The new premium drama channel BBC First will make its European debut in the Netherlands on May 16.

A fully localised service, with all programming subtitled into Dutch, it will initially be carried by KPN, with further platforms to follow throughout the Benelux region.

Commenting on the launch, Paul Dempsey, president for global markets at BBC Worldwide said: “The Netherlands is an important territory for us and I am delighted that BBC First will make its European debut in this sophisticated market. We are immensely proud of this channel brand with BBC First promising to be the home of our very best fiction series. Our channel roll out here signifies the greater level of commitment BBC Worldwide is making to reach its global audiences.”

Jaap Postma, director consumer-market at KPN, added: “Content is becoming increasingly important to our customers so we are keen to broaden the range of programming that we offer. All BBC channels are high quality, and this new channel brand brings together premium series and crime dramas with Dutch subtitles that make it easier to watch. We are very proud to be the launching partner for BBC First in The Netherlands. The channel will be free to watch at channel 23 for everybody that has Interactieve TV from KPN.”

BBC First will join BBC Worldwide’s pan-regional channel BBC Entertainment Europe and the rest of the UK BBC public service channels currently carried by operators in The Netherlands. The channel brand made its debut in Australia in 2014 and was the most successful non-sports launch on Foxtel since 2006.