2017 Feel At Home in The Hague Fair: Sunday 05 February

Below is the press release for the 2017 Feel at Home in The Hague Fair – but I’ll also add that I have been to many of these and also work a few hours a week with Billy at The Hague Online….highly recommend going to this Fair if you are in The Hague or surrounds, always a highlight of the year!  And if you are in Australia or elsewhere in the world, even just reading through this article and checking out the website will show what’s going on in The Hague – it’s a great international city-Renee

On Sunday 5th February 2017, The Feel at Home in The Hague Fair will celebrate its 10th Anniversary. The Fair will be officially opened by the Mayor of The Hague, Jozias van Aartsen, who will address a special welcome to the international community which plays such an important role in the region.

More than 4000 visitors attended the event in the Hague City Hall in 2016 and appreciated the unique ambiance created by the combination of 150 diverse exhibitors with a dynamic programme of activities and entertainment, workshops and seminars.  

A meeting point for the whole community 

No other expat event in the Netherlands engenders quite the same sense of community as The Hague Feel at Home Fair, where nearly a half of the stands are local sports and social clubs or volunteer organisations. These groups exhibit free of charge and relish the opportunity to network, advertise their activities and recruit new members.  

Showcase for Small Businesses 

Alongside these community groups are dozens of small business stands, many of them run by internationals who themselves moved to The Netherlands as an expat. They take great pleasure in animating the Fair with activities, tastings and performances which help them to connect with fellow internationals. 

A Free Seminar Programme

This year, Education will be the central theme, covering the range of educational choices from pre-school to adult education. Contributors to the Education Programme of talks, seminars and workshops  include many of region’s international schools and universities, and visitors will also have the opportunity to meet the speakers and panelists informally in the Education Zone.

There will also be a complementary series of seminars and workshops on all aspects of life in The Netherlands, from buying a house to learning about Dutch culture. Attendance at all seminars and workshops is free.

Entertainment and Food 

The day is made richer through a lively entertainment programme provided by our international schools, amateur clubs and local professional cultural organisations. This year, with its focus on culture, the Fair will be especially animated, with three different performance spaces – The Podium, Central Park and STET’s Children’s Theatre. 

Furthermore, The Feel at Home in The Hague Fair will be taking its entertainment programme out into the city centre, with some performances being repeated in De Bijenkorf department store. 

The icing on the cake is an International Food Court taking a culinary trip around the World, from Africa to India, Peru and back to Europe . The combination of these elements  gives the Feel at Home in The Hague Fair a unique flavour, which explains why the event plays such a special role as a meeting point for the entire international community. 

A Dynamic International City

As you might expect, around a fifth of our visitors last year were newcomers to The Netherlands, but perhaps more surprisingly, over a third had lived here more than 10 years! What these two groups had in common was a desire to learn more about things to do and events and activities happening in their region.   

 By showcasing the huge range of clubs to join and things to do locally, The Feel at Home in The Hague International Community Fair is a celebration of the region as an interesting and dynamic place for internationals to live. 

For Internationals and internationally-minded locals to come meet with friends and share in the pleasure of the great city of The Hague. 

Registering for Free Tickets 

Entrance is free for visitors who register in advance on our website: www.feelathomeinthehague.com 

On our website and  Facebook page visitors  can also keep up to date with developments on the Fair. 

2017 Dutch Tulip Season begins with National Tulip Day

The new season for cut tulips has begun, attracting attention from around the world. On Saturday 21 January, Dutch tulip growers (TPN) organised the sixth annual National Tulip Day. The highlight was the picking garden of 200,000 tulips in the heart of Amsterdam, where members of the public could pick tulips free of charge. According to TPN President Arjan Smit, ‘National Tulip Day has grown into a world-class event, with around 17,000 international visitors each year. It also attracts a great deal of attention from the national and international press, and tulips have been a trending topic on social media. We could not have imagined a better start to the tulip season’. The theme for National Tulip Day was ‘Dutch Design’, as expressed in the garden design by Floris Hovers. Tulip Day was also celebrated enthusiastically at other locations in the Netherlands. Hundreds of florists and garden centres organised tulip workshops and demonstrations.



Dutch tulips make their way to florists, supermarkets and specialist shops around the world. In 2017, tulip production in the Netherlands will break the boundary of two billion for the first time. Last year, the production of cut tulips amounted to 1.9 billion, with an export value of €250 million. In recent years, tulips have gained considerable popularity due to their high quality, uniformity, expanded assortment and sustainable character. Dutch tulips are currently cultivated primarily in water instead of in potting soil, without the use of chemicals. In addition, the amount of energy used in tulip production is very low in comparison to other flowers, and it continues to decrease each year.


Tulip Day

The first National Tulip Day was in 2012. Held on the third Saturday of January, it now marks the start of the new season for cut tulips each year. Throughout the season, which lasts until the end of April (about 100 days), more than 1,000 different varieties of Dutch tulips are available around the world, ranging from bright yellow to dark purple, from lily-shaped to fringed and from two-toned to double-flowered. Tulip Day is an initiative of TPN.




On 23 March 2017, Keukenhof will be opening its gates for the 68th time. When it closes eight weeks later, some 1 million visitors from across the world will have visited the international flower exhibition. As such, Keukenhof makes a contribution to tourism in the Netherlands. Keukenhof now has a hundred flower bulb growers supplying bulbs to the park and five hundred flower growers participating in the flower shows.

Keukenhof 2017 opens from 23 March until 21 May.  https://keukenhof.nl/en/

Need help with Immigration Law: Dutch Citizenship?

One of the most popular articles on this website has been the “Quest to gain a Dutch Passport: Kelly & Nathan’s story”.  

Unfortunately, I have lost touch with Kelly & Nathan, but if they are reading this, or you know them, please ask them to contact me, would be great to hear if they made any progress.

The comments have been very active over the last couple of years on this post, and you will see that attorney Jeremy Bierbach from Franssen Advocaten, has been supportive in answering questions.

Jeremy is originally from the USA but moved to the Netherlands in 2001 and has lived here since.  He has focussed on immigration and European migration law for some time now.

If you would like to see if Jeremy can help you in your quest for (regaining) Dutch citizenship, please contact him via Franssen Advocaten.

Franssen Advocaten also has information on their website in English about many aspects of immigration law for the Netherlands:

  • Family reunification
  • Working in employment
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Permanent residence
  • Dutch citizenship
  • Civic integration
  • Rights of EU citizens.

They can also assist with family law (divorce, children, maintenance).

You may also be interested in looking at their news section on their site, with recent articles including:

Travelling to Melbourne or Sydney by plane? Enjoy tailor-made Australian English announcements

You are reading the ‘Dutch Australian’ blog, so chances are that you travel a lot by airplane. You will undoubtedly have heard numerous announcements at the airport, telling you where and when to board, informing you about safety regulations and keeping you updated about the delay of your flight. Did you ever wonder who these voices are and where they come from? Let’s find out.

Before automation of the announcements, they were made live, usually by a female speaker behind a microphone. At an international airport such as Amsterdam, you can’t get away with announcements in just Dutch and English, so the announcements were made in other languages as well. This was commonly done by the same person, who did not necessarily have a strong command of these languages. This often resulted in unclear messages and confused travellers.

The beginning of AviaVox
More than 20 years ago, one of the founders of the Dutch company that would later become AviaVox, travelled via Amsterdam Schiphol airport, heard these unclear messages and thought ‘this can be improved!’ This was the start of AviaVox, a company committed to developing voice announcement systems for airports and airlines with which clear and to-the-point announcements can be made in every possible language, without an actual speaker at the site. In the early years, the focus was on Western languages, but now AviaVox covers 30 languages – and counting, with a shifting focus towards the Asian market.

AviaVox is located in Hoofddorp, the Netherlands. Every day, staff are working on grammar rules, developing audio, closing deals with airports, and providing support and maintenance. About 60 language specialists and native speakers work for AviaVox to make sure that grammar and pronunciation are 100% correct. For each language that AviaVox provides, the backbone of the voice solution is a database of grammar rules that drives the composition of announcements from audio fragments, including details such as intonation and timing.

Different accents in English
Now, if you are Australian, you might ask: ‘English? Which English?’ That is a very appropriate question, with all the different accents in English-speaking countries in the world. AviaVox started off with developing British English, which was used by all its airport clients. But as their market expanded beyond Europe, American clients asked for their own accent in English, followed by airports in South Africa, Australia and India.

Melbourne Airport has already used the AviaVox system since 2014, using the British English accent. But Sydney Airport would rather use Australian English announcements within its airport. As AviaVox has a strong focus on the Australian market, it was recently decided to develop announcements in Australian English. An Australian speaker was flown over to the Netherlands to help create the master voice recordings from which the required voice database could be composed. After a full week of recording and many more weeks of audio processing, the Australian voice is now ready for usage in Sydney, and soon it will also replace the British English still used in Melbourne. AviaVox hopes to implement Australian English in more airports in Australia in the near future.

So the next time you travel to or from the airport of Melbourne or Sydney, linger a little longer to listen to the announcements. From the speakers at the gate you will hear beautiful Australian English, developed by a Dutch company. Dutch Australian!


By: Minke Lok