Dutch fest may get royal seal
QUEEN Beatrix of the Netherlands may open a planned 2015 Tweed Dutch Festival.
The Honourable Captain Kasper Kuiper, Consul for the Netherlands, urged Dutch Australians who attended a public meeting to discuss the festival idea.
Martin Jansen in de Wal, who is currently involved in a Curtin University research project The Dutch on the Tweed, said Cptn Kuiper would present the request to Her Majesty in person during June.
"He also undertook to negotiate with the Western Australian government to perhaps bring the Duyfken Replica ship back to the Tweed in April/May 2015," Mr in de Wal said.
"About 40 people attended the meeting which unanimously resolved to hold a Dutch festival and to set up an organisation for this purpose.
"A steering committee was appointed and 35 people registered their interest to attend or help with the organisation and/or help during the festival."
Seven speakers representing organisations such as Destination Tweed, the council, local businesses, educational institutions, NSW and other state Dutch organisations and the Netherlands government all pledged their support to the Dutch Australian community here, he said.
"The consul warned the people present that all this meant a lot of hard work.
"But the Dutch are universally known as hard workers, so this only served to motivate the audience further and it didn't take long for the meeting to become enthusiastic about the idea."
Dutch Australian Southern Cross University event management student Kelly Reynierse presented a Powerpoint presentation.
"(It) gave the audience an excellent idea of some of the many exciting activities planned for this event.
"Maree Martin, Dutch Australian IT student at Southern Cross University, presented a festival website - still under construction - which she had been working on.
This helped to underline the seriousness of purpose of the meeting," Mr in de Wal said.
He said Dutch music and a Dutch Australian woman dressed in an original regional dress of the province of Groningen welcomed people as they arrived.
"A table of Dutch delicacies with Douwe Egbert's koffie and Van Houten's cacao was laid out at intermission.
Mr in de Wal, who is founder of the festival idea and driving force behind its conception, said he was satisfied with the meeting's outcome.
"The good ship festival is now well and truly launched and on its way to its destination in Jack Evans Boat Harbour in May 2015.
"We now have a mandate from the 500-or-so Dutch Australian residents of the Tweed Shire to put this festival on the events map of the shire for the year 2015."
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