I have sat a this end of the table, at bi-monthly meetings of the Federation of Netherlands Societies Ltd, a number of times now, as a member of the board.
Every time, I am struck by the symbolism of the previous and late- chairperson’s portrait, looking down on the performance of the man who took over.
During my on and off involvement with Dutch-Australian activities, through the years, my impression of the previous chair-person was that of a diplomat, but who, as was said of former prime minister, Bob Hawke, simply kept everybody happy, while really maintaining the status-quo.
Never-the-less, I had great admiration for the former chairman, who did not want to be called President, as he was not ruling a country.
In later years, on the few occasions that I saw him, he always asked after the well-being of my father (who had been President (in English, chairperson, in Dutch) of the Netherlands Society in Banktown, for 12 years).
Whenever I sit at this table now, I think of how much water has gone under the bridge; of how much energy was put into making the immigrants, from the Netherlands, happy, at least when they (we) were dancing; picnicking; watching Dutch films; being Dutch-language radio presenters, etc., etc.. together.
For me, it has been 52 years, in May (more than half a century) of establishing a a life, from the age of 12 here and getting in touch with my Dutchness, in waves.