After 10 years playing ubiquitous Albert Heijn supermarket boss Mr van Dalen in television adverts, actor Harry Piekema has decided to call it a day.
Piekema has played Van Dalen in 153 adverts and will disappear from screens on December 30 – with an ad for discount tissues. News of his decision to leave the campaign was one of the biggest Dutch news stories over the Christmas weekend.
Piekema, who also does documentary voice-overs, says he wants to spend more time on live theatre and that this is impossible to combine with his role as a supermarket boss. Next year, for example, he plans to direct English-language play Mrs Picasso, the Volkskrant reports.
In a farewell interview on broadcaster Nos, Piekema revealed his contract included a clause that he did not use other supermarkets to do his own shopping.
He cites filming with the Muppets, making an advert with Dutch international footballers and swinging through an Albert Heijn like Tarzan as among the highlights of his supermarket career.
The Mr Van Dalen commercials gathered 33 Dutch Gouden Loeki advertising award nominations. As a tribute to Piekema, Albert Heijn has placed all of them online on a special ‘thank you’ website.
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