New Dutch Game Show Has Immigrants Compete to Reveal Unjust System

Last week's winner took home a cash prize. The loser got a bullet proof vest.

By Jorge Rivas Sep 07, 2011

A new quiz game show in Holland that puts five contestants who are set for deportation up agaisnt each other has an interesting twist for viewers: it’s pro-immigration. The show Weg van Nederland, which translates to Far from the Netherlands, involves five asylum seekers that have failed all legal avenues and are set for deportation.

The first show that aired last week included questions on Dutch culture, history and language. The winner took home £4,000 Euros ($5,774 USD) to "to make a fresh start outside the Netherlands." But one of the losers took home a bullet proof vest as a consolation prize, the Guardian reports.

Still, the public broadcasting group behind the show say they’re not mocking anyone.

Last week’s show only included "skilled" immigrants — including an aeronautical engineer from Cameroon and a Slavic languages student facing removal to Chechnya. Producers say that the intention of the program was to demonstrate how well-integrated many immigrants are in Holland.

Frank Wiering, the head of VPRO, the public broadcasting group behind the show, explains how he too was skeptical to The Guardian.

"My first reaction was – terrible idea, we’re not doing that. Then I looked into the issue more deeply and decided we have to do this. Weg van Nederland focuses attention on the fact that, these days, the many asylum seekers who are being expelled have children who have lived in the Netherlands for eight years or more," he said.

”They have had a good education, speak perfect Dutch and have only seen their country of birth on television. We believe it’s time to stop and think about this.”

The program has won the support of Vluchtelingenwerk, a group that works with asylum seekers. ”We’re hoping Weg van Nederland makes more people think about how we treat asylum seekers, that they understand more about what asylum seekers go through. Sometimes it takes far too long before they know whether they can stay. Vluchtelingenwerk would like a fast but careful asylum procedure," Wouter van Zandwijk, of Vluchtelingenwerk told the Guardian.

”The candidates are not actors, they are genuine unsuccessful asylum seekers who have to leave this country within a month or two.”