Stop looking for De Mol, look for the Kempen resident: “We Kempen residents are just good at keeping a secret” (TV & Radio)

Stop looking for De Mol, look for the Kempen resident: “We Kempen residents are just good at keeping a secret” (TV & Radio)
Stop looking for De Mol, look for the Kempen resident: “We Kempen residents are just good at keeping a secret” (TV & Radio)
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“Hello ma’ke, how are you in Westel?” — “Everything very good. But rain. And the football, bad boy, it’s really impossible!” Wonderful telephone conversation between Senne van der Zweep (28) and his mother at home in the front of the sublime final episode of The moleSunday evening on Play4.

We had of course been enjoying the smooth tongue, charms and looks of this Kempen boy for weeks, who has now moved to Borgerhout with his girlfriend. His charisma was certainly reminiscent of Lennart Driesen from Schoonbroek (Retie), who was allowed to take on the role of a sneaky villain in 2021 and was also everyone’s friend. Completely different characters than, say, the swearing Spanish – ‘di puta madre!’ – fury Coco. Or manager Philippe from Mortsel, who kept repeating during a drawing assignment that he could draw really well. Would a real Antwerp resident ever be able to act unnoticed and charmingly, actually?

Michael, Bernard and Senne. — © carlo coppejans

Senne, Lennart, and then Alina Churikova (then 20): she was the youngest mole ever who completely surprised even the experts in the 2020 edition. Each time they were strong Kempen moles, who also ensured that their group pot remained historically low: perfect molten. What is in that Kempen hardware that they have mastered the double role so well? For the sake of completeness: Uma Vandemaele (the mole 2022) was from Kortrijk and had to take over from the ‘first mole’ in that season, Philippe. And Comfort, the mole in 2023, grew up in Ghent and lives in Jette near Brussels.

Alina, the mole in 2020.

Alina, the mole in 2020. — © Victoriano Moreno

“We Flemish are of course masters of silence. But the Kempen residents and the West Flemish people form the leading group. We talk less about our feelings and keeping secrets, we are just good at that.” These are the words of Patrick Van Gompel from Turnhout, former VTM journalist and still active as a journalist and author. In his book So what he focuses on our national character, in relation to the Dutch. “Yes, then you quickly come across the Kempen traits, because the Dutch have contact with them so often. A Kempen resident is amiable, but very difficult to decipher. I hardly know anything about the program The mole seen, but that fits with the characters they are looking for there…”

Patrick Van Gompel.

Patrick Van Gompel. — © BERT DE DEKEN

“Doubles is even in our genes,” Van Gompel continues. “We keep up a facade without pulling a muscle. And we experience a sin with great pleasure, because we can go to confession afterwards. That is because the Catholic roots run very deep in the people of Kempen.” Senne was able to confess that, in his relief that he had finally been unmasked, in the final episode.

“I also had a bit of a strategy to fit well in the group. After the first evening we already had our clique, with whom we hung around for a beer. That’s what drew me to it too. ”

Lennart Driesen

The mole in 2021

Kempen residents are also said to be stiff. But Van Gompel qualifies this. “They become flexible when something comes back. You have to earn their friendship.” Van Gompel describes his fellow countrymen with great love. But of course they are all assets for a mole.

Another thing: a Kempen resident is home-steady and likes to enjoy themselves. Two examples: mega-supporter of football club Westerlo Senne Van der Zweep has had a ruff – nickname for the players of his team – tattooed on his right leg. That love is forever. And his colleague Lennart from 2021 is really an ambassador for his village of Schoonbroek. He did not watch the grand final on Sunday evening.

Schoonbroek is alive

“Because it was ‘Schoonbroek Leeft’, our big fair in the village. I chose that and then watched it on Monday afternoon,” laughs Lennart, who now works as a teacher. For him, there was no suspicion at all about Senne: “It has been a great season, Senne has done a fantastic job and I am curious about the episode with revelations that is coming up on Sunday. I also had a bit of a strategy to fit well in the group back then. After the first evening we already had our clique, with whom we hung around for a beer. That’s what drew me to it too. That there is something in the Kempen water that makes us better moles? Oh well, I don’t think so.”

Furthermore, the role of the mole is lonely and even the toughest Kempen resident has to get used to it. Lennart: “Everything went well for the first two weeks and I was able to function well thanks to the group. But with the third week there was a dip. You don’t know who to say anything to, you don’t sleep enough, it’s all tough. We were in the group with the dog Isidoor at the time, and had to take him for walks. Well, during such a walk, alone of course, I burst out crying, purely from the suppressed emotion. I haven’t been able to talk to Senne yet, but maybe he also had a dip like that.”

Until the very last moment in the 2021 season, Lennart (left) remained out of harm's way. Here with finalist Sven.

Until the very last moment in the 2021 season, Lennart (left) remained out of harm’s way. Here with finalist Sven. — © Play4

Tags: Stop Mol Kempen resident Kempen residents good keeping secret Radio

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