gahetNA in the National Archives


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The traces of the great post-war Dutch immigration are not hard to find in Australia today. About 70,000 Dutch people and more than 200,000 Australians of Dutch origin live in the country. The largest Dutch communities are in the big cities, with about 45,000 in Sydney and 40,000 in Melbourne.

 Minister Veldkamp
The Minister of Social Affairs and Public Health, G.M.J. Veldkamp, leaving for New Zealand and Australia to visit Dutch emigrants, February 1964

The Dutch have organised themselves into clubs and societies which came into existence after 1956, the year that witnessed the largest number of Dutch immigrants arriving in Australia. In 1971 about 90 organisations were active in the country, and by the 1980s there were about 150 – the highpoint of Dutch societies. An ageing population and few new arrivals however means that the number of Dutch organisations is now declining.

A great variety of mostly local Dutch clubs and societies continue to exist in the large cities. They offer recreational activities like card-playing and carnival celebrations. With the exception of religious organisations and the Netherlands Ex-Servicemen and Women’s Association, very few have a national presence.

From the early 1950s, the Dutch community in Australia had its own newspaper, The Dutch Australian Weekly, but a lack of funds and decreasing interest due to the expansion of the internet forced it to cease publishing in early 2005. Another Dutch paper, The Dutch Courier, still comes out once a month with an abbreviated on-line version. A limited number of Dutch language radio and television programmes are also broadcast.

Interview projects have been set up in several states to record the memories of the Dutch immigrants, mostly available in the State Libraries. The Dutch Australian Cultural Centre in New South Wales puts parts of interviews of former compatriots on its website.

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gahetNA is a website of the Society for the Nationaal Archief in cooperation with the Nationaal Archief and Spaarnestad Photo.
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