Melbourne’s Rick Alabaster and his draaiorgel will be at the Dutch Australian Festival 2015.
Melbourne’s Rick Alabaster and his draaiorgel will be at the Dutch Australian Festival 2015. supplied

Tweed gets Dutch flavour

CALLING Dutch Australians and Dutch-loving Australians from the Tweed and surrounds.

The Dutch Australian Festival, or Kermis, 2015 is fast becoming a reality and a point-of-difference from existing Dutch festivals held in the country.

The driving force behind it so far, Martin Jansen, has been appointed public officer and is looking forward to handing planning control to a new committee of interested persons.

"It will take many heads and hands to put this together," Mr Jansen said.

During a well attended public meeting on April 4 the Dutch Australian Festival Association was incorporated.

Incorporation was deemed desirable, Mr Jansen said, to enable organisers to employ volunteers and paid workers.

"And to sign contracts for the provision of goods and services instead of this responsibility having to be carried by individual members.

"We already have several families in the Netherlands saving up to come to the festival in 2015.

"We are hopeful that people who migrated here in the '50s, '60s and '70s will see this as the opportunity for family reunions."

Mr Jansen met Rick Alabaster in Melbourne during the Holland Festival and "arranged for him to bring his very large musical instrument to the Tweed in 2015".

"Draaiorgels are a very popular source of entertainment in the Netherlands and Belgium, especially on market days and festivals.

"They work much the same as the old fashioned player pianos with 'books' with perforations and a large fly wheel which works the bellows which in turn produces the sound as in any regular church organ.

"The sound is similar to that of an organ.

"This particular organ is mounted on a truck and motorised so there is no need to turn the wheel."

The association's first meeting will be held in South Tweed Sports' Secret Garden Room on May 7 from 7.30pm.

Mr Jansen expects strong attendance.

"Since the last public meeting which was attended by 50 people, including a number of visitors, more people have contacted the organisers to indicate their interest and 60 letters of invitation are being sent out this week.

"The meeting will elect an executive committee that will be responsible for the planning, promotion and organisation of the festival over the next three years."

Anyone unable to attend please send your name and contact details to the PO Box 709, Banora Point, NSW, 2486 or to so organisers can keep in touch with them.

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