hochseefischerei GmbH in Cuxhaven and renamed NC 420 'Norderney'. In 1960, the ship was sold to be scrapped in the Netherlands. The vessel entered Ijmuiden on 9th October 1960. Later it was towed to Haarlem and then spent some years in Spaarne. In 1964 Radio Veronica bought the vessel as a replacement for the Borkumriff. At this time the former owners had already begun to break up the ship which had been loosing her steering room and the bow mast.
The ship was rebuilt at the ZSM Zaanlandse Scheepsbouwmaatschapij in Zaandam/Netherlands. The Dutch press was mislead by the story the ship should serve as a broadcasting vessel in the German Elbe estuary as there were strong rumours that the former Hamburg Star Club owner Manfred Weissleder was preparing a German offshore station to be called "Radio Star Club". Norbert Jürgens led the major rebuilding of the ship which inluded the removal of the motor and the erection of two wooden 24 metre masts.
A 10,000 Watt transmitter was installed. In September 1964 the Norderney was towed from Zaandam and anchored off the coast of Scheveningen. A day after the Norderney anchored off the Noordwijk coast a disaster was narrowly avoided when the Norderney lost her anchor and nearly ran aground. The ship was towed back to her anchorage by a Dutch coast guard vessel. A new anchor system was installed which lasted until the 2nd April 1973. On 16th November 1964 the Wijsmüller ship Nestor towed the Norderney to a position off Katwijk aan Zee, and the vessel replaced the Borkumriff. [Information above by Jan Sundermann, Radio News, Millennium Edition, September 2000. Additional source: Jack van der Valk, IJmuider Courant]
During the night of 2nd April 1973 a hurricane force storm blew up, the worst in living memory, at 20:54 hours the Norderney announced she had lost her anchor and was drifting towards the shore and taking in water. The lifeboat Bernard van Leer put to sea and an hour later the lifeboat had taken four crew off the ship and stood by. Finally the remaining six men were taken off by the lifeboat. With no engine the Norderney was at the mercy of the waves. By 23:30 hours she was aground, fifty yards from Scheveningen harbour. On 3rd April the lifeboat was unable to enter the harbour until 10:00 hours, because of the severe conditions. No action was taken by the PTT, although broadcasts did not stop until the ship was well within Dutch territorial waters. Smit-Tak of Maassluis were given the job of refloating the ship. They dug a deep channel to allow the sea to reach the ship. On 7th April 06:00 hours the ship had been turned to face the sea, but they still could not free her. On 18th April 1973 the Norderney was refloated at 04:00 hours. An hpur later the ship was back at her anchorage.
After closing down on 31st August 1974, the Norderney remained at sea. Work was carried out on the ship and caused speculation that the ship was going to be used for another offshore project. On August 11th 1975 the Norderney was towed to Amsterdam and in November to Zaandam. In August 1977 the Norderney was towed to Dordrecht and Papendrecht. In 1980 and 1981 there were rumours of the vessel being scrapped. It was moored in 's Gravendeel and Ouwerkerk. In December 1981 the Norderney was sold to Jan Groeneweg from Groningen who started to convert the ship into a discotheque and restaurant. On 31st May 1982 the rebuilding was finished and the discotheque was officially opened in the town of Zoutkamp. Chairs and tables were placed in the bridge. In October 1982 the ship went to Doesburg. On 19th April 1983 the Norderney was hired by Rob Koster and taken to Middelburg, Zeeland and used as a floating discotheque. In March 1984 the ship was towed to Vlissingen and in March 1985 to Amsterdam. There was an exhibition of old Veronica studio materials, photographs, videos and stickers in August 1985. In 1986 the vessel was moved to Lelystad and reopened on 29th August as a discotheque. From March 1987 the Norderney was moored in Maastricht. In 1993 the vessel was back in Groningen harbour to be completely rebuilt as a cafe/restaurant. 3rd November 1994 saw the official reopening of the Norderney as a cafe/restaurant in Leeuwarden harbour by former Veronica director Bull Verwey.
On 19th August 2000, more than 250 Radio Caroline supporters attended the Dutch convention on the Norderney in Leeuwarden making the day a major success. On their way to the Norderney nearly everyone had been listening to Radio Caroline's (one day only) medium wave signal on 1296 kHz which was booming in from the UK loud and clearly.
Since May 6th 2001, the vessel is moored in the center of Antwerp/Belgium, still serving as a dance cafe. On 28th August 2003, the Norderney was towed to Monnickendamm (Netherlands) for a temporary stay. The ship was towed back to Antwerp on 2nd September 2003. In January 2004, it became known that the Norderney will be towed to a new anchorage in Rotterdam (Netherlands) within the next few months.
Offshore radio station: Radio Veronica from 16th November 1964 (replacing the Borkumriff) to 31st August 1974.
On 31st August 2003, Radio Veronica made another relaunch as a licenced radio station in the Netherlands. Exactly 29 years after the offshore station closed down in 1974, Veronica broadcast for six hours from the vessel again.
Location: International waters off Scheveningen (Netherlands). Nowadays moored in the center of Antwerp/Belgium, still serving as a dance cafe.