By Tanya Faulkner
Akoonah Park will be transformed into a Dutch paradise next month at the return of the Holland Festival to Berwick.
As the name suggests, the festival celebrates all things Dutch – from the food to the performers, events and everything in between.
The event originally ran for forty years until 2014, and was successfully reignited in 2017 thanks to the Rotary Club of Casey.
Event Manager Paul Rubens, who has been one of the main organisers since it’s reincarnation, is looking forward to this event being bigger and better than ever.
“We’ve run four events in the past seven years in 2017, 2019 and 2020, and we plan on making it an annual event from this year,” he said.
For the first time in the events’ history, there will be a range of Dutch exhibitions on offer for attendees to come and learn more about their culture – or learn about a new one – amongst the usual festivities on offer.
“This year we decided to run an Ann Frank Exhibition, an exhibition on Dutch Immigration to Australia and we are celebrating fifty years of the Dutch Courier Newspaper which is made for Dutch people in Melbourne and across Australia,” he said.
In previous years, the event has brought in over 4000 people to Akoonah Park, of all ages and cultures, with this event expected to bring in a much larger crowd.
Several local charities have got behind this year’s event, as well as the Department of Social Services and the City of Casey Council both providing Grants to the event.
Mr. Rubens said the event is a great way to learn more about and experience Dutch culture in Australia, and bring people together.
“Everyone knows someone in Australia that is Dutch – whether it’s themselves, someone else in their family tree, or a friend. That’s why this event is so good for people of all ages to come together and celebrate our culture.
“The festival gives people the chance to meet older and newer generations, try some dutch food and see some great dutch entertainment, and come together,” he said.
Akoonah park will play host to over eighty vendors, thirty of those being food related, six exhibitions, a carnival for the children and a range of live entertainment – all of which have some relation to Dutch culture.
All proceeds from the event will go back to the Rotary Club of Casey, to help fund further projects in the local community.
“We at Rotary Casey have loved collaborating with our hard-working Dutch partners who bring to the table a confident, mature Dutch experience,” Mr. Rubens said.
The proceeds raised from the event will be put towards upcoming community projects with the Rotary Club of Casey.