Per Kamerman is still amazed about it. On Saturday, the 21-year-old second-year International Business Administration student won the game show, Het Beste Brein van Nederland (The Best Brain of the Netherlands) on the NPO1 channel. He beat Marlinde van Roekel from Ede in the finals.

“This is so strange. I never expected it, because so many people apply to take part in the show. Only when I was leading by a couple of points in the last round of the finals did I finally believe I could actually win the game. I really hadn’t thought about it in the episodes before the final. My only aim was not to be the first to take a hit, because if that happened I would have had to play against another contestant where if I lost, I’d definitely be out,” says Kamerman.

‘Then I thought I was out’

The tension built up further for Kamerman in the course of the finals, made up of several rounds where the contestants were whittled down from four to two. “I was the least nervous at the beginning. At that time I thought: whatever happens now doesn’t matter, because I actually made it through to the finals.”

But the uncertainty hit home with Kamerman after the infamous word-finder game. In it, the three remaining contestants had to find as many five-letter words as possible and press the button after exactly 47 seconds, without being able to use any help. “Although I pressed the button exactly on time, I didn’t have a lot of correct words, so I only got six points. Then I really thought I was out. But in the end, I had one point more than my opponent, which took me through to the finals,” explains Kamerman.

Because he had caught up after trailing his rival Marlinde by three points at the start of the finals, they were again neck and neck and Kamerman finally won the last game of the finals, by being the first to answer the first ten questions correctly.

‘So there you are on prime time TV on a Saturday night’

Kamerman really had to get used to his presence on television. “So there you are on prime time TV on a Saturday night. Normally, you feel somewhat distanced from people on TV, and now there you are yourself. Afterwards, I even enjoyed a cosy beer with the presenter Art Rooijakkers.”

The Rotterdam-based student also had some problems coping with the publicity after the finals. “The weirdest was being in the middle of a bar and people knowing your name. I actually don’t mind it, because they want to talk about your prize, but it needs to die down eventually.”

Thus, he remains down-to-earth. “Yes I was on that programme, but I’m still Per. The fuss around me is slowly ebbing away. I do still make the odd boastful joke. When I want to be right, I simply remind everyone I have the best brain in the Netherlands. But I think that’s also going to pass by next week.”

Trip to America

As his prize, Kamerman can put together a trip to America worth 10,000 euros. In the summer, he’ll take a friend to the west coast for two weeks, to visit places like Los Angeles and San Francisco. “I’ve never been outside Europe and I’ve always wanted to go to America, but that’s going to happen a lot sooner than I thought.”

From the qualifying rounds, some two thousand contestants took part in the search for the most intelligent person in the Netherlands. Instead of answering the usual knowledge questions in such game shows, contestants played visual games. For example, they had to guess objects depicted in 3D jigsaw puzzles falling into place.