The local Dutch communities are alive and well. For the older generations we've got NZ NL Societies, klaverjas clubs, there are a few zangkoren and a Dutch dance club left, while the Friendly Support Network takes care of 100s of elderly and brightens up their lives.
The younger ones meet via Business Associations, or over a biertje in Belgian pubs, a speelgroep for the kids, and especially when het Nederlands elftal plays in soccer championships. Sinterklaas and Koninginnedag are of course a highlight in many a social calendar.
Our community could do better though. We don't interlink or communicate as well as we could. We're spread thinly around the country. There are big differences in the needs and interests of older immigrants and newer arrivals. There also are 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation Dutch Kiwis who were born here, with lifestyles and outlooks on life of their own. Another issue is that the membership numbers of many older established organisations are diminishing.
So let's improve things. We can start by staying in touch more!
That Typical Dutch Flavour
What many Dutchies are telling us: "We need something to fill
the gaps!" - a national centre that can bring all of us
together when we
choose to. A space that offers us links with the Netherlands, when we wish to celebrate our roots. An exciting, engaging, uniting kind of place that makes us proud of our heritage.
Oranjehof is about making the connections between all of us when we feel the desire to fill the empty spaces. And make our own separate identity come alive! It's great to be a Kiwi. It's also wonderful to cherish our Dutch-ness.
We all know what that real Dutch feel is all about - gezelligheid, saamhorigheid, leut, een kopje koffie, het oranje team, het Wilhelmus, of effe lekker bijkletsen. We all want to enjoy it every now and then, and when Prins Willem Alexander and Maxima were here arecently, there was that undeniable sense of national identity. We have our own ways - and they are worthy of pride and celebration.
We're building a national place - a forum, onze plek - to celebrate all that!
This Dutch Connection website offers an online starting point. Check it all out. And come back for our new Oranjehof Museum site, in the near future.