2017 Australia Day

Though I type this in The Hague, with cold fingers, and -2 degrees outside, I have been making it a tradition to do an annual Australia Day post!  While all of you there in Australia enjoy a holiday, I’ll be working tomorrow and the girls have school – and I always wonder whether to “celebrate” as it makes me quite homesick still.  I’m sure I’ll wake up to lots of photos on my Facebook feed of sunshine and beaches and maybe backyard cricket and BBQs – but what Australia means most to me is still family and friends.  Like I posted in my 2016 Australia Day post I’m still in favour of changing the day – you?  And for something cute – check out my 2012 Australia Day post of the girls singing “Give me a home among the Gum Trees”.

For this year, I’m sure most of you have seen it, but here’s the Aussie Lamb ad.  The video below also “rips it apart” (also very Aussie I guess!) but I enjoyed the sentiment of making Australia inclusive.  The multiculturalism of Australia and the Netherlands is one of my favourite things, and I hope we can continue to find ways to live in harmony.  Happy Australia Day!  -Renee




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

2017 Unox New Year’s Dive

As an Australian, it’s perfectly normal to me that Christmas and New Year’s involves the beach.  However here in the Netherlands, where temperatures are very chilly at this time of year, a dip into the ocean is the last thing on my mind.  Unox, however, has sponsored a tradition to dive into the icy sea on 1 January each year, as well as taking a dive in other locations in the Netherlands.

Here’s some photos from the 2017 edition.  I have to admit, I received these in a press release from Unox, I wasn’t actually there – I was home warm and dry on my couch!  Maybe one day I’ll join in.

Dutch press release from Unox:

SCHEVENINGEN, 1 januari 2017 – Vele tienduizenden mensen deden vandaag mee aan de Unox Nieuwjaarsduik. Op 142 plaatsen in het hele land renden deelnemers het koude water in. De stevige wind zorgde voor een gevoelstemperatuur van onder het vriespunt. Het evenement is volgens de organisatie veilig verlopen, mede dankzij de inzet van honderden vrijwillige lifeguards van de Reddingsbrigade.

Scheveningen was het decor van de grootste Nieuwjaarsduik ter wereld: 10 duizend mensen sprongen de Noordzee in om 2017 in te luiden. De duik had dit jaar een extra feestelijk tintje. Unox bestaat 80 jaar en trakteerde deelnemers en bezoekers van de duik, naast mutsen en erwtensoep, op een hartverwarmend oer-Hollands meezingfestijn, het ‘Nieuwjaars-kom-snert’.




Dutch Shuffleboard (Sjoelen) – a fun family game everyone can play in Australia

Sjoelen, or Dutch Shuffleboard, was invented in Holland sometime during the 19th century. It is a great family – friendly game that is easy to learn, but not so easy to master! Keep your family and friends entertained for hours as Sjoelen is the perfect addition to any party, workplace or family gathering! You can view an outline of how to play on Sjoelbak Australia’s rules page.

The term “Sjoelbak” actually refers to the board used to play Sjoelen. Sjoelbak Australia specialise in high quality authentic Dutch Sjoelbak boards that can last a lifetime, becoming a treasured family possession worthy of being handed down from one generation to the next.

Today, Sjoelen is growing in popularity and traction in many countries across the world, including Australia. Despite originating in Holland over two centuries ago, Dutch Shuffleboard remains a favourite game in schools, clubs, families and parties around the world. Discover the joy and competitive fun of Dutch Shuffleboard today and take a look at www.sjoelbak.com.au

A great Christmas present for a Dutch Australian!  Free shipping within Australia for a limited time.

Dutch, New Zealand and Australian universities join forces to provide Agriculture Education


MoU partners with Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands

Three of the world’s leading agriculture universities have combined their expertise to offer a specialist masterclass aimed at enhancing capacity within Australia’s horticulture industry.

The Masterclass in Horticulture Business will provide access to the best research from around the world by combining the expertise of the world’s number one ranked university in agriculture and forestry, the Wageningen University in the Netherlands, New Zealand’s specialist land-based Lincoln University, and the University of Tasmania, which is ranked in the top 100 universities globally for agriculture.

The partnership was formalised on 3 November 2016 with the signing of a Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) between the three universities and funding partner Horticulture Innovation Australia.

Head of the School of Land and Food at the University of Tasmania, Professor Holger Meinke, said the masterclass offered tremendous benefits for the horticulture industry and had potential to become internationally renowned.

“Future growth and prosperity of horticulture depends on a resilient, adaptable and innovative workforce that is equipped to change with industry demands. The Masterclass aims to help industry take their businesses to the next level by providing access to the best research and understanding global trends in agriculture and horticulture, international business, innovation, value chains, governance and risk,” Professor Meinke said.

This sentiment was echoed by Lincoln University’s Professor Hugh Bigsby, who said: “Our partnership with Wageningen Academy, the professional training section of Wageningen University, is a boost for Lincoln University. The MoU is the beginning of a partnership that will reap tremendous benefits for our university. This will further strengthen our already strong partnership with the University of Tasmania.”

Best described as a mini-MBA, the 10-month Masterclass is available to 30 growers and people working in the supply chain looking to take their businesses to the next level. Enrolments will open this year ahead of its introduction in early 2017.

The MoU ceremony took place in the presence of Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands at Cockatoo Island, off the coast of Sydney.


Dr Alistair Gracie and Professor Holger Meinke from the University of Tasmania

For more information: www.utas.edu.au/land-food/masterclass-in-horticultural-business