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Dutch Australians

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Dutch Australians refers to Australians with full or partial Dutch ancestry. They form one of the largest groups of the Dutch diaspora outside Europe.

Dutch Australians
Nederlandse Australiër
Total population
(Dutch ancestry in 2011)[1]
78,927 (Netherlands born in 2006)[2]
Regions with significant populations
Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane[3]
Australian English and Dutch[4]
Christian (Protestant and Roman Catholic)
Related ethnic groups
Dutch, Dutch Americans, Dutch New Zealanders, Dutch Canadians, Dutch British



The history of the Dutch and Australia began in 1606 with Captain Willem Janszoon, a Dutch seafarer, landing on the Australian mainland, the first European to do so.[5][6]

The VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie), or the Dutch East India Company, operated mainly from Batavia, modern day Jakarta. The journey from the Netherlands to the Dutch East Indies would take more than a year by the traditional route taken by seafarers, but after the discovery of the Roaring forties wind by Dutch captain Hendrick Brouwer, the voyage could be cut short by a number of months if followed properly. However, miscalculations and errors in crew et cetera made it easy for ships to become lost on this newer course. Some ships (the exact figures unknown), travelled too far east and sighted the west coast of Australia. A number of these ships became wrecked upon the reefs or cliffs that were known hazards of the "Southland". Famous examples of these ill-fated ships include the Batavia, Zuytdorp, and Zeewijk. After the wrecking of the Batavia, a murderous mutiny was carried out under the orders of a psychopathic doctor from Haarlem, Jeronimus Corneliszoon. A more successful landing was made by Dirk Hartog. Best known of the Dutch seafarers to Australia was Abel Tasman, in whose honour Tasmania was eventually named. With the exception of the east coast, most of the Australian coastline was first charted by Dutch mariners. Australia was thus known as 'New Holland' from the seventeenth until the early nineteenth century.

20th centuryEdit

In 1954 the 50,000th Dutch migrant arrived; Maria Scholte is to the right of the picture

A number of Dutch people from the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) found their way to Australia during World War II and fought with Allied forces. The Netherlands East Indies government operated from Australia during the war. Eleven Free Dutch Submarines operated out of Fremantle after the invasion of Java, the joint No. 18 (Netherlands East Indies) Squadron RAAF, established in 1942 and No. 120 formed at Canberra, was a combined Dutch and Australian Squadron with dual command, it used B-25 Mitchell bombers, paid for by the Dutch Government before the war. No. 18 later moved to northern Australia, No. 120 to Western Australia and later transferring overseas. The Netherlands East Indies Forces Intelligence Service (also known by the acronym NEFIS), was based in Melbourne during World War II.

Some Dutch settlers in Australia arrived as part of Australia's post World War II assisted migration program and from Indonesia. Many Dutch immigrants arrived by sea on the MS Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, while others flew to Australia on KLM, or Royal Dutch Airlines.


According to the 2006 Australian Census, 310,089 persons resident in Australia claimed Dutch ancestry, either alone or in combination with another ancestry.[7] 78,927 persons declared they were born in the Netherlands.[2]

As the level of immigration from the Netherlands has dropped significantly from the 1980s (79% of Australian residents born in the Netherlands arrived before 1980[4] ), the Netherlands-born population is ageing. 52% of the Dutch-born population was aged sixty years old or older at the time of the 2006 Census.[4] As at the 2006 census 26,141 Dutch born Australians (33%) speak Dutch at home; many more Dutch-born Australians speak English at home (64%).[4] Proficiency in English was self-described by census respondents as very well by 27%, well by 7%, <1% not well (66% didn't state or said not applicable).[4]

Of the Australian residents who were born in the Netherlands, 59,502 or 75% were Australian citizens at the time of the 2006 census.[4]

According to 2006 census data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 61% of Dutch born Australians recorded their religion as Christian and 29% as "no religion".[4]

Dutch AustraliansEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "ABS Ancestry". 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "20680-Country of Birth of Person (full classification list) by Sex – Australia" (Microsoft Excel download). 2006 Census. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2 June 2008.  Total count of persons: 19,855,288.
  3. ^ "2006 Census Tables" (Excel downloads which can be customised by location and topic (in this case Ancestry)). Australian Bureau of Statistics. 27 June 2007. Retrieved 14 July 2008.  Figures for Dutch Ancesty by Statistical Districts for major cities: Melbourne 60,737 (20% of all those who declared Dutch Ancestry) ; Sydney 42,474 (14%) ; Perth 30,494 (10%) ; Brisbane 30,056 (10%) ; State of Victoria excl Melbourne 29,768 (9.6%); Adelaide 18,968 (6%)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "2914.0.55.002 2006 Census Ethnic Media Package" (Excel download). Census Dictionary, 2006 ( 2901.0). Australian Bureau of Statistics. 27 June 2007. Retrieved 14 July 2008. 
  5. ^ Early Dutch Landfall Discoveries of Australia
  6. ^ Allies in Adversity at the Australian War Memorial
  7. ^ "20680-Ancestry (full classification list) by Sex – Australia" (Microsoft Excel download). 2006 Census. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2 June 2008.  Total responses: 25,451,383 for total count of persons: 19,855,288.
  8. ^ Celestine McDermott Australian Dictionary of Biography Volume 11 (MUP) 1988

Further readingEdit

  • Bureau of Immigration Research.(1991) Community profiles, Netherlands born Canberra : Australian Government Publishing Service. ISBN 0-644-14026-7
  • Duyker, Edward (1987) The Dutch in Australia Melbourne: AE Press, Australian ethnic heritage series ISBN 0-86787-215-2
  • Duyker, Edward, and York, Barry (1994) Exclusions and admissions : the Dutch in Australia, 1902–1946 Canberra : Centre for Immigration and Multicultural Studies, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University. ISBN 0-7315-1913-2 (Studies in Australian ethnic history ; no. 7)
  • Eysbertse, Dirk, and Marijke (1997) Where waters meet : Bonegilla : the Dutch migrant experience North Brighton, Vic. : Erasmus Foundation. ISBN 0-646-31005-4
  • Mencke, Annelies and Tjerk van der Schaaf. (1979) The distribution of Dutch immigrants in Australia 1947–1976 Thesis (PhD)--University of Groningen.
  • Peters, Nonja, Nien Schwarz, and Kate Noakes (2003) Transpositions : contextualising recent Dutch Australian art Perth, W.A.: Art on the Move. ISBN 0-9581859-1-3
  • Peters, Nonja (2006) The Dutch Down Under, 1606–2006 Crawley, W.A.: University of Western Australia Press. ISBN 1-920694-75-7
  • Schindlmayr, Thomas.(2000) Community profiles. 1996 census. Netherlands born Belconnen, A.C.T. Dept. of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Statistics Section. ISBN 0-642-39909-3
  • Zierke,Elly Smid,Mieke and Pam Snelleman (editors) (1997) Old ties, new beginnings : Dutch women in AustraliaCarrum Downs, Vic. Dutch Care Ltd. ISBN 0-646-30854-8

External linksEdit