Polopos Goes Dutch

Sunday, September 8, 2019
By Martin Myall

ALP Polopos Dutch Reality ShowThe village of Polopos is not the easiest place to get to, but it is well worth braving the ten kilometres of winding access lane.

Like all of these rural outbacks, where they once had a thriving population of a couple of thousand, the present one barely reaches 60 – the village school shut down over 16 years ago. Most of the 300 houses are empty most of the year; others are in ruins.

So, when a Dutch reality show aired on RTL4 decided to come to town, it really put Polopos on the map. For several months this year, Polopos, starting in March right up to the 28th of August, the Het Spaanse Dorp: Polopos film crews occupied the village, keeping it all under raps until late summer when it was aired in Holland.
The reality-TV show had already done the same in a little Italian village the previous year and had wanted to do the same again, but in Spain.

Yes, Polopos was probably the most popular Spanish village known to the 800,000 regular viewers of the programme during its 50 episodes emitted. When you take into account that the Nederlands only has a population of 17 million, that’s a high viewing percentage.

Ten Dutch couples out of several thousand aspirants were chosen to come to Polopos and turn a house in ruALP Polopos Dutch Villageins into their new homes. Before the show drew to a conclusion, there were only five couples left, but build their homes they did.

They came to the village not knowing a word of Spanish but in those three short months have become Poloperos, breathing new life into the village. They had propably never heard of the village until this reality show came around, but now, they’ll never forget it.

Then there is the economic lift that not only left its mark on Polopos, but was also felt in Castell de Ferro and Castillo de Baños, where the 40-odd members of the film crew lodged.

The competitors had to jump through all the usual legal hoops to get building licences and everything else you need to turn a tumbled-down house into a home – not an easy task as many know.

And in the end, the big day came when one of those five remaining couples, Thysa Zevenbergen & Wijnand Boon, were chosen as the winners. On the judges’ panel were the Mayor of Polopos-La Mamola and three other locals. The winners not only have a new home in the sun, but also a 20,000-euros cash prize. The money, however, must be spent on their projects in the village.

It is important to point out that the task that the competitors were faced with was not only building a home, but also setting up a local business.

So, you might be asking yourself, why Polopos if La España Vacía is a national phenomenom? Well, A Dutch TV & film producer, Ivo de Jongh, has lived there for many years. He had travelled around a lot, but when he came across this rustic corner of the province, he decided to hang his hat there.

Yes, he wants to breathe life into the village, but not with mindless tourism but with a cross between luxury and ecological tourism.

(News: Polopos, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)

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