On Sunday I was in the Dutch Australian Cultural Centre, again.
Actually (as I’ve explained elsewhere), we were asked to leave our building some time ago and now we are in a factory-style building building, which has a facade of a street in Amsterdam and which houses a mini supermarket.
On the roof it says Holland House but it’s also known as ‘t Winkeltje (The little Dutch shop).
It strikes me every time how (we) immigrants, from the Netherlands (certainly not all), every so often visit the little Dutch shop to get a touch of Dutch.
When you walk through the part behind the supermaket shelves, that’s the restaurant, you hear little kids call their grandmothers: Oma (and even then pronouncing that many different ways, depending on original dialect, or Australian accent).
You hear mainly English conversations but usually one or two people, at each table is just being Dutch for an hour or so – talking about the Dutch croquettes, and other Dutch foods, on the menu.
Usually explaining Dutch matters, to relatives (or friends).
All that has nothing to do with longing for the old country or whatever. Just getting in toucht with roots for an hour or so.
Some of them take a stroll through the furniture section. It’s typical, very heavy Dutch furniture, which, I reckon, 95% of the people look at, but would not see it as suitable for their homes.
I suspect that furniture was a good idea for those of us who came here, in the 50s and 60s.
5 December, the Dutch celebrate St Nicholas Day.
My daughter is now 26 and my son 24. When my daughter was born, her mother and I revived the tradition of Sinterklaas and that involved an annual drive to this Dutch shop, to buy all the traditional St Nicholas Day goodies.
On Sunday, at least I bought the traditional chocolate letters. O for Opa (My father.) J for my daughter. M for my son. E for their mother. But I shall need to go back to get some other tradional ‘stuff’ as well. (It was closing time, when I left, on Sunday.