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City Icons To Light Up Orange, In First Ever ‘Dutch Week’

Waves across Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom - a Multicultural Facility

Dutch culture and language celebrated nationwide

The Dutch community will celebrate ‘all things Dutch’ – all over the country – during the first ever ‘Dutch Week’, from Saturday 24 April to Sunday 2 May.

The aim of a week of activities, is to highlight and celebrate the culture, language, arts, food and heritage of the Dutch immigrant diaspora – now an integral part of the diverse fabric of Aotearoa New Zealand.

A festive launch

Dutch Week will be officially launched by the Hon. Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities, together with Ambassador Mira Woldberg on Saturday 24 April, in the heritage town of Foxton.

In a symbolic act, Priyanca and Mira will ‘unveil’ a spectacular, colourful 40m Art Mural – designed by Amsterdam artist Jan van der Ploeg.

“Foxton is the right place to kick off all the festivities,” says Arjan van der Boon, Co-Chair of the Oranjehof Dutch Connection Centre. “It is all part of our annual Big Dutch Day Out.”

“One high-flying feature of the day will be a 9 metre monkey kite, wearing a Dutch Week t-shirt, that will go up in the air as part of a kite-vlieger workshop for kids, who will create their own kites. “

“We also have the Oranjehof museum here, that tells the story of the Dutch immigrants in New Zealand – right next to a 30m high icon of Dutchness, the flour-grinding windmill De Molen. There will be modern art on display, an 1880 Amsterdam street organ pumping its tunes, and lots of traditional games – plus an ice skating rink. With all that cheerful fun… Things don’t get much more Dutch than that,” says Arjan.

Lighting Orange to support all those affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic

To show support for everybody back home in the Covid-stricken Netherlands and anywhere else around the world, the Dutch Embassy is signing up major landmarks across Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland to have them lit up orange at night during the Dutch week.

An orange show of solidarity to support all those affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic

To show support for everybody back home in the Covid-stricken Netherlands and anywhere else around the world, the Dutch Embassy is signing up major landmarks across Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland that will light up orange at night during Dutch week.

“This year, the national Kingsday celebrations on 27 April have been cancelled back home, due to the serious impact of Covid 19,” says Mira Woldberg, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Netherlands Embassy will therefore not host an official Kings Day reception for its network in Aotearoa NZ.

“Instead, the Embassy wants to express our sympathy and strong connection to all those affected by the global pandemic. Together with all Dutch organisations in Aotearoa New Zealand we will signal our sympathy from this side of the earth by lighting up in orange several prominent and iconic buildings across Aotearoa during Dutch week.”

The buildings include the Christchurch Art Gallery and Canterbury Museum, the Michael Fowler Centre and the Wellington Harbour fountain, the Palmerston North Clock Tower, and the Sky Tower and Spark Arena in Auckland.

A raft of activities

“As Dutch immigrants we have not always been very visible in New Zealand,” says Dr Joost de Bruin, President of Dutch Communities NZ. “Dutch people love to share their culture and the aim of Dutch Week is to create an interactive and joint celebration of heritage, art, food, language and community with everybody else in Aotearoa New Zealand.”

During the week, the NetherlaNZ Foundation is organising a Dutch Film Festival in the three major cities. A nationwide Dutch Speech Competition is organized for youth. And a Distant Kinship / Verre Verwanten exhibition in Hamilton will show prints by local print making artists from the Netherlands and New Zealand.

Dutch clubs in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and a range of smaller towns will celebrate Koningsdag, along with anyone else who enjoys typically Dutch foods and drinks like kroketten, oliebollen (a type of donut), speculaas, lots of koffie, and perhaps Dutch beer or a small tulip glass of jenever.

There also will be vrijmarkten where kids can sell their spare toys from a blanket and score heaps of cheap ‘new’ ones.

A striking Art Mural and a colourful exhibition

In Foxton, where the festivities start, typical Dutch delights will be part of the day, including an ‘Ice Skating’ rink, traditional Dutch games, a kite or vlieger workshop – and of course tours of windmill De Molen which will have its blades spinning in the wind.

“To launch Dutch Week, the Minister and the Ambassador will jointly reveal the community names who supported our new Art Mural,” says Van der Boon. “It has a striking design that incorporates Dutch and Māori colours, as well as Kiwi black. The wave elements point to the local Awa and the river landscape loved by Māori and Dutch alike, in the direction of the Tasman Sea – behind the sand dunes, only a few kilometres away.

“We timed our Big Dutch Day Out to celebrate the nation’s first ever Dutch Week. Here in Foxton, where the official launch of Dutch Week will be very, very Nederlands!”

The contribution to the New Zealand art scene by Leon van den Eijkel will be celebrated in the Māpuna - Kabinet gallery inside Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom. ‘Colourful Nation – Kleur Bekennen’ is a retrospective that includes some major works from the collection of Te Papa. The art exhibition will be opened by Dutch born MP Marja Lubeck.

Support for Dutch Week across Aotearoa New Zealand is provided by the Office of Ethnic Communities, local Councils and a raft of ‘Dutch’ individuals, organisations and businesses.

Oranjehof Museum

Oranjehof is part of the award-winning, multi-cultural Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom visitor and community hub, which also houses the Piriharakeke museum that tells the story of local Ngati Raukawa Ki te Tonga, an art gallery, a library and a raft of community spaces.

Oranjehof tells the story of the Dutch in Aotearoa New Zealand. At least one in every 40 New Zealanders has some Dutch heritage. With a long history in this country, since the arrival of Abel Tasman in 1642 until today, Oranjehof shows how the Dutch touched on many aspects of life in Aotearoa.

Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom is the centre piece of Te Awahou Riverside Cultural Park – which also hosts Dutch windmill De Molen, a traditional whakairo carving and tā moko workshop, the Flax Stripper Museum and a Horse Drawn Tram.

Big Dutch Day Out

  • Saturday 24 April, 2021: From 10am – 4pm
  • Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom / Te Awahou Riverside Cultural Park, 92 Main Street, Foxton
  • Free event. Attractions in Te Awahou Riverside Cultural Park ask for a gold coin donation
  • For more information visit https://Oranjehof.org.nz

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