The Shallow Man, the elegant and aged fossil, formerly of London, now of the Pijp, has been somewhat confused by the phrase much used on my favorite TV program, Morgen Van Morgen (MVM). There they regularly talk about bekende Nederlanders (BNR’s). I watched a news report from a party, full of BNR’s and the only person I recognized was one of the bar staff serving drinks.

I’ve received the following request from one of my readers. “Shallow Man, while watching Vandaag de Dag (a rival of MVM) and trying not to throw up due to the jackets that are worn by their weather lady, I saw a report about bekende Nederlanders. The only famous person I’m aware of in the Netherlands is Carice Van Houten from Game of Thrones. I’ve only been here for three months so perhaps I’m not fully up to date on Dutch celebrities, please advise, what are bekende Nederlanders?”

Shield your eyes. The jacket!!

Shield your eyes. The jacket!!

The shallow man, as ever will oblige and provide more details on that rarest of breeds, the Dutch celebrity or BNR for short. My comments might upset some, and If as a result I’m forced at gunpoint, to throw away my collection of handmade shoes and replace them with brown ones from Van Bommel, I’ll look my detractors in the eyes and say “rot op jij nep kakker!” The things I do for my readers!

Types of Bekende Nederlanders

Below I will outline the common types of BN’ers.

Resistance is futile, we appear a hundred times a day in TV commercials

To become a bekende Nederlander, it helps if the best role you’ve ever had in your acting career is playing a post-lobotomy patient who inexplicably has been put in charge of a supermarket. Smile, roll your eyes knowingly at the camera and be so jolly that the only solution is to wish for the early demise of the actor in question. Yes, I’m talking about the advert man for Albert Heijn.

a bekende Nederlander

AH today, Hamlet tomorrow

The upside of playing this role is that the jolly chap above, when not making TV ads for the delight of small children and pensioners, attends every party, film premiere and opening of envelope events. All excitedly reported on in MVM and Vandaag de Dag.

She made it on her back

There are women that are bekende Nederlanders, not because of any actual personal achievements or talent. These individuals are famous for who they managed to date, marry and, in many cases, divorce. Footballers WAGs (Wife and girlfriends). To avoid possible legal action, I won’t show any photos, but you know who they are.

Reality TV “stars”

The shallow man, being somewhat Jurassic, can remember the days when people actually had to have some kind of talent to become famous. Nowadays, the dumbest, orange-skinned, silicon-boobed or silicon-buttocked woman or man can become a bekende Nederlander simply by allowing a film crew to follow them around. At the same time, they act like their dumb selves. There are too many reality shows to name, but a few that have produced so-called BNR’s with a shelf life shorter than a bag of fruit from Albert Heijn are:

  • The Voice
  • Pop stars
  • The X Factor
  • Oh Oh Cherso
  • Hollands got talent
  • Multiple copycat versions of Big Brother
Queen of the NL reality TV "stars"

Queen of the NL reality TV “stars” Barbie!

There are, of course, many other examples of bekende Nederlanders, but the types mentioned above are the most common. I could add to the list a washed-up lawyer who wanted to be a TV celebrity, that was fired as a Lawyer and is now a TV celeb. The bekende Nederlanders are like football hooligans, harmless individually but annoying and downright dangerous in groups. To convince themselves that they are actually famous, they frequent the same parties and events, holding each other up like drunks at a bar. To avoid coming into contact with them, my advice is simply to avoid watching Vandaag de Dag and RTL Boulevard, most of whose content focuses on reporting the latest event attended by bekende Nederlanders or the latest footballer clung onto by a gold digger. Watch at your own risk.

No former winners of the Voice or the Xfactor were hurt during the writing of this article.