Nationwide events connect Dutch culture and language
The annual Dutch Week that's celebrated at the end of April, is set to cast an even brighter orange glow across Aotearoa New Zealand than at its premiere in 2021.
Dutch community organisations and businesses across the country will engage in ‘all things Dutch’, from Saturday 23 April to Sunday 1 May – including a speech competition for young students, a film festival and traditional games for kids. Dutch Week is open to anyone, keen to experience Dutch foods, culture and language.
“Last year we celebrated with numerous events, and the Sky Tower and other major landmarks were lit up in orange – during our first ever Dutch Week” says Ambassador Mira Woldberg. “This year, we want to build on that and add more typically Dutch activities for family and whanau to enjoy, like nationwide orange bike rides.”
“Because of the COVID pandemic, and the lack of travel over the past two years, many Dutch New Zealanders miss seeing family and friends and participating in the joys of Dutch culture, language, arts and foods. For one week, we will bring people together to celebrate all things Dutch here in Aotearoa New Zealand. This will be done in line with the Government’s COVID regulations of course”, says Ms Woldberg.
Dutch Week aims to enhance the visibility of local Dutch communities, and the contributions they make to a diverse Aotearoa. It lets people share in the strong connections between the Netherlands and New Zealand.
Under the umbrella of Dutch clubs, businesses and associations, volunteers are working together to roll out a wide range of fun activities nationwide.
The celebrations will be officially launched at the Big Dutch Day Out on Saturday 23 April, by Ambassador Mira Woldberg and the Hon. Marja Lubeck, in the arts and heritage town of Foxton. They will jointly open the ‘Handboek’ exhibition of historic photographs by renowned documentary photographer Ans Westra – spanning several decades.
Other activities on the day will include kite-flying, a clogs art KlompenKunst competition, and Oud-Hollandse Spelen or ‘Odd Old Dutch Games’.
“Windmill De Molen has successfully organised our annual Big Dutch Day Out for over 10 years now,” says Arjan van der Boon, Co-Chair of the local Oranjehof Dutch Connection museum.
“But this time we want to put on a special show. We’ll let kids from all over the country play in a competition of traditional Old Odd Games. It will involve clogs, stiltwalking, and jumping around in coffee sacks. With the novelty factor here in Aotearoa – where they’ve probably never done it before – it should be heaps of fun.”
During the week, many prominent buildings around the country such as the Skytower, Michael Fowler Centre, the Christchurch Airport, the Palmerston North clock tower and others will be lit up orange – the national colour of the Netherlands, that people all over the world strongly identify with.
"As a migrant community, we have traditionally been relatively invisible in New Zealand”, says Dr Joost de Bruin, President of Dutch Communities NZ. “Dutch Week is about highlighting who we are. We invite all New Zealanders to participate in Dutch culture, try some new foods, watch a Dutch film or learn a bit of our language”.
The NetherlaNZ Foundation is organising a Dutch Film Festival in the three major cities and is inviting everyone to view award-winning Dutch movies.
A nationwide Dutch Speech Competition will be organised for youngsters, and a family friendly orange bike rides across the nation will promote cycling as a sustainable and fun means of transport.
The Dutch Business Association will host an event on sustainable business in Auckland. Other Dutch organisations in various cities will celebrate Koningsdag, the Dutch King’s birthday, for anyone who enjoys yummie Dutch food and drinks. A fun part of Koningsdag will be the vrijmarkt, where kids can sell their spare toys, and score heaps of cheap ‘new’ ones.
Support for Dutch Week across Aotearoa New Zealand is provided by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Ministry for Ethnic Communities, local councils and businesses.