Barend BarendseBarend Barendse (1907-1981) was probably the most distinctive of the presenters of the Netherlands Jeux Sans Frontières competions. He was a veteran sports commentator and broadcaster who was instantly recognisable wearing his trademark checked cap.

Barendse presented both Spel Zonder Grenzen (as the Dutch referred to Jeux Sans Frontières) and Zeskamp, the Dutch domestic equivalent of It's A Knockout. Aside from these, Barend fronted many other entertainment programmes on the NCRV such as Rodeo and Zo Vader Zo Zoon ('Like Father Like Son') in addition to his sports duties. Barendse had made his first forays into sports reporting via his love of cycling and contributed commentaries for radio coverage of the Tour de France after the Second World War. He made his television debut in 1952 and became a famous and much-loved personality of the Dutch television service for the following quarter of a century.

Sadly, Barend Barendse was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 1980 and was given a matter of months to live. In those short months, he had a red tulip named after him and was also appointed a Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau, a prestigious royal award which he considered his greatest ever achievement.

Barend Barendse passed away in the Prinsengracht Ziekenhuis (Hospital) in Amsterdam on the 5th February 1981, aged 73.

by Alan Hayes