They are living in what is perceived to be the most liberal of societies. From conservative societies in Morocco, Ghana, Somalia, Turkey and Egypt, a debate club in the Netherlands faces the controversies of the day and they learn about themselves in the process.

Couscous & Cola is a series that shows us the attitudes, sometimes angry, sometimes provocative, always insightful, of a group of teenagers who have immigrated to Holland. 

America lived through their 9/11 and Holland through their 11/2, when the filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered by a 26-year-old Dutch citizen of Moroccan descent. Couscous & Cola was shot in the hectic weeks before and after the killing. It gives us vital clues to youth sentiment throughout Europe today. 

Maartje Nevejan, the director, befriended a group of immigrant teenagers in a debating club in Amsterdam. In their debates, they try their best to survive between two worlds and simply have fun. These kids both hate and adore the United States. That was the challenging reason to travel with them to America. While preparing their journey we witness their struggle with passports, parents and older brothers, and follow their ongoing passionate debate. In the end, although you might disagree with their point of views, you may begin to empathise with them. 

Couscous & Cola was originally produced by IDTV for the Dutch network BNN.

Part One

America as an example

In the first of a multipart series, we are introduced to a group of Muslim and Christian teenagers at a pre-vocational school in Amsterdam. They have all been chosen for a debate club, which forms the basis of this series.

The series revolves around their perceptions and attitudes towards one of the most liberal societies in the world on the one hand, and their culture of origin on the other. They begin the series by discussing why and whether America is seen as an example for the rest of the world.

The series also begins to introduce the kids and their families one by one. We begin to understand their life circumstances, why they may think the way they do, and whether they might encounter problems with visas and permits to travel to America.

Part One America as an example is scheduled to air at the following times:
Monday 19 March 2007 (06.30 GMT)
Tuesday 20 March 2007 (14.30 GMT)
Wednesday 21 March (04.00, 10.30, 20:30 GMT)
Thursday 22 March (04.30 GMT)
Friday 23 March (02.00 GMT)
Saturday 24 March 2007 (01.30, 07.30, 23.30 GMT)
Sunday 25 March 2007 (08.30, 18.30 GMT)

Part Two

Brothers and Sisters

In this episode of Couscous & Cola the teenagers debate their roles as siblings, what family values mean to them, discipline, sacrifice and love. 

There debates centre around their families, their responsibilities as siblings and sons or daughters and what it means to have discipline in their lives.

Their dream of travelling to America continues to encounter new obstacles.

Part Two Brothers and Sisters is scheduled to air at the following times:
Monday 26 March 2007 (06.30 GMT)
Tuesday 27 March 2007 (14.30 GMT)
Wednesday 28 March (04.00, 10.30, 20:30 GMT)
Thursday 29 March (04.30 GMT)
Friday 30 March (02.00 GMT)
Saturday 31 March 2007 (01.30, 07.30, 23.30 GMT)
Sunday 01 April 2007 (08.30, 18.30 GMT)

Part Three


In the third series of Couscous & Cola the teenagers begin to tackle increasingly difficult and controversial issues.

Parental abuse, violent relationships with the opposite sex and how to cope with them are all raised.

They group come up against their parents and their values constantly and have to negotiate for themselves what it means to be young, Muslim and Dutch.

Part Three Discipline is scheduled to air at the following times:
Monday 02 April 2007 (06.30 GMT)
Tuesday 03 April 2007 (14.30 GMT)
Wednesday 04 April (04.00, 10.30, 20:30 GMT)
Thursday 05 April (04.30 GMT)
Friday 06 April (02.00 GMT)
Saturday 07 April 2007 (01.30, 07.30, 23.30 GMT)
Sunday 08 April 2007 (08.30, 18.30 GMT)

Part Four

Boys and Girls

In the fourth episode of Couscous & Cola the debating group starts to explore relationships.

They discuss the differences between boys and girls, culture and marriage, all within a Dutch immigrant context.

Gender differences emerge as a prominent theme as the topics discussed and debated include sexual relationships, gender inequality and marriage.

Part Four Boys and Girls is scheduled to air at the following times:
Monday 09 April 2007 (06.30 GMT)
Tuesday 10 April 2007 (14.30 GMT)
Wednesday 11 April (04.00, 10.30, 20:30 GMT)
Thursday 12 April (04.30 GMT)
Friday 13 April (02.00 GMT)
Saturday 14 April 2007 (01.30, 07.30, 23.30 GMT)
Sunday 15 April 2007 (08.30, 18.30 GMT)

Part Five


In this episode of Couscous & Cola, the kids debate just what respect means to them.

The debate takes in what they think about children and explores their attitudes towards alternative lifestyles.

As the teenagers talk of respect in a broad sense, they are forced to confront their attitudes towards alternative relationships.

Part Five Respect is scheduled to air at the following times:
Monday 16 April 2007 (06.30 GMT)
Tuesday 17 April 2007 (14.30 GMT)
Wednesday 18 April (04.00, 10.30, 20:30 GMT)
Thursday 19 April (04.30 GMT)
Friday 20 April (02.00 GMT)
Saturday 21 April 2007 (01.30, 07.30, 23.30 GMT)
Sunday 22 April 2007 (08.30, 18.30 GMT)

Part Six

New York

After weeks of struggling to overcome the numerous obstacles they encountered, the debating group finally fulfills its dream of visiting America.

They get to experience first hand the country they both hate and adore, which they had previously only been able to debate from a distance.

Their visit starts off in New York where they visit Ground Zero, attend a gospel church and visit the local mosque.

The teenagers talk of their impressions of America and Americans.

Part Six New York is scheduled to air at the following times:
Monday 23 April 2007 (06.30 GMT)
Tuesday 24 April 2007 (14.30 GMT)
Wednesday 25 April (04.00, 10.30, 20:30 GMT)
Thursday 26 April (04.30 GMT)
Friday 27 April (02.00 GMT)
Saturday 28 April 2007 (01.30, 07.30, 23.30 GMT)
Sunday 29 April 2007 (08.30, 18.30 GMT)


Part Seven


In the final episode of Couscous & Cola, the teenagers visit Oswego, New York, where they get the opportunity to sit down with a group of young Americans, like themselves.

This gives them the chance to discuss the global issues of the day as part of a larger group and to see how the American teenagers view the issues discussed.

The Dutch students tell the Americans why they are disliked around the world and try to find solutions to the world's predicaments.

Part Seven Oswego is scheduled to air at the following times:
Monday 30 April 2007 (06.30 GMT)
Tuesday 01 May 2007 (14.30 GMT)
Wednesday 02 May (04.00, 10.30, 20:30 GMT)
Thursday 03 May (04.30 GMT)
Friday 04 May (02.00 GMT)
Saturday 05 May 2007 (01.30, 07.30, 23.30 GMT)
Sunday 06 May 2007 (08.30, 18.30 GMT)

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