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No, seriously, what’s the Glass House?

December 13th, 2010

Filed under: FESTIVALS & EVENTS


The Glass House descends on Eindhoven

I’ve been checking some websites for a crystal clear explanation of what the Glazenhuis is, in English, but so far haven’t really found it. See below for what I think it is. (I’ve not been able to find a backgrounder on the Glass House/Serious Request phenomenon by 3FM). What’s the point of all these names? Why so many? Is it for fame or for fortune?

What’s 3FM?
That’s easy. 3FM is a youth (15 – 35 y.o) radio station connected to the Dutch public broadcaster. So to me, that roughly means “the Dutch version of Triple J” (even though they do  mainly rock, pop and world music with a bit of electronic, house and dance music).

Serious request
This is an annual charity event where 3 of the 3FM DJs hole themselves up in a glass house for the week before Christmas and fast (not eat!, only drink!) for the entire time. They play radio non-stop and take money for requests. The money they raise goes to the Red Cross, and the charity they focus on is different each year. The song requests should be taken seriously – not only because the public is paying for their songs to be played but because the people are asking more of the DJs than just playing music. It’s about taking action. You know, being the change and all that.

The Glass House is coming to Eindhoven
My problem with this particular charity event is the names confused me and I couldn’t easily find a reference. Most of what I know about this event I have learnt through friends. (I would have found it much easier to learn about it if there was one title to it all or one really clear website with a section called “About” or “Contact”). But that’s the price you pay for co-creation, right, and the wisdom of crowds, right? The Glass House (Glazenhuis) is the name of the structure (literally a glass house) where the DJs live and sleep for that week. In a different city each year, in 2009 it was in Groningen, and the year before in Breda.  

Do your part!
To pay one of the DJs to play your song with more than just your own money, you can also creatively raise it.  You can have a cake drive, arrange a fun run (in snow?!), or shave your hair off – whatever you want. The money you raise for undertaking your serious request is then donated. This year’s charity is the Red Cross charity for orphans to AIDs.

Dig deep, I’m serious: it’s Christmas
The Serious Request is an annual coming together of big and local names, brands, entertainers and celebrities. It’s a chance to associate your name with a charity, get some goodwill airtime and free publicity on TV and radio. Ach, it’s so easy to be cynical about why people are getting into it, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the complexity of it and also easy to get irritated because your city is being overrun with live concerts, booming takings for local businesses and lots of happy people partying into the wee hours. Hahah. But at the end of the day, the Dutch are still the fourth highest givers of charity per capita in the entire world (and I don’t want to blow my own trumpet, but according to the World Giving Index, Aussies are the most generous). If you can appreciate the creativity that goes into the process from official organisers and the man-on-the-street, then there’s no better reason to give till it hurts.

This year heralds the seventh edition of the 3FM Serious Request and will take place in Eindhoven 18 – 24 December.

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