Welcome to another post in the “meet Dutch Australian people” series”. Today I’m delighted to introduce Angela Robson, a talented artist who currently lives in Leiden, The Netherlands. She was born in Indonesia to Australian parents. Here’s her (email) interview:
Connections to Australia: My parents are Australian.
Connections to The Netherlands: My dad was invited over to teach at the University of Leiden and do research here.
What is your level of fluency in English/Nederlands? Native English speaker and now bilingual.
Family background: I came here (to the Netherlands) when I was three, and went to a Dutch kindy and primary school. Because I was different, I got bullied so my parents decided to let me go to the British school in Voorschoten for my high school years. My parents got divorced when I was 16 and my dad left to go to Melbourne for a new job and life. I had to stay here to finish my schooling. I did go live with him after I finished school but I got homesick for Leiden so went back! Went to uni here and worked in international publishing houses. I married a Dutch guy who is an Anglophile and here we are!
If you have children where were they born? We have two boys aged 10 and 8. Born in Leiderdorp and Leiden resp. in the hospitals there.
If you have children are you raising them bilingually? I try and speak English to them most of the time; very difficult to be consistent. But they understand English, although they speak Dutch back. I hope in time that they will speak English back.
What are your feelings about Australia? Australia is one of my homes. I view the place romantically; a holiday destination and a place where my family is. I often wonder if we can go there for a year… just to see if we can hack it. It’s so beautiful there and the smell of the gumtrees just makes me swoon.
What are your feelings about The Netherlands? It’s home. And a place I can’t go without. If I am not here, I feel homesick. So a bit ambivalent. I wish we had the money to have a house here and in Sydney where most of my family is.
Depending on which country you are based in, do you visit Australia/The Netherlands at all? I haven’t been to Australia since 2005. I do want to go, with the whole family, it’s just so bloody expensive.
How do you communicate with family in the other country? How regularly? I skype with my dad every Sunday. I have FB contact with my half sister and cousin.
Do you celebrate Dutch/Australian holidays/traditions if you are living in the alternate country? I do mark Australia Day and ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day, the latter more as it’s also on the BBC. We do Sinterklaas and all that for the kids.
Any other information you’d like to share on your Dutch/Australian connections?
I am also a Dutch/Australian artist; painting landscapes and seascapes. Also of Australia. See my website for more information!
Also on Facebook: Peartree Art: Paintings by Angela Robson.
Angela was featured recently in a newspaper article in the local Leiden newspaper:
Thanks Angela, it’s been a pleasure to meet you!