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The most popular Dutch soap operas, past and present

Dutch emigrants miss many things from home, such as their family and friends, typical Dutch food products and of course, Dutch television! Fortunately, those living abroad can now enjoy several Dutch TV shows via the Internet, enabling them to catch up on all of their favourite Dutch TV programmes, wherever they are in the world. Dutch soap operas in particular, prove especially popular with Dutch emigrants, probably because they provide such an intimate glimpse of the everyday life that they’ve left behind.

To find out which Dutch soap operas (past and present) that Dutch people consider essential viewing (with or without their favourite Dutch beer and cocktail nuts to hand), then read on!

Dutch soap series

Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden

Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden (Good Times, Bad Times), often known simply as GTST, is a traditional Dutch soap opera that has enjoyed a regular Dutch following since its very first episode on 1st October, 1990. The celebrated series is set in the fictional Dutch village of Meerdijk and follows the changing fortunes of the Bouwhuis family. Today, Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden is easily the most popular soap opera in the Netherlands, attracting an average of 1.5 million viewers. The most famous Dutch actors to have appeared in Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden include Reinout Oerlemans and Antonie Kamerling.

Onderweg Naar Morgen

Riding on the success of Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden, Onderweg Naar Morgen was first broadcast on January 3rd, 1994. The storyline was initially based on the American soap opera, Ryan’s Hope, and predominantly centred around the Couwenberg and Reitsema families. In order to attract a younger audience, the series was later renamed to ONM and began to focus on a set of adolescent characters and their struggles with modern society. However, as many of the best-loved actors outgrew the new format, the Dutch soap lost much of its audience and the show finally came to a close on 14th May, 2010. Yolanthe, now the wife of famous Dutch football player, Wesley Sneijder, was the most distinguished Dutch actor to have starred in ONM.

Ja Zuster, Nee Zuster

Although this favourite Dutch comedy series from the sixties was not officially a ‘soap’, in terms of popularity it certainly made the grade. Ja Zuster, Nee Zuster, which was shown on Dutch television between 1966 and 1968, followed the fate of the Klivia retirement home residents and their regular disputes with disagreeable neighbour, Boordevol. The script for Ja Zuster, Nee Zuster was written by celebrated Dutch author, Annie M.G. Schmidt, and the music composed by Harry Bannink. Hetty Blok and Leen Jongewaard were arguably the best known Dutch actors to have appeared in Ja Zuster, Nee Zuster.

‘t Schaep Met De 5 Pooten

Shortly after the final episode of Ja Zuster, Nee Zuster, Dutch viewers were treated to a brand new comedy series, called ‘t Schaep Met De 5 Pooten. Set in a convivial bar in Amsterdam, this legendary soap rapidly became known for its entertaining songs, including ‘t Zal je kind maar wezen’ and ‘We zijn toch op de wereld om mekaar te helpen, nietwaar?’ that accompanied the programme. Many notable Dutch actors have made a star appearance in t Schaep Met De 5 Pooten, including Adèle Bloemendaal, Piet Römer, Willeke van Ammelrooy and Kees Brusse.

Prefer to read this article in Dutch? Then why not visit our sister blog, Heimwee.info, specifically intended for Dutch emigrants abroad?

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