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Readers during the shoot 60 above 60.

 Margriet readers

Embracing Their age

A modelling competition for women over 60, articles on dating after 60, and 60 success stories about inspiring women over 60: Margriet is embracing its age, just like its target group. How a women’s title is achieving robust growth at the age of 85.

 Helene van Santen


When she started at Margriet, the magazine’s much-lauded editor-in-chief, Helene van Santen (42) quickly received a reality check. “Three years ago, in my first presentation about my plans for Margriet, I wrote that I wanted to ‘get women over 60 on the digital highway’. That turned out to be a misconception: they’re already there!”

Every day, more readers are joining them on that highway: while the reach of the print edition is showing modest growth, traffic to Margriet’s online platform is skyrocketing, thanks in large part to the launch of the Margriet app. “On our new digital platform, which we launched in February 2022, our unique reach increased 73 percent in one year. We currently have an average of 214,000 visitors a day.” Margriet now has the same look and feel and a consistent tone of voice across all its channels: the magazine, the Margriet app, the website, social media and the podcast.

New course

Margriet’s success story has also earned it industry recognition. In October 2023, it won the title of
Cross Media Brand of the Year at the Cross Media Awards, and at the end of 2022 it was named Magazine Brand of the Year at the Mercur Awards – the trade awards for magazines. A year before that, Van Santen had been nominated for Cross Media Person of the Year, after having already won the Mercur for Editor-in-Chief of the Year in 2020.

The honouree herself sees all this praise as a nice recognition and, above all, encouragement to build on the resounding growth figures. “I’m a glutton for success and always want to win,” says the editor-in-chief, pointing to the recent efforts to work more closely with the other DPG women’s titles. Margriet, Libelle and Flair are pooling their resources by exchanging generic, service-oriented stories. This shared content does well online, and it also has a practical benefit: “It allows us to focus our attention on articles that really help us stand out.”

Margriet set itself an unusual course in 2021. Despite the constant pressure on magazines and companies to ‘rejuvenate’, Margriet deliberately chose to ‘maturate’ by putting the spotlight firmly on active over-60s. “It’s a growing group,” says Van Santen, pointing to demographic trends. “More than half of the Dutch population is already over 50. Another important factor is that society’s perception of older people is changing: 60 is the new 40. People in their sixties lead incredibly active lives, and we’re here to support them.”

Weekly magazine Margriet has an average readership of 821,000 people per month and the total gross brand reach for all channels is 3.2 million. In 2023, Margriet reached an average of 213,400 unique visitors per day.

Willy wants a man

Margriet’s readers are proud of their age, a feeling that’s clearly reflected in the magazine’s articles. “A lot of listicles out there are about young up-and-comers, but we showcase wonderful 60+ talent.” Dolly Dots (a Dutch girl band popular in the 1980s) on the cover, a modelling competition for over-60s – not to mention the witty columns penned by 73-year-old Willy, who’s dating (‘Willy wants a man’) and proudly adorns the cover in a swimsuit: Margriet is embracing its target group with a light-hearted spirit.

Van Santen: “We always approach our articles from a positive point of view, but that doesn’t mean we shy away from difficult topics and painful stories. Even an article about loss or physical discomfort can have an optimistic slant, for example if you discuss the best coping strategies.”

60 over 60

The editor-in-chief is proud of the ‘iconic anniversary issue’ – published in 2023 to celebrate Margriet’s 85th anniversary – and the digital Margriet Museum: an online journey through the magazine’s history, which also tells the story of women’s emancipation. Meanwhile, Margriet’s ‘60 over 60’ contest speaks volumes about where the brand stands today. It asks readers which 60 women over 60 inspire them by making a difference in society.

Van Santen: “Women don’t have an expiry date. I myself am in my forties, so I’m not part of our target group yet. But I would like to age like the women we portray. Because that’s what we want to convey: whatever age you are, the best time of your life is now.”