This article is part of a series sharing the stories of Dutch Australians. Today I have the pleasure of introducing Siobhan. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Siobhan a little via this email interview and also through another article that will be published on Dutch Australian soon about her business Clogheels.
Here’s her story….
Name: Siobhan Katherine “I am not an Irish Catholic” O’Toole
Place of birth: A small country piece of heaven called Cobram, Victoria Australia
Current place of residence: Bondi, Australia aka “The bubble”
Previous place/s of residence: Amsterdam, Netherlands; Den Haag, Netherlands; Brussels, Belgium; Douglas, IOM; Melbourne, Australia; San Antonio, USA.
Connections to Australia: Born and raised here
Connections to The Netherlands: Lived in Netherlands for 5 years and have a Dutch husband, Marcel, and countless lifetime Dutch friends.
What is your level of fluency in English/NL? Fluent Aussie, Dutch conversational, English basic
Family background: English/Irish
What are your feelings about Australia?
Dorothy MacKellar said it best
“I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!”
There are things that drive me insane about Australia but mostly it is one of the greatest countries to live.
What are your feelings about The Netherlands?
Love of orange – I had never worn orange until I went to the Netherlands and now my wardrobe has multiple orange items, not limited to football jerseys.
Love of the Dutch people – everywhere. I decided to move to the Netherlands because I had met Dutch people all over the world – from Syrian deserts to African savannahs. I had liked many that I had met and had an opportunity to work in Europe, so Amsterdam it was. I loved how much more socially conscious I became. I had reverse culture shock coming back to Australia where equality has quite a different meaning. Dutch understand what friendship is and understand respect for others and more oft than not for themselves – which also resonates in business. It is not a culture where you are only a man if you can hit something hard, chug down beer and demoralise other humans.
Love and Hate of Schiphol Gate D56 – 40 mins walk from the entrance – can’t we all have Segway’s ? Yet it is so close to Amsterdam.
Depending on which country you are based in, do you visit Australia/The Netherlands at all?
I visit every year and would like to spend more time in both countries (at least 3 months a year) where I am actually living. I was hoping that Richard Branson would focus less on space travel and focus his efforts on a direct flight of less than 16 hours between Europe and Australia.
We are working on business ventures that will keep us between Amsterdam and Sydney on a very frequent basis.
Do you celebrate Dutch/Australian holidays/traditions if you are living in the alternate country?
Melbourne has a great Dutch community with events that I attended regularly including Queens day 2012. Who could pass up the opportunity to eat bitterballen, drink overpriced Heineken and listen to obnoxiously loud Dutch music whilst dressed in the ever so flattering bright orange.
Since I moved to Sydney I have been less involved as I have been working on the importation of my very own Dutchy – Marcel – whom I met in April 2013 whilst launching my business ClogHeels. www.clogheels.com We were married in May this year!
Any other information you’d like to share on your Dutch/Australian connections?
I admire Dutch in business; they are known to be good traders but they also get involved in many ethical projects and spearhead innovation.
Thank you to Siobhan for taking part. Would you like to share your story? Please contact us!