Our history

Novamedia, lotteries for a better world  

 

The Dutch Postcode Lottery (Nationale Postcode Loterij) was launched in 1989 to raise money for charity organisations that aim to create a fairer, greener world.

The founders of the Postode Lottery had worked in the fields of fundraising, publicity and member recruitment. These experiences and the desire to make the world a better place led to the invention of a lottery format that not only focused on sharing the revenue but also on winning together: postcode lotteries.

The founders of this lottery, Boudewijn Poelmann, Frank Leeman, Herman de Jong and Simon Jelsma – the former shareholders in Novamedia – had such faith in the new lottery format that they took the financial risk.

What seems obvious now was far from so at the time. When the lottery was set up, there was a great deal of scepticism and nobody, including the charities, dared to co-finance the initiative. Some charities even did not want to receive contributions.

It’s thanks to the perseverance of the founders that Novamedia kept the faith. Nowadays seven charity lotteries in five countries raise money for good causes. Novamedia is carrying all the risks and expenses associated with getting new charity lotteries off the ground. Future returns of the investment can be reinvested solely in setting up new lotteries for further social benefit.

Since the beginning the lotteries have donated €11 billion to thousands of charities and projects all over the world. This has made Novamedia and the charity lotteries the third biggest private donor in the world after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Since 2017 all the shares of Novamedia, and the lotteries, are in the hands of a general interest foundation: the Novamedia Foundation Trust. This protects the sale of Novamedia and the intellectual property rights related to the Postcode Lottery format.

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The history of the brands

 

De Nationale Postcode Loterij was launched in the Netherlands in 1989. The success prompted Novamedia to launch two lotteries abroad In 2005: Svenska Postkodlotteriet in Sweden and People’s Postcode Lottery in Great Britain.

Deutsche Postcode Lotterie launched in 2016 throughout Germany. In 2018 Norsk Postkodelotteri started in Norway.

In the Netherlands Novamedia operates two other lotteries: de VriendenLoterij and de BankGiro Loterij, launched in 1998 and 2002 respectively.

In 2014 bookstore Scheltema in Amsterdam was added to Novamedia.

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Boudewijn Poelmann, founder of Novamedia and co-founder of the Dutch Postcode Lottery
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In memory: Frank Leeman, co-founder of the Dutch Postcode Lottery
 

 

Boudewijn Poelmann

Boudewijn Poelmann (1949) founded together with his wife Annemiek Hoogenboom Novamedia in 1983. He is the co-founder of the Dutch Postcode Lottery in 1989. Before setting up Novamedia he worked for Novib as a fund-raiser and member recruiter.

Until March 2020 he acted as ceo and chairman of the boards of the Dutch Postcode Lottery, the BankGiro Lottery, the FriendsLottery and their parent company Holding Nationale Goede Doelen Loterijen. As of January 1st of 2021, he has stopped his daily work for Novamedia and the Lotteries and co-founded an impact investing fund for scale-ups, called phase2.earth.

In 2006, Poelmann was voted ‘the most influential player in Dutch philanthropy’ by  philanthropy magazine FM and in 2012 was made an Officer of the Order of Oranje-Nassau for his commitment to society in combination with innovative entrepreneurship and leadership. In 2014, magazine Forbes ranked Poelmann 16th in its list of the World’s Top 25 Eco-Innovators.
 

 

Our timeline

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1989

Children raising funds

On December 20 1989, school children pass through the doors. To sell lottery tickets for a good cause. They collect 300,000 authorizations of 10 guilders. The entire proceeds from this first drawing of the Postcode Lottery goes to refugees. The rest is history.