The first five things I did when I arrived back in Australia from The Netherlands

To bring you up to speed if you’re not yet a regular on this blog, I’m a Dutch Australian who grew up in Australia, then married a Dutch man and lived in The Netherlands from 2002-2007.  In December 2007, we moved to Brisbane but then our family relocated to The Hague last year (July 2012).

I received the most wonderful Christmas present from my parents – a plane ticket from Amsterdam-Brisbane (return!) for my daughters and I and we flew on Saturday.  After a 25 hour journey with Emirates, when we landed in the early hours of Monday morning, here are the first five things I did when I arrived back in Australia from The Netherlands.

1.  Hugged my family 

It’s been 17 months since my girls have been in Australia and just over a year for me (as I returned for 2 weeks in November 2012 for my brother’s wedding).  It was sooooo good to hug my mum, dad and brother at the airport!  Also just wonderful to see my parents have the chance to hug their grandchildren instead of just talking on Skype. The next day I got to hug my other brother and sister in law.  Amazing.

Brisbane Airport

2.  Saw the Southern Cross

We flew with Emirates and arrived in the early hours of Monday morning.  As I looked out the car window on our trip from Brisbane airport to where my family live on the Sunshine Coast, I immediately spotted the Southern Cross constellation amongst the stars and my heart literally skipped a beat.

Southern Cross

3.  Marvelled at the landscape

The trees and mountains here are so different to The Netherlands – instead of flat open fields dotted with sheep, cows and windmills, the landscape flashing by along the Bruce Highway is what I grew up with – soaring eucalyptus trees, the unique shape of the Glasshouse Mountains, pine tree plantations, green and white road signs.  I didn’t consciously register all the individual elements, but together, I felt like I was surrounded by home.

Tree 4.  Ate a mango

Even though it was around 3am when I walked into my parents kitchen, I could not resist that mouth-watering aroma of the Bowen Mangos.  Juicy, sweet deliciousness!  Though you can buy mangoes in The Netherlands the taste and aroma are just nothing like these ones you get in Queensland.


5.  Listened to the birds

We all went to bed after that long journey at around 4am – and it wasn’t long afterwards that the birds started their morning chorus.  The calls of kookaburras, magpies and more shattered the silence.  Like the landscape, it was all completely familiar to me, but not to my 6 year old daughter.  Though she lived in Australia for several years and would have heard them often, obviously being away for the last 17 months had wiped it from her memory.  “Mama, I can’t sleep, what is that scary sound?!”  The kookaburra sounded like a witch to her!  This filled me with mixed emotions.  There was a level of laughter that welled up, but also sadness that my little Dutch Australian didn’t know the sound of a kookaburra!  We lay in bed together for a while, identifying the calls and I realised that I couldn’t actually identify too many – but this wonderful Backyard Birds website we found later has changed that.  Here’s a noisy minor.

noisy minor

So if you flew from The Netherlands to Australia – or vice versa – after a length of time away, what are the first five things you did (or would do?)


All photos are my own apart from the Southern Cross one (credited above)

Dutch Australian is a community of those with connections to both Australian and The Netherlands.  This blog follows the adventures of our Dutch Australian family as well as highlighting information and articles of interest to dual nationals.  You might like to read more about me, get to know other Dutch Australian people and explore other articles on the blog.  Come and chat to others over in the Dutch Australian Facebook community, we’d love to meet you!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, I’d really appreciate you taking the time to comment below or share.  You can also contact me directly and sign up for our e-newsletter to keep up to date.

18 thoughts on “The first five things I did when I arrived back in Australia from The Netherlands

  1. Hug my family.
    Vegemite and cheese breadroll from Brumbys.
    Sit with my feet in the water at wurtulla.
    Complain that i cant find my way on the roads around the Brekky Creek hotel.
    Sit outside on the verandah while it is pouring rain but still warm – aahhhh home.

    1. Me too Dee! Both in happiness seeing it, and sadness knowing I’ll have to leave it again – but you know what, it’s essentially all the same sky right? (just very spread out and let’s look forward to more blue in the spring in NL). See you when I’m back. Renee x

    1. Hi Nissa, sorry to do that to you! I’ll try and bring you some sunshine back. That’s hilarious re the monkey! They are pretty crazy sounding through, you kind of take it for granted growing up with them. Renee

  2. The first thing we did last year when we arrived in Amsterdam with the cruise ship from Budapest to Amsterdam, was buying een broodje kroket en een zak patat met mayonaise, kaas soufle etc.There is no place in the world where the patat taste so nice as in the Netherlands.

    1. Hi Anneke – we had patat at Schiphol airport before flying here! And it was LOADS better than the pretty average fish and chips we paid $50 for this week (YES, $50 for a family fish and chips, unbelievable!)

  3. welcome home! watermelon would also be on the top of my list coming back to an aussie summer! that and tim tams 🙂 hope you have a lovely stay and enjoy many more mangoes 🙂

    1. Thanks katie! Yes, there are 2 big watermelons in the fridge! I also looked at the tim tams at Coles this week but have to say that I actually decided not to buy them, just didn’t feel like them. Also almost bought a flake shake but decided against that too. What’s wrong with me?! Did get a mango smoothie though…
      Hope you and family all doing well!

  4. Hugging family is definitely at the top of the list. My husband being presented with a mega size ‘moorkop’ and totally enjoying the treat, the oh so green grass everywhere and enjoying the landscape, listening to the church bells and going on bike rides with the wind in my hair!!

  5. I love your writing. I am a Dutch Australian or an Aussie Dutchie whatever you prefer, living in Australia (I was brought up in Holland, and moved here 10 years ago when my kids were 3,4 and 7). Most of all I miss my parents and my kids their opa and oma. I am so grateful for Skype as I haven’t had the chance to go back to Holland. I am very lucky my parents come out here about every 2 years. But there will be a time that they can’t travel anymore, so saving up to go back one day and just go back to my old home town (Hilversum) but in the meantime I love living here on the Sunshine Coast. Just love the Australia weather, always summer to me :-).

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment Simone. I love connecting with people via this blog who understand what it’s like. When we were living here in Australia my husband was homesick for NL and now it’s me for here, I guess that’s what happens in multicultural relationships! I speak with my parents several times a week on Skype. I was at Caloundra today and loved it, despite the rain. Renee

  6. Feeling home sick now. Queensland and WA . Caloundra is we’re my best friend lives. With all our family in Qld we will be feeling it this first Xmas in NL

  7. I’m Australia who just returned here after 1.5 years in the Netherlands and I don’t know if you’re liked me but I was so grateful and relieved to be back 🙂 So the first thing I did was just say thank you to the universe. They let me into my own country with NO grief and NO attitude and NO visas! And the people are SO friendly and the weather is amazing. I am so happy to be back 🙂 And yes to the mangoes too! We went straight out and had Asian food in Sydney CBD off the plane-1000x better than any we had in the Netherlands 🙂 And then I bought some T2 tea. Yum.

  8. My personal need on arrival in Oz after a two year work / travel experience in “olland” was to head out and 1 order a huge vanilla malted milk, 2 a pie and peas. Then devoured the lot with complete and. Absolute gusto.
    Over the next week or two I had to reacquaint my self with my own Oz accent. ( amazing after speaking my form of Dutch for that time, that my english was almost like a second language!)
    Finally I had to remind my self that those around me hardly realized I’d been away, and as they had no chance of understanding my experiences, well don’t try to introduce it into the conversation.

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