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Bert van Leeuwen allows participants to hug each other in Family Dinner | NOW

The 21st series of The Family Dinner was admitted during the corona crisis. Although Bert van Leeuwen urges the participants to keep their distance, he sees it occasionally happen that reunited family members nevertheless jump into each other’s arms. “But we do everything we can to ensure that it runs safely”, he says in conversation with NU.nl.

In the program, Van Leeuwen and his team strictly adhere to the rules, which mainly consist of keeping their distance. “I prepare people for that: when I ring the doorbell I immediately indicate that I keep my distance and when the participants come to dinner I tell them not to kill each other.”

Sometimes people listen to them better than other times, says the EO presenter. He interferes with it as much as possible. “But the need to hug each other is sometimes so strong and I see that as their own responsibility. On the other hand, there are also people who would keep their distance from each other outside of corona time, haha. People often put it into words. sometimes and saying, “I’d love to give you a hug now, but that’s not possible right now.” The fact that people look each other in the eye again and have a meeting that hasn’t happened for years is so important. ”

Van Leeuwen has not yet heard any ‘cases’ of families turned upside down by the corona crisis. “I absolutely believe that arguments have arisen over this time, but those stories have yet to reach me. Only when an argument has been going on for years, people come to our program. “

Bert van Leeuwen rings the bell at a participant.

Bert van Leeuwen rings the bell at a participant.

Bert van Leeuwen rings the bell at a participant.

Photo: IT’S THE

‘Sometimes difficult to be neutral’

The presenter is usually neutral in the quarrels he tries to settle. “The only thing I do is open up and ask questions with my common sense. I do not take sides and am unbiased. The truth is not always exactly in the middle, but people always have their own experience. I try to check whether the there is will to resolve the argument and whether they are willing to come out and have a conversation with each other. Usually there is a lot to resolve. “

Occasionally, he finds it more difficult to adopt an unbiased attitude. “If someone is really unreasonable, I find it difficult. That happened last year during an argument between a father and his two daughters, whom he had abandoned. They wanted to be in touch and the father did not want that, he had none there either. arguments for it. Then I get pissed off, take him a little harder off-screen and say, “Come on, at least start the conversation.” I respect it if they don’t want that, but I think it’s a shame. “

“Don’t want to be a mediator in a family quarrel”

Bert van Leeuwen

That neutral position that the EO presenter takes is precisely the reason that he prefers to avoid the role of mediator in a family quarrel of his own. “I come from a large family and something happens everywhere, also in our family. Then I don’t want to act as a mediator. In the program I have the luxury position that I am unbiased, that does not work in a private matter. Then I do not want to do that. start acting smart. “

He has after 21 seasons Family dinner another wise counsel for people facing family conflict? “It is a huge clincher, but: keep talking about it. Do not text, but talk to each other and above all: try to listen to the other. And look in your reproach for the question that lies behind it. When people hear a reproach, they often immediately climb into the curtains. But if you ask the other person the associated question, it immediately sounds very different. “

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