televisionDoes money buy happiness? This is the central question in “Filthy Rich, Filthy Poor.” The popular TV show delivers great moments every week, but this week it had a profound impact on the Netherlands. After all, Wednesday night's episode showed how a simple luxury, like a “long” shower, can make a big difference.
Two families exchange lives, homes, and income for a week. One family has little to spend, the other has a lot of money. This is the concept of the program “Steenrijk, Straatarm”, which was also broadcast in Flanders. This week the program focuses on Barbara from Eddy (Gilderland), who has made a fortune through a logo embroidery business. She lives in a spacious house with six bedrooms and three bathrooms, and she's not exactly frugal with her money. “I like to spend money on everything. I don't make a fuss about it, the money will come anyway,” says Barbara.
The contrast with Saskia and Dane of Nykerk (also in Gelderland) could not be greater. The couple has four children to care for, but they live below the poverty line and have to use food banks. “The first few times I really cried,” Saskia admits. “That's what you think: How does he exist? I have a normal education, we work but I'm here. It's kind of embarrassing.”
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The debts increased when Danny's father – a technician – died five years ago and Danny ended up overworked. As a result, the mail was no longer even opened and the bills remained unpaid. Since then, the family has had difficulty keeping their heads above the water. “Once the numbers go negative, it's very difficult to get out of it,” sighs Saskia. So the couple has taken drastic measures: showering has become a luxury, and the family now sets a timer for three minutes to prevent their water bill from rising.
There is great emotion when Saskia and Danny stay with their children at Barbara's house. The family bursts into tears when they see that there is not only a shower without a timer, but also a bathtub to relax in. “I find it very special that people can live this way every day, but we can't,” says their daughter, Frock, emotionally. This is what shocks Father Danny: “Sometimes I feel ashamed because we have so little money,” he sighs. “You know you work hard, and your wife works hard too. It's hard to have so little.”
Barbara's feelings also arise when she sees how difficult the conditions in which the family lives in poverty are. “I think it's really bad. I think it's sad,” she says through tears. “I think it's very sad. When I see this I think: Jesus! “I have a very nice villa… and I have all this luxury… and it's very nice to have.”
Watch also. Families shocked by each other's budget in Flemish version of “Steenrijk, Straatarm”
Dutch viewers stumble over Michelle van den Brande and Sophie: “How unsympathetic!”
The autistic boy from “Rich, Dirt Poor” chimes in: “So poor you have to sell mints?”
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