Flemish program Dwars door de Lage Landen popular in the Netherlands

Straight through the Low Countries, which was broadcast on NPO2 yesterday, again scored well. The program, in which the Flemish Arnout, Philippe and Ruben cross parts of Flanders and the Netherlands on foot, was good for about 1.19 million viewers. This is reported by Stichting Kijkonderzoek. This puts the feel-good program of the VPRO in fourth place of the most watched programs.

Arnout Hauben and his friends, camera and sound men Philippe Niclaes and Ruben Callens, walk on footpaths from Ostend to Limburg and from there all the way to the north of the Netherlands, to Pieterburen. A 900 kilometer journey that takes them past stories that have given color to the low countries.

Straight through the Low Countries

And also in yesterday’s episode there was no shortage of touching and beautiful stories. In the third episode, which takes place in the Flemish Kempen, the trio runs from Halle to Scherpenheuvel. On the way, the three come into conversation with passers-by or residents, some of whom are familiar with the program: “A good program,” says a man at the beginning of the episode, for example. “I love it.”

During the long journey they meet many people, each with their own story. For example, three people are waiting along the road in Vorselaar for a group of pigeons that should arrive with them, a group of women walking by who has started a walk and a miller who sells grain, seeds and animal feed. He shows Hauben his water mill, which has been in the family since 1919.

Emotion during walking tour

In the meantime, the fun is not lacking between the walking program makers. The three of them have the greatest fun and a splash in a river, because of the warm weather during the trip, should not be missed.

But perhaps the most touching moment from the third episode is when Hauben finds his old friends Rob and Eddy. Fifteen years ago, Hauben made a documentary about family nursing in the Flemish town of Geel, in which the two played a leading role. In that region, psychiatric patients are placed with normal families, where they can then live.

Hauben gets on well with Rob and Eddy. But they have sad news. Their foster mother Jeanneke recently died from the consequences of corona. The three of them visit the grave. “Jeanne, I miss you. I’m sorry you’re dead,” says Rob at the grave. Viewers are also moved by the meeting.

Meeting with a prince

After visiting Tongerlo Abbey, Hauben and his friends go to a castle to get water. But that’s not just any castle. It is an inhabited castle by a real prince of the De Merode family. The gardener gives them water and introduces them to Simon de Merode, the prince who lives in the castle with his family.

The castle is beautiful, but Simon de Merode is sober about it. “I never say it’s my castle. The castle was built by a lot of people, maintained by a lot of people in the past and I will pass it on to the next generation.” Hauben says he expected to see a prince with gray locks and a suit jacket, instead he faces a young-looking and modern dude. “Why do you want to go to the Netherlands?” asks the prince. “We fought really hard to get them out, and you walk there,” he jokes.

The prince invites the walking company for a tour of the imposing castle, which looks beautiful in the summer sun. He also gives them a short history lesson about his family and shows the bullet that shot his ancestor during the Belgian Revolution.

Not enough of Straight through the Low Countries

The journey of three men ends this episode in the basilica of Scherpenheuvel, on the 285th kilometer of their 900 kilometer journey. Comments on Twitter show that people can’t get enough Straight through the Low Countries can get. “Full of love and sincere interest, but also humor”, says one viewer.

The third episode of Dwars door de Lage Landen can be viewed here.

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Flemish program Dwars door de Lage Landen popular in the Netherlands: ‘Simple idea perfectly worked out’

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