Culture and Customs

Though it was observed that the Dutch were fantastic assimilates to the Australian lifestyle, it is certainly not the case that they traded in their culture and customs altogether. Evidence of special 'Dutchness' being expressed can be found in many places. Historic newspaper articles report on cultural events such as Saint Nicholas Day parades, and family restaurants selling special Dutch food in Wollongong. In Bill Fikkers book 'Dutchies in the Illawarra' (2010) it is shared that the Dutch enjoyed social events involving traditional card games such as Klaverjaas

Saint Nicholas Day
On December the 5th the Dutch celebrate Saint Nicholas Day. Sinterklaas, the Dutch version of Santa Claus arrives by sea bearing gifts for children. In the days leading up to Saint Nicholas day children often put shoes filled with hay, and left carrots and water as a gift for his horse.

The Dutch Australian Society Illawarra has organised the celebration of this tradition many times in the past. An historic newspaper article published in the Illawarra Mercury (Monday, 04 Dec. 1972, p. 3) describes a Saint Nicholas parade through Corrimal. It was attended by 140 Dutch children, Saint Nicholas arrived in mitre and robes with Black Peter. With music provided by a brass band, he mounted a white horse and was welcomed by the 'Queen of the Netherlands'.

Many traditional foods were cooked regularly in Dutch family households in the Illawarra. A popular part of the meal was 'Hutspot'  a dish of boiled and mashed potatoes, carrots and onions-ingredients which could be found in many Dutch migrant gardens. 
 'Hutspot' traditional Dutch cuisine. ( Jong, 2010).
In 1979 the first Dutch family restaurant opened in the Illawarra. It was called 'Dutch Pancakes' and specialised in Hollands top snack foods called 'croquettes' similar to the meat pie or sausage roll.The recipe begins with a seasoned white sauce like a roux into which chopped veal, chicken, or beef is folded.

During the festive season some families will make Oliebollen. Oliebollen are a variety of dumpling made by dropping dough into a deep fryer filled with hot oil. Originally it is said they were eaten because  the Germanic Goddess Perchta, would attempt to cut open the bellies of all she came across in Holland. Due to the fat in the oliebollen, her sword would slide off the body of whoever ate them

Traditional Dutch recipe for Oliebollen hand written by Saskia Van Bueran second generation Dutch migrant. The recipe was passed on by her Grandmother (Oma) Jan Van Bueran. (Janine de Jong, 2010)
Family Fun
Some families would get together with other children in the neighborhood  and sing songs around the piano. Many of these were Dutch versions of popular songs like Frere Jacque.

Front cover of traditional childrens song book. Circa 1950's. ( Jong, 2010)
Music for the Dutch version of childrens song 'Where is the Moley Mole?' Circa 1950's. ( Jong)

Illustration from Dutch song book. Circa 1950's. ( Jong, 2010)

Klaverjaas is the Dutch name for a four player trick taking card game useing the piquet deck of playing cards. It is the most popular card game in Holland and is traditionally played in cafes and social clubs. The name dates to 1890–95 from the Dutch word klaverjas, combining klaver (the suit of clubs, literally "clover") plus jas, possibly short for Jasper, a man's name.
This year the NSW Klaverjaas Federation Celebrated its 45th year. Tournaments are held every Monday evening at the Dutch-Australian Society Illawarra clubhouse every Monday night.
Front cover of a Klavejaas rule book  Circa 1970's. ( Jong, 2010)