Series about debt: Schuldig (Dutch)

On the background of the picture you see a finger pressing on a doorbell in an apartment building. It's a creditor. At the same time you see people hugging each other. In front of that image on the background there is the white tekst 'SCHULDIG' written, the name of the show. The subtitle says: wie betaald de rekening? This means: Who pays the bill?

Now that I am growing older I realize how important it is to see life from a different perspective. How different people have different problems, how different people see politics, how different people see life. I think this is important to keep connected and to live with compassion. When you live inside a bubble and never see things from a different perspective, it’s harder to have compassion for people don’t live inside of that bubble. This happens a lot when it comes to money. I see rich people looking down on people with less money or people who get money from the government. And so, today I want to share a series about living in debt. I am sharing the series: Schuldig (a series in Dutch).

Privilege

I feel like a lot of rich people blame poor people for being poor. It’s a sign of neo-liberalism. Those people assume that the harder you work, the richer you are. It’s simply not true. Different people start at a different point and this makes different people have different chances in life. A relevant example here is rich parents sending their children to tutoring. They go there as long as they need to make it to the highest level of education. People with less money can’t afford this for their children and this makes for different chances in life. Just a simple example. In The Netherlands you get benefits from the government if you don’t have a job or can’t make a living. However, this is not a lot. It’s hard to live a normal life if you depend on benefits. Rich people who’ve never had benefits don’t realize this. They say those people are ‘too lazy to work’ or ‘they get free money while we work hard’. I hate that. Nobody chooses to be poor, it’s a matter of privilege. Today I am sharing a series which will show that perspective on privilege.

Schuldig

Schuldig is a Dutch series which shows the world of debt in The Netherlands. The term ‘Schuldig’ means that you owe something to someone if you translate it. It shows the life of some people in debt, but also the view of bailiffs, social workers, politicians and the creditors. If you’d ask me this series really shows how the system of debt in The Netherlands is one of exploitation. It’s extremely hard to get out of debt and many parties make a profit on behalf of the people who are in debt. This made me see the whole issue with much more compassion. Of course people don’t want to be in debt. They want to thrive. I can’t imagine what a life in debt in The Netherlands must be like, but thanks to the series I do have a better view. The series consists of six episodes.

  • Episode 1 starts with the hard reality. In a relatively poor neighborhood a family is kicked out of their home. They have enormous amounts of debt and so the family with young children now don’t have a home anymore.
  • Episode 2 is most about the social workers. You see the people who try to help people in debt with all of their heart. You see a little bit of the proces of people in debt finally having the courage to step up and ask for help.
  • Episode 3 tells the story of the creditor. You know, the person who goes by the doors to tell people their stuff will be taken away due to their debt. I still don’t know how people have the guts to do that job, I would hate it.
  • Episode 4 is about an entrepreneur in debt. An owner of a pet shop. He sells food and other supplies for pets. I feel like this episode had a double message. It shows the misery of debt but it also shows what happens when we choose to support multinationals instead of local shops.
  • Episode 5 tells the story of sickness and debt. You follow the story of a lady who can’t work much due to her illness. However, benefits institutes in The Netherlands are very hard on those people. Sick people who can’t work are told that they could very well work and so they are not given benefits. You hear this story a lot.
  • The last episode, episode 6, is about all the people you’ve seen in the first 5 episodes. The social worker who should retire but has a really hard time, the people trying to get out of debt, what will happen to them after this series?

Perspective

As I said, it is a series about perspective. It made me respect people in debt because they have a hard time. The series showed me that. If I don’t watch series like these I would never know a single thing about what it’s like to live in debt. I would only see my privileged bubble (because I am privileged with a house to live in, no debt, a job, enough money for food, etc.). This is so important, to look outside of your bubble. To have respect for people who don’t have the life you have.

Have you seen Schuldig yet? It can be watched via Human.

Yours sincerely,
Romee Hoeksma

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