I'm drinking a beer in the sports hall with my friends after playing a game of indoor football. Sitting next to us are some girls who also came to work out. One of the girls yells out to me 'Aren't you that guy that publishes sex magazines, like CHICK?”. I confirm that I am that guy, to which she replies “Why don't you create a fun sex magazine especially for young people?”. For a moment I didn't know what to say, but I asked her if there would be any demand for something like that. “Yes of course!” all the girls replied together. I asked how old they were. It turned out their average age was 17 years old. To the girl that started talking to me, who obviously was the cheekiest one, I said “Okay, I will make a sex magazine for young people, but only if you are the chief editor”. To my surprise she said she was more than happy to do that! Like the other girls she was still in school, so she had plenty of time for that. “When can I start?” she asked. “Tomorrow”, I replied for fun. I thought it all was a bit of bluff, but in the end it turned out she was dead serious. On this memorable evening, in a regular sports hall, a couple of teenagers with spring jitters gave me the idea to create a magazine for teens. The girls came up with the name.
And this is how SEVENTEEN was born.
After the first edition of SEVENTEEN came out (totally sold out), we had to get started on the second edition immediately. We had enough photos of teens in stock for the first few magazines, but I was worried about getting enough photos to fill a magazine each month. Thankfully, after a few months the success of the magazine was huge, and so was the offer of models. We became famous all over the world with our SEVENTEEN girls. All wearing our t-shirts, head bands and caps with the well known SEVENTEEN logo with the heart on it. Many of our “SPECIALS” were also brought out internationally. We sold several hundreds of SEVENTEEN video productions. At the hight of our success we sold over 60.000 copies of SEVENTEEN every month.
There were low points as well. We featured a German-Kurdish girl on one of our covers once. This got us threats from a couple of Kurdish families, which even resulted in us having to remove our entire circulation of the magazine in Germany.
A fun anecdote: Herman Brood (a famous Dutch artist, may he RIP) was a big fan of SEVENTEEN for years. He appeared on a remarkable episode of a TV show called Villa Felderhof, where Herman was put in a bath by Major Bosshardt of the Salvation Army. This made Herman think it would be fun if he put one of our SEVENTEEN girls in a bath as well for a photo series. And so it happened. Only Herman didn't just put her in a bath, he decided to jump in with her! The mother of the model was not that amused... Until his tragic death, Herman has always stayed the patron of SEVENTEEN.
Another funny incident I had was on a Transavia Flight from Alicante back to Amsterdam. Sitting two rows in front of me was a girl wearing a head band with the SEVENTEEN logo on it. I was quite surprised she was wearing that in public. In the baggage hall I approached her and told her how much I liked the fact she was wearing the head band and asked her how she got it. She told me her sister had modeled for SEVENTEEN and that she gave her the head band. When she asked me why I wanted to know this, I told her I was the publisher of SEVENTEEN. She gave me a look full of pity, obviously not believing a word I said. Eventually, I gave her my business card, telling her that if she wanted a SEVENTEEN t-shirt she should just give me a call. And she did. These kind of girls are a wonderful advertisement for us of course.
Many have tried to copy us worldwide, but thanks to all this and our great website, SEVENTEEN has never been matched!
Jan Wenderhold (founder ClubSeventeen)
Club Seventeen and legal
Their greatest success was with the magazine Seventeen that was begun to be published in 1975. Its name was reflecting the fact that the preferred models for the magazine were at seventeen years of age or sixteen at youngest. However, as it featured models who were minors as per the legislation of many countries, Seventeen faced difficulty in worldwide distribution. For example, in the United States, Seventeen materials were prohibited. Seventeen also began to issue other magazines in later years, including Teeners from Holland and Seventeen Special. In 1986 Seventeen also started to produce videos. Seventeen preferred an amateur flair to the pro-am preference of many pornography producers. Often, male performers were real-life boyfriends of models.
By the 1990s, Seventeen changed its name to Club Seventeen, an umbrella label for most series. Also, they united various assets that functioned under companies such as Profil and Scala and formed the company Video Art Holland. In the late 90s, they initiated a process of change, featuring only models over 18 years of age, because they were informed, that the Netherlands were forced to raise the age to 18, because of a European law "harmonization".
All content on the Club Seventeen website is fully legal. All content featuring 17 year old girls is removed from the content library and ClubSeventeen.com is a perfectly legal website. The brand name is still Seventeen yes but the legal age of all girls featured on the website is at least 18 years or older.