THE HAGUE, Netherlands - The nation that brought the television world “Big Brother’’ and a hoax game show with a donor kidney prize has now pitted five rejected asylum seekers against one another to compete for $5,700 for when they are kicked out of the country.
The one-off show “Weg Van Nederland’’ (“Out of the Netherlands’’) shone a satirical light on the plight of young asylum seekers slated for expulsion by Dutch immigration authorities despite having spent most of their childhoods here and speaking the language fluently.
It tried to upend the perception among many native Dutch that immigrants don’t successfully integrate. Gulistan, an 18-year-old Kurd whose family fled Armenia 11 years ago, won the Dutch trivia quiz by correctly answering questions like, “Who was the first king of the Netherlands?’’ and artistically carving a map of the Netherlands out of a slab of cheese.
Blessing, who fled Cameroon to avoid an arranged marriage, was not so lucky. She was the first contestant ejected from the show, walking up a set of stairs to a mocked-up airplane door clutching her consolation prize - a flak jacket decorated with traditional Delft Blue patterns.
In a departing message, she said she hoped “that in the future I get a chance to show what I can offer the Netherlands.’’
Frank Wiering, editor in chief of the VPRO network that made the show, said Blessing is unlikely to get the chance - he said she could be expelled any time in the next two months.
The show that aired Thursday night generated far more buzz among foreign media than Dutch viewers, a possible indication that this country’s long-held reputation as a tolerant nation always ready to welcome foreigners is a thing of the past. Wiering said he thought the show was a success despite the muted reaction.