What can the Netherlands offer Australia?  Discussing a possible additional function for DACC

Photo: Klaas Woldring: King Willem Alexander in Sydney November 2016 with a group of Dutch organisations representatives.

In this guest post by Klaas Woldring, Ph. D. who is secretary of the Dutch Australian Cultural Centre Ltd. (DACC) in Smithfield, Sydney, Australia, he discusses a possible additional function for the DACC and what the Netherlands could mean for Australia.

In recent commemorations about the Netherlands in Australia, in 2006 and 2016, understandably there was a heavy concentration on the several landings by VOC ships on the Australian coast and the extensive mapping of that coast during the entire 17th century.

The DACC contributed actively to these activities by means of map and heritage item exhibitions, adding thereby to its initial functions of establishing and maintaining an archive, reference library and attractive, educational heritage centre at the back – Holland House, also known as ’t Winkeltje, Smithfield. We also distributed much promotional information much of it provided by the Dutch Embassy and the Australia on the Map Committee. These tasks have been undertaken almost exclusively by volunteers, supported by fairly small numbers of members and, financially, by small donations.

It has occurred to me recently that we could add a new function to this by purchasing, collecting and possibly selling new books about the Netherlands today concentrating on services, expertise and products that would be of interest to Australians generally.

In other words we may consider becoming an Information Centre for that particular purpose as well, a function that is actually covered by our original Mission Statement. Our request for providing some initial funding for this purpose to the Embassy could not be met because the Embassy is of the view that the rules of Shared Heritage, Grants projects do not provide for such funding. Hopefully, this may change in the future.

Such literature, all in English of course and to be targeted very carefully, would provide up to date relevant information about the Netherlands rather than just Dutch/Australian historic interests in the region, mostly relating to the 17th century. As an example:

  • Dutch business interests in Australia and South East Asian region
  • Dutch products and services in demand or to be promoted in Australia
  • Special Dutch expertise and services, private and public, that would be of interest to Australians
  • Dutch expertise in water management such as the Delta Project, river flows and management, also harbour management
  • The threat of drought or urban water shortages in Australia, always present of course, could be reduced considerably by more effective water conservation and/or transport.
  • Dutch experiences with earth gas exploration are conceivably useful for irresponsible fracking exercises
  • Dutch expertise in solar energy is demonstrated here in car races year after year
  • Great advances in climate change approaches which the Dutch Professor Rob Roggema (UTS) recently very well explained in the Cleveringa lecture in Sydney.  The clever management of heavy city traffic in the Netherlands (Randstad) was demonstrated also by him as well.
  • The showmanship and entertainment professionalism of Andre Rieu, also widely acclaimed elsewhere in the world, e.g. the US, UK, Brazil and Australia
  • The fantastic variety of tulips developed and exported to many places in the world, including Canberra
  • Dutch soccer coaches that could be of vital interest to Australian soccer, already proven earlier.
  • There is considerable interest here in the Dutch prison system, e.g. Professor Tony Vinson.
  • There is also great interest here in the Dutch approach to euthanasia. Andrew Denton, a great supporter, has recently studied that in the Netherlands.
  • Books in English about the use of marihuana in the Netherlands would be a real bonus for a Dutch Information Centre in Australia.
  • When it comes to politics the Dutch could provide tremendously important input in Australian society by informing them about a much better electoral system than the single-member-electoral district system inherited from the British, the basic cause of Australia’s adversarial parliamentary system that so many people now rightly complain about.
  • The writings of the celebrated Dutch-American political science Professor Arendt Lijphart would be particularly useful for the locals here. Dutch (and European) alternatives to the Westminster system of recruiting Ministerial competence would be another benefit in the area of governance.
  • The Dutch tripartite system of industrial relations and the Dutch Workplace Relations and Participation system as well the New Act on Work and Security (2014) would be particularly useful information for Australia.
  • When it come to cycling, the Dutch have a wealth of  experience, models, cycles paths, their role in traffic, etc.
  • Even as regards the history of the 17th century we could mention e.g. Simon Schama’s exhaustive study, in English, of the Golden Age and Amsterdam.

Such books should also be available for both lending and selling.

We are not just talking about Sharing Cultural History but also about the business interests that the Dutch Government and Dutch corporations are certainly entirely familiar with – and wish to promote. Australia could use more of that information here, in English, and we could supply that.

Our Centre could be further developed into an Information Centre about the Netherlands preferably positioned in the centre of Sydney. I would think that while providing information of this kind is perhaps a limited function of the Embassy and the Consulates, it could be promoted much more effectively and permanently by a Dutch Information and Heritage Centre. The members of Dutch Link would also be served by that expansion.

Australians are really MUCH more interested in what the Netherlands has to offer NOW than what happened in the 17th century.

While they politely participate in commemorations, like the one last year and in 2006, they don’t really like all that much that the Dutch were here 160 years before James Cook, and actually mapped much of the Coastline long before Matthew Flinders. They say, we developed the continent and you stuck to your interests in the Indies as there were no spices to be found here. We should reflect on that reality. Plugging that too much may not serve Dutch and Dutch Australian interests all that well.

Guest post by: Klaas Woldring, Ph. D., Secretary Dutch Australian Cultural Centre Ltd., Smithfield, Sydney.


Renting a home in Queensland

I’m sorting through some old documents today, and found this one for renting a home: a tenant’s guide to the rules for renting in Queensland

This is from some time ago, when we moved from the Netherlands (back) to Australia in 2007. Back then, we had a young baby and found an apartment for the three of us in Ascot, Brisbane. I remember at the time, competition was quite high for rental properties, with lots of people turning up for viewings. We were successful though and lived there for 8 months until we bought our own property. What differed from my experiences in the Netherlands was that there, I was surprised that a lot of rental properties expect that you do your own flooring and lighting. In Australia, this is usually already done.

I grew up in Maleny and first moved to Brisbane when I finished school. Friends and I rented properties in West End and Paddington. Back then, I also remember signing rental agreements. Each time, you pay a security deposit/bond, which you are supposed to get back when you leave the place in good condition. Sometimes there is a dispute, in which case it’s then referred to the RTA: residential tenancies authority.

For more information about renting a home in Queensland, you can visit:


If you have any experiences or tips for those renting in other states in Australia, please comment below.


Stagereizen Internship in Australia or New Zealand

An internship in Australia or New Zealand?

Nederlands: (English information below)

Stagereizen : Stagereizen is sinds 2007 gespecialiseerd in het bemiddelen van buitenlandse stages. Vanuit ons kantoor in Nieuw-Zeeland of Australië zoeken wij voor de student de perfecte stage. Daarnaast helpen we bij het vinden van geschikte huisvesting, aanvragen van het visum, regelen van de verzekering en uitzoeken van het vliegticket. Ten slotte is stage lopen in het buitenland niet compleet zonder activiteiten als weekendtrips, barbecues en netwerkborrels. Naar wat voor stage in Australië of stage in Nieuw-Zeeland je ook op zoek bent, Stagereizen zorgt voor een geweldige tijd.


Founded in 2007, Stagereizen have assisted thousands of local and international candidates connect with companies throughout New Zealand and Australia. We strive for excellence, value and constant improvements on our Programs and Services.

We offer a comprehensive list of services catering to a wide range of needs for completing an internship abroad. The student will be able to focus on his/her internship without the worries of figuring everything out – or risk doing things wrong. Our primary mission will always lie in ensuring every intern successfully completes their internship. Whether this involves gaining the relevant credits and/or experience, we have never had an intern who has failed to do so for reasons within our control. Being aware of the needs of both host companies and the demands of educational institutions goes a long way to ensure this happens. We acknowledge that the time spent away from work can be just as important. At Stagereizen we arrange activities and events that allow our interns to make friends and memories as they explore, together, our beautiful countries Down Under.


For more information:


If you are Dutch and do decide on an internship in Australia or New Zealand, I’d love to hear about it!  Please contact me.  Renee




New Consul-General of the Netherlands to Australia

A warm welcome to Australia to Frank van Beuningen, the new Consul-General of the Netherlands in Sydney. Frank arrived in Sydney last month. Before his posting Down Under, he worked as a diplomat on special assignments and had several postings, among others in Afghanistan, Germany, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Ivory Coast and Zimbabwe. Besides working on economic diplomacy and trade promotion, Frank has dealt extensively with security policy, counter-terrorism and human rights issues.

In the Netherlands Frank was the co-founder and later director (1998 – 2002) of the Advisory Council on International Affairs, a think tank that advises the Dutch government on a regular basis on all aspects of foreign and security policy. He has a degree in international affairs from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. Frank is married to Jennie and together they have two adult children.

After having been in Sydney for nearly two weeks, Frank says “he feels like a dog with two tails”. He states: “I am looking forward to working with the team on the optimising of consular services and the potential for Dutch companies to partner with Australian counterparts to achieve sustainable trade and investment for both our countries. I cannot wait to get to know the Dutch community. I am very interested in its history”.

More information can be found here:

Dutch: www.nederlandwereldwijd.nl/landen/australie

English: www.netherlandsworldwide.nl/countries/australia

Behind the scenes of Heavenly Holland

I’d like to introduce Annie of the Heavenly Holland Facebook community and website.  With over 46,000 followers on Facebook and extensive information and beautiful images on her website, Annie loves to share her passion for the Netherlands.   She is Dutch but writes in English on her website so that people all around the world can learn more about “this amazing little country in Western Europe”.

Here’s an online interview:


Hi, I’m Annemarie Olde Daalhuis, but you can call me Annie.  I live in Enschede, the Netherlands and my connection with Australia is that a large part of the Heavenly Holland community is based there. After the Netherlands, the USA and Canada, the country with the most followers is Australia. From their comments I notice that many of them are of Dutch descent. This is confirmed by the results from a recent poll. Sadly I’ve never been to Australia myself, yet. Who knows that the future holds…

Other target readers of Heavenly Holland are international tourists who wish to visit the Netherlands, and expats who already live in the Netherlands. After extensive traveling to several countries in almost all regions, except the Pacific, and never getting bored answering questions about my homecountry, I decided to start a Facebook page about the Netherlands. This is nearly seven years ago. Since then, the Heavenly Holland community has grown to over 46,000. With this Facebook page I intended to put the positive aspects of the Netherlands in the spotlight as the media covers enough about negativity and misery in the world already.

Last year I launched the website www.heavenly-holland.com. The website boasts travel inspiration for tourists and expats as well as fun facts about the Netherlands’ past and presents.


Thanks for all the great information and gorgeous images you share Annie!  If you don’t already follow her Facebook page, here’s the link:



DIMEX (Dutch Immigrant’s Experiences) survey – take part before 21 March 2018

EXTENDING THE DIMEX PROJECT – by a Google Survey on-line
Are you a 1st generation Dutch migrant who moved to Australia after 1990 and has lived there for more than two years?  Even if you have returned to the Netherlands you are invited to take part, though this survey is focussed on those who (intended to) migrate, not those on temporary expat contracts.   It does not matter whether you have an Australian passport or not, as we are well aware of the fact that many Dutch migrants do not want to give up their Dutch passport so opt to live in Australia as a Permanent Resident.
The DACC has started to extend the Dutch Immigrants’ Experiences (DIMEX) project, originally a questionnaire for post-WWII Dutch-Australian immigrants, to more recent newcomers, in order to highlight the different circumstances which lead people to take the step to emigrate. This work is being done by DACC Secretary Klaas Woldring in co-operation with Jose van den Akker, Ph. D. who is doing research more specifically about Dutch immigrants who came after 1990.
The original Dutch Immigrants Experiences (DIMEX) project was completed by the DACC some 10 years ago and was an initiative by Jan Joosten (Rembrandt Club, St. Marys) en industrialist Gijs Kommer, who approached the DACC to take it on,  and  made a special donation for the purpose. The Royal Australian Historical Society also made a significant donation. Two thousands copies were distributed in NSW and 307 completed responses were received. A Report was made which is available for the public – and stored in the archive.
The extension has been launched primarily as a Google Survey and is national in character. We also welcome contributions from Dutch people who decided to return to the Netherlands. The URL can be accessed via the DACC website where is found at www.dacc.net.au (under News). We encourage all who are interested to participate. The “on-line” version is available to all, older and younger Dutch migrants to Australia. Hard copies are also available and are being handed out at the DACC at their venue in Smithfield – or can be sent to people not connected to the Internet.
Klaas Woldring,
Jose van de Akker