Join the Colourful ‘Big Dutch Day Out’ –
At the Start of Dutch Week
Cheerful orange festivities will take off all over the country at the end of April – just a while before the arrival of the national Dutch women’s football team for the FIFA World Cup.
As part of Dutch Week, iconic buildings like the Michael Fowler Centre will bathe in an orange glow, dress-up ‘Orange Bike Rides’ will brighten up the streets in at least 12 towns, Dutch Clubs will host King’s Day events with plenty of yummy ‘kroketten’ and ‘koffie met speculaas’, and no less than five cities will host a Dutch Film Festival.
The official opening of the annual Dutch Week will kick off on Saturday 29 April – in Foxton, where Dutch windmill De Molen stretches its blades some 35 metres into the sky.
“This will be the third time we celebrate Dutch Week in this country,” says Ard van der Vorst, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. “And this time it will all happen with a sense of excitement about the Dutch women’s football team – De Leeuwinnen – arriving here for the FIFA World Cup, which runs from 20 July until 20 August.
“Four years ago, the Lionesses were beaten by Team USA in the Finals. They will bring an exciting style of game to Aotearoa New Zealand. Some exciting events will be organised around the games, so keep an eye on the embassy’s social media channels!”
The Oranjehof museum and windmill De Molen in Foxton, will offer kids a taste of football.
“We offer whānau a great day of old-fashioned fun here , with heaps of odd ancient Dutch games,” says Arjan van der Boon, Co-Chair of the Oranjehof Dutch Connection Centre. “The kids can be active all day, and they love it!
“There’s cake-biting, stilt-walking, sack-jumping, the ever popular ‘klompengooien’ or clog throwing – and for the first time this year: target-kicking with a soccer ball. And every kid who gives it a go? Will get a speculaasje – a spiced windmill cookie.”
With the Dutch King’s Day celebrations traditionally turning the Netherlands orange – on King Willem Alexander’s birthday on the 27th of April – the Dutch community in Aotearoa first started throwing an orange glow across New Zealand in 2021.
"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, ride a bike or kick a football, watch a Dutch movie, or learn a bit of our language.
“Last year we had just come out of the Covid red setting, and celebrated – with the Michael Fowler Centre and other iconic landmarks all lit up in orange. This year, we want to build on that, with people feeling more free to join in, and enjoy something different and fun.”
Dutch community organisations and businesses across the country will engage in ‘all things Dutch’, from Thursday 27 April to Sunday 7 May – including a speech competition for young students, and traditional games for kids. Dutch Week is open to anyone, keen to experience Dutch foods, culture and language.
“Previously, the Film Festival was only held in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch,” says Joost. This year we have added Hamilton and Palmerston North into the mix.”
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 work together to roll out a wide range of fun activities nationwide.
Dutch Week celebrations will be officially launched at the Big Dutch Day Out on Saturday 29 April, by Ambassador Ard van der Vorst, in the arts and heritage town of Foxton. Together with Horowhenua Mayor Bernie Wanden, he will oversee a kids competition to turn wooden clogs into art pieces – klompenkunst.
The brightly coloured clogs will then be arranged, as part of the country’s first ever Olfactory Art exhibition – full of scented artworks: ‘Smells like Roses – Rozengeur’. The show – a collaboration between Dutch and New Zealand artists – has received rave reviews for its innovative approach to art and its impressive installations.
“Windmill De Molen has successfully organised Foxton’s annual Big Dutch Day Out for 10 years now,” says Judy Sanson, Chair of De Molen windmill.
“And this time we’re putting on a special show. There will not only be football target shooting. But we also have some 14 traditional wooden ‘Castle Games’ that we bring out – so kids and adults can play together and test their dexterity. And then, our Odd Old Dutch Games feature clogs, stilt-walking, can-throwing, rope-skipping and jumping around in coffee sacks. With that novelty factor – it’s always heaps of fun.”
During the week, many prominent buildings around the country like the Christchurch Airport, the Palmerston North clock tower, the Foxton water tower and others will be lit up orange.
The NetherlaNZ Foundation is organising a Dutch Film Festival in five cities and is inviting everyone to view award-winning Dutch movies.
Family friendly ‘Orange Bike Rides’ across the nation will promote cycling as a sustainable, fun means of transport. A nationwide Dutch Speech Competition will challenge young students.
The Dutch Business Association will host an event on sustainable business in Auckland. And Dutch organisations in various cities will celebrate the Dutch King’s birthday with fun events.
Support for Dutch Week across Aotearoa New Zealand is provided by the Office for Ethnic Communities, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, local councils and businesses.
For more information, visit: https://dutchnz.nz/Dutch-Week
For ‘Smells like Roses – Rozengeur’: https://dutchnz.nz/geurkunst-exhibition
Note to editors - For images, interviews or additional information:
Arjan van der Boon, Co-Chair of the Oranjehof Dutch Connection Centre, Foxton: 027 494 3658
Judy Sanson, Chair of De Molen: 0274 973 976