Dutch TV is going to start dubbing shows. Dutch people are outraged

Dutch TV is going to start dubbing shows! This decision has outraged Dutch people, and many have spoken out against it. Here is everything you need to know about this horrifying idea.

The first initiative of dubbing a TV show

For the first time a foreign series for an adult audience is getting dubbed in the Netherlands. This controversial step was taken by the Dutch channel NPO. The voice over is for the German series Bad Banks, in which Dutch actor Barry Atsma plays a leading role. According to NPO, Atsma will be the one dubbing his character and the actor has expressed his excitement about voicing the show in his native language. However, the news wasn’t taken very well by the Dutch.


Why Dutch people are outraged about Dutch TV dubbing shows

So far in the Netherlands, the shows that would get dubbed were the ones for children. On the other hand, all foreign TV shows for adults would get Dutch subtitles. This format of translating foreign content was widely accepted by the Dutch and everyone seemed very content with it.

In fact, many Dutch people contribute their awesome English skills to the subtitled movies and TV shows from America. For them, learning English became a lot easier when being able to listen to the language while reading the Dutch translation at the bottom.

The same cannot be said about France and Germany, where undubbed English entertainment would be considered an offense to the country’s precious nationalistic values. And while some countries do prefer entertainment dubbed in their own language, we can’t help but feel like it’s a bit hilarious. For example, check out this video…damn, it’s awkward.

Yikes! However, it looks like the Netherlands will be implementing this kind of format as well. This has, of course, enraged many Dutch people who are proud of their superb English skills compared to other countries and don’t like their entertainment looking like a poorly dubbed Bruce Lee movie from the 1970s (which is the only acceptable dubbing there is)

How do you feel about Dutch TV dubbing foreign shows? Let is know in the comments below!

Veronika Licheva
Veronika Licheva
Living the short girl life in the land of giants. Veronika is a content creator who takes great interest in video, photography, and journalism. Her mission in The Netherlands is to build a vibrant and exciting career, while simultaneously petting as many dogs as possible.
  1. “In fact, many Dutch people contribute their awesome English skills to the subtitled movies and TV shows from America.”
    That should have been “… Dutch people ATTRIBUTE their awesome …”
    Take it from this Dutchie in the USA.

  2. It’s not all bad. As a foreigner wishing to learn Dutch, I would be EXTREMELY interested in buying or streaming shows like Friends or How I Met Your Mother dubbed in Dutch.

    Since I know them nearly by heart in English, it would be a good way to get exposure to spoken Dutch without feeling too much of a strain.

    I know that REwatching shows in the language you wish to acquire is a very good way to learn since this is a large part of how I learnt English! I was already very familiar with a few American shows having watched them with subtitles in my native language. Then I streamed them with subtitles turned off. It took me a while to get the gist of things but it was definitely faster – and more fun – than another round of textbook exercises or classroom practice.

    • Dubbed shows won’t help you learn Dutch. Take it from me, I lived a year in French-speaking Belgium where they dubbed everything in French. I knew French before I went there after 5 years of French lessons at school, but I couldn’t watch any dubbed TV. I simply couldn’t understand what they were saying. If I watched a French show spoken originally in French, I could understand most of it.

      When you see people pronounce one sound and you hear them say another, your brain interprets the sound as something else completely. It’s called McGurk effect. Plus it’s very distracting when the voice you hear doesn’t match the voice of the actor as you know it from undubbed shows and movies. You can’t focus on the story nor on trying extra hard to understand what’s being said. You might be able to do it with languages sufficiently different from one another or when your language skills in the dubbing language are already so strong that you have no problems understanding the dubbing language in most situations. I watched an originally English speaking movie dubbed in German once with friends. I understood it better than any movie dubbed in French. My German is not so great but the staccato rhythm of the German language was so different from English that it helped to counteract the McGurk effect to a degree.

  3. Kinda weird to see Dutch people HATING dubbing so much, from Japanese perspective, where almost everything is dubbed with professional voice acting, and subtitle is also popular. I get some of their point like subtitle is useful to learn other languages and dubbing sounds awkward (which is somewhat convincing considering how recent Japanese dubbing is becoming more overactive and unnatural compared with Japanese dubbing from 1960s~90s), but they are too much harsh on dubbing culture. Dubbing culture is great, for making people who don’t speak your language more intimate (if it’s dubbed well of course). Dutch people are too humble about their own language.

  4. As someone who grew up in the netherlands with cartoons, the moment they started dubbing (most) of those, think cartoon network era, to Dutch is the moment I lost interest. Dutch Johnny Bravo just ain’t right man.

  5. Why do you think the French can’t speak English for shit and I was fluent by the time I was 18? Dubbing is for kids who can’t read yet.


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