Dutch Culture

Dutch in Australia

Dutch sailors were among the first Europeans to reach Australia. In fact, most of Australia's coastline was first charted by Dutch mariners. In the post-WWII period, the Netherlands government actively encouraged immigration to help ease housing shortages in the country. In turn, hundreds of thousands of Dutch migrated with almost a third choosing to settle in Australia. Some Dutch also came via Indonesia (a former colony of the Netherlands). The number of Dutch migrating to Australia decreased in the 1960s as the economic situation in the Netherlands improved. Some Dutch chose to return to the Netherlands.


One distinctive aspect of Dutch migration into Australia was their awareness of ‘aanpassen’ (fitting in). In public, most Dutch seemed to deemphasise their social characteristics that could be defined as ‘ethnic' by Australians. This became a hallmark of Dutch identity in Australia. Over the last 60 years, the Dutch community in Australia has had a significant impact on the building and construction industry. Dutch culture and community life are maintained by organisations and events. For example, Springvale (a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria) annually hosts the largest Dutch festival in the southern hemisphere, known as the ‘Holland Festival'.


The 2011 census recorded a larger percentage of the Netherlands-born living in Australia to be religious than those that live in the Netherlands. 32.7% identified as Catholic Christians, 9.2% as Presbyterian and Reformed Christians and 21.5% affiliated with another religion, while 31.1% stated that they had no religion.

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The Netherlands
  • Population
    17,016,967
    [July 2016 est.]
  • Language
    Dutch (official)
  • Religion
    No Religion (46.9%)
    Catholic Christianity (26.3%)
    Protestant Christianity (16.1%)
    Other Christianity (11%)
    Islam (4.8%)
    Other (1.2%)
    [2013 est.]
  • Ethnicity
    Dutch (78.6%)
    Other European (5.8%)
    Turkish (2.4%)
    Indonesian (2.2%)
    Moroccan (2.2%)
    Surinamese (2.1%)
    Other (6.7%)
    [2014 est.]
  • Cultural Dimensions
    38
    80
    14
    53
    67
    68
  • Australians with Dutch Ancestry
    336,549 [Census, 2016]
Dutch in Australia
  • Population
    70,172
    [Census, 2016]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in the Netherlands.
  • Median Age
    67 [Census, 2016]
  • Gender
    Male (50.5%)
    Female (49.5%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Religion
    No Religion (37.1%)
    Catholic Christianity (30.0%)
    Presbyterian and Reformed Christianity (7.9%)
    Uniting Church Christianity (4.0%)
    Anglican Christianity (4.0%)
    Other Religion (11.8%)
    Not Stated (4.9%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Ancestry
    Dutch (85.7%)
    German (2.9%)
    Australian (2.2%)
    English (2.1%)
    Other Ancestry (7.1%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Language Spoken at Home
    English (65.4%)
    Dutch (31.8%)
    German (0.4%)
    Other Languages (1.4%)
    Of those who speak a language other than English at home, 97.3% speak English fluently.
    [Census, 2016]
  • Diaspora
    Victoria (28.2%)
    New South Wales (24.1%)
    Queensland (20.0%)
    Western Australia (13.0%)
    Other (14.7%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Arrival to Australia
    Prior to 2007 (87.6%)
    2007 - 2011 (4.4%)
    2012 - 2016 (4.7%)
    [Census, 2016]
Country https://dtbhzdanf36fd.cloudfront.net/countries/159/nl.svg Flag Country Netherlands