Posted on 21st January 2021

Make Holland Great Again: the awareness-creator for Dutch youth

Learn how Dutch public broadcaster BNNVARA made a show to help spread awareness of fairness, equality and sustainability

Sustainability is an important topic within BNNVARA’s philosophy and they try and insert it into their programming as much as possible.

‘Make Holland Great Again’ is a prime example of this, the creators aim to make the Netherlands aware of social issues through simple ‘missions’, showing how individual contributions can bring about major changes.

Topics tackled in the show include depression among young people, low literacy rates and the shortage of blood donors. But also, and most interesting for albert: issues related to climate change, such as water shortages, food waste, litter, fast fashion and the use of plastic bottles.

Each episode of Make Holland Great Again lasts approximately 42 minutes. Eight episodes are broadcasted per season and every episode covers two different topics which are recorded over the course of 6 days per topic.

The presenter of the show, Sahil Amar Aïssa and the rest of the team (aptly called the GREAT team), tackle the topics in a fun and effective way, involving humour, experimentation and audience participation, both in the broadcast itself and their online community.

“New missions every week” is the messaging presented on the show’s website. While the Netherlands is a beautiful country, things can always be improved. Through the concept of ‘missions’ the creators try to draw attention to a problem in a positive, fun, and slightly activistic way.

“Our own mission is to encourage viewers to participate in an accessible way,” says one of the shows writers, Rijco van Egdom.


Statistics show that the Netherlands throws away 50 million kilos of rubbish. This includes littering on the streets and in nature, which has enormous consequences for the environment. Animals die because their food is polluted or because their environment is damaged. “And that is of course not great at all,” the show states on its website.

There is a simple solution: if everyone throws one piece of litter into the bin every day, that saves millions of pieces of waste going into landfill every day.

We try to make our missions as entry-level and accessible as possible. For example, eating meat one day a week less than you already do or eat a vegetable-croquette instead of a beef-croquette. Recycle your old appliances. Or pick up one piece of litter per day. Anyone can understand this.

— The Make Holland Great Again Team


Behind the scenes, the team of Make Holland Great Again aim to provide their audience with a better understanding of how we should deal with climate change. Vegetarian food is encouraged as much as possible. In addition, there are absolutely no disposable water bottles available during shoots. Everyone brings their own reusable bottle.

Furthermore, editor-in-chief Dimphey Shoolbred said that in terms of catering, the best possible solution is considered for each day of shooting. For example: if there are multiple shooting days in a week, catering is ordered in bulk, and if there is only 1 shooting day in a specific week, individually packed meals are provided instead. In addition, the production team try to reuse, borrow or rent materials they need for missions as much as possible such as decor walls and props.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic did result in a few compromises at Make Holland Great Again. The team used to carpool or travel by public transport as much as possible, but unfortunately COVID restrictions meant they had to travel in separate cars.

Planet Placement

The Make Holland Great Again team had never heard of the term Planet Placement before, but nevertheless the team continuously takes it into account.

For example, you won’t see any plastic packaging in shot, no sweets, snacks and no PET-bottles, not even in the background (unless it is there to make a statement). Furthermore, the team consciously place as many plants in the background of the editorial office in which shooting sometimes take place.


  • In an episode on urban mining, the show called for old, broken or unused equipment to be handed in – and not to leave related substances in the house or put them in their regular rubbish – so that raw materials such as gold, copper, cobalt, etc. can be reused in new machinery.
  • In an episode about water shortage, the audience were asked to eat meat one less day a week than they already do. People can download vegetarian recipes from the website.
  • To combat litter, the show used the hashtag #ElkeDagEentje (translation: #EveryDayOnePiece) to clean up at least one piece of litter every day in order to keep the Netherlands clean. Additionally, the production team picked up waste together on World Cleanup Day, an annual global social action program aimed at combating the global waste problem.

Without finger-pointing, Make Holland Great Again wants to address climate issues in an accessible way, raise awareness and inspire the people of the Netherlands to take action themselves. Their motto is: if no one does anything, nothing will ever change.

Find out more about Make Holland Great Again at its page on the BNNVARA website