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.

Boudewijn Poelmann and Annemiek Hoogenboom started Novamedia in 1983 as a media and marketing agency with a social mission. Herman de Jong joined in 1986, and Frank Leeman and Simon Jelsma joined in 1989. The four men are referred to as 'the founders'.

The founders of Novamedia 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 – the former shareholders in Novamedia – had such faith in the new lottery format that they got themselves deeply into debt and bore all of the risks personally.

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 Novamedia kept the faith. Nowadays seven charity lotteries in several countries raise money for good causes.

Since the beginning the lotteries have donated over €10 billion to thousands of charities and projects all over the world. This has made Novamedia and the charity lotteries the second 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. Founders Boudewijn Poelmann and Annemiek Hoogenboom donated their shares to the trust.

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Boudewijn Poelmann, founder of Novamedia and Charity Lotteries
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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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.