Media release: Wednesday, 2 November 2016
Dutch migrants and generations of descendants were among the special guests to meet His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands at the National Archives of Australia this afternoon.
'It was a great honour for us to host the royal visitors,' said David Fricker, Director-General of the National Archives. 'This year, Australia and the Netherlands celebrate 400 years of contact, a tradition that began with explorers such as Dirk Hartog and Abel Tasman.
'We were delighted to welcome the royal couple to view records on that shared heritage and also to meet our other guests whose family immigration records have been preserved in the archival collection. These included first-generation Australians as well as others whose parents, grandparents and even great-great-grandparents migrated from the Netherlands.'
Between 1951 and 1970, about 160,000 Dutch nationals migrated to Australia. Today there are close to 95,000 residents who were born in the Netherlands and an estimated 300,000 Australians who claim Dutch ancestry.
'The families represented today have played and continue to play a major part in Australia's history and development,' said Mr Fricker. 'They have provided a general manager of BHP from 1898 to 1921, a worker on the Snowy Hydro scheme and current AFL player Matt de Boer among others.
'When you examine the records in our collection, the contribution made by Dutch immigrants becomes very obvious.'
The Archives also holds photographs and other records of previous royal visits to Australia made by Her Royal Highness Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands in 1978 and then again in 1988 to celebrate Australia's bi-centenary.
During their visit to the Archives, the royal visitors had the opportunity to view several significant records from the archival collection that highlight the shared history between Australia and the Netherlands.