Sunday, 21 May 2006
The Dutch first discovered Australia in 1606, exactly 400 years ago. Since then, many Dutchmen have emigrated to Australia. Most of them left the Netherlands after World War II.
The age of exploration
In the 17th century, the Netherlands were an economical force to be reckoned with. The Dutch East Indies Company was trying to find new lucrative regions in the east to trade with.
One of these ships sent to explore the eastern waters was the Duyfken under the command of captain Willem Jansz. During this voyage, the ship came upon unknown territory. He had found an entire new continent: Australia.
Map of Australia by Joan Blaeu
After World War II
In the emigration history section of this site, an article can be found on post World War II emigration. Most of the emigrants to Australia left for economic reasons.
Several emigrants spent the first months or even years in reception camps set up by the Australian government. They could only find a house for themselves after they made enough money. Few of them returned to the Netherlands, however. Dutch communities still exist in many of the larger towns in Australia.