Australian Author Andy Griffiths coming to the Netherlands

Australian author Andy Griffiths is touring the Netherlands in February 2019 to share his new book, the 104-Storey Treehouse.


My daughters are 9 & 11 and have read a few of his books in Dutch already – here they are called the “Waanzinnige Boomhut”.


We are raising our children bilingually here in the Netherlands, so it’s a great excuse to encourage them to read more – and am very pleased that offer both the Dutch and English language versions.   I’ve just ordered a few English versions for them – and I’m going to have a read too!

Andy Griffiths will be at several locations throughout the Netherlands, including Assen, Delft, The Hague, Rotterdam check here for the list:

We will be going to meet him in Delft!

It seems he’s a regular in the Netherlands, I found a video promoting a visit last year:

Have your children (or you?) read any of Andy’s books?  Please share your thoughts in a comment below, or come and discuss in the Dutch Australian Community Facebook group. 

Renee ūüôā

2018 Biesland Dagen

The Biesland Dagen festival has become an annual fixture in our family calendar. ¬†Not only is it conveniently close, it’s always a fun day out. ¬†The Hoeve Biesland is the centre of much of the action, but other nearby locations also have entertainment and activities. ¬†Again in 2018, we were lucky with the weather and despite it raining throughout the week, we had lovely sunshine over the weekend.

The festival actually runs over two days, but the first day usually clashes with another annual event we love, so on Saturday we first went to the 2018 Embassy Festival.¬† ¬†On Sunday though, we had a great day enjoying day 2 of the Biesland Dagen. ¬†This year was extra special, as my mum was visiting from Australia, so she of course came along too. ¬†I grew up in a country area in Australia – in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, Maleny, though my mum and dad now live closer to the beach. ¬†What I love about where we now live, here near the Biesland area, is that you get the best of the country & city so nearby. ¬†It’s right on the border between The Hague and Delft, and though you feel like you are on a remote farm, you’re really only minutes from the city centre.

It’s great to have such easy access to farm fresh produce. Not just at the festival, you can also visit the Weiland Winkle 6 days a week.¬†

This year was the first time I actually went into the “Half Molen” – I’ve cycled and run past it countless times, but until now, had never had the opportunity to explore the gorgeous gardens out the back, and get a sneak peek at the old waterworks underneath the windmill.

A number of local groups share information there, including one about “the value of hunting”. ¬†The topic makes me both a little sad and squeamish but I know that’s most likely hypocritical as I do eat meat. ¬†This beautiful bird of prey was on display, and we tasted some goose meat, both smoked and in a sort of croquette. ¬†Not really my thing but I guess these days we are spoiled with our supermarket shopping.

There were plenty of activities off in different directions, with a fun farm tractor ride between them, though the queue was a little long so we walked.

An ice cream has become an annual tradition….

….so has painting a piece of wood. ¬†Here are some kids’ creations drying in the sunshine before being taken home….

Something new that we discovered this year was clay creations, here is my daughter’s face on a tree (complete with blonde straw hair)…

After petting bunnies and hula hooping, we had just enough time and energy to build with blocks….

We went home tired but happy, and had a tasty afternoon tea of toast with some local honey we had bought.

There are two annual festivals held in this location, this is the 2 day September Biesland Dagen Festival, then there is also the Biesland Food Feest, a smaller, more food-focussed festival usually held on the Pinksteren public holiday in May.

You can find my Google photo album for the 2018 Biesland Festival here:

More information here:

My previous blog posts:

See you there next year?


2018 Embassy Festival, The Hague

On 1 September 2018, we attended the colourful cultural Embassy Festival in The Hague. ¬†This was the fourth year we have attended, and it didn’t disappoint. ¬†To make it even more special, I was the lucky winner of their Facebook competition for an overnight stay in a suite at the Mecure Hotel Den Haag Central. ¬†A huge thanks to them for our amazing view and the great opportunity to have a very rare night away, even if it was in our own city. ¬†My mum was here for a visit from Australia, so she and the girls came to check out the festival and our suite, then she took them home.

The Embassy Festival really is an amazing example of what world harmony can really look like.  With around 50 stands showcasing the food, drinks, products, traditional dress and tourism of their countries, it is a truly unique experience.  Even just simply pointing out the names of each country to our children is a great learning experience.  The festival gives them a tiny taste the many, many sights, sounds and smells our world has to offer – without expensive airfares!  What I love most is that it is all in an atmosphere of interest of and respect for each other.  Whether you attended the festival or not, even a peek at the Embassy Festival website gives an impression of the variety of global culture that was there.

I had a lot of delicious food and drinks – I have to admit though that now I am sharing these photos, I don’t actually remember which stands/countries it was all from!  I know the first is my daughter enjoying Finnish food (a type of cinnamon bun).  The rest became a bit of a blur (and I don’t think the margarita and strawberry daiquiri  were to blame!)

Our only two complaints were that firstly, it was a very crowded. Great to see it so popular (I’ve been telling my friends, students and colleagues about it for years!) but when attending with two kids and my mother, it was a bit hard to keep track of everyone, move around and see what was at the stands.  Secondly, as an asthmatic, I also had the issue I often have in crowds – regularly breathing in cigarette smoke.

That said, it was still a fantastic festival and we enjoyed a few hours wandering around and literally exploring the world.  A huge thanks to the organisers for making the festival both free and such an amazing experience.

It finished at 8pm, and we stopped off at the Pathe to see some American culture on the way back to the hotel (Mission Impossible Freefall!) before enjoying this great view from the Mecure Hotel Den Haag Central.

See you next year?

My blog posts for previous years are here:

The festival website is here:

Their facebook page has plenty of photos:

My own photos are here:


2017 Feel At Home in The Hague Fair: Sunday 05 February

Below is the press release for the 2017 Feel at Home in The Hague Fair – but I’ll also add that I have been to many of these and also work a few hours a week with Billy at The Hague Online….highly recommend going to this Fair if you are in The Hague or surrounds, always a highlight of the year! ¬†And if you are in Australia or elsewhere in¬†the world, even just reading¬†through this article and¬†checking out the website will show what’s going on in The Hague – it’s a great international city-Renee

On Sunday 5th February 2017, The Feel at Home in The Hague Fair will celebrate its 10th Anniversary. The Fair will be officially opened by the Mayor of The Hague, Jozias van Aartsen, who will address a special welcome to the international community which plays such an important role in the region.

More than 4000 visitors attended the event in the Hague City Hall in 2016 and appreciated the unique ambiance created by the combination of 150 diverse exhibitors with a dynamic programme of activities and entertainment, workshops and seminars.  

A meeting point for the whole community 

No other expat event in the Netherlands engenders quite the same sense of community as The Hague Feel at Home Fair, where nearly a half of the stands are local sports and social clubs or volunteer organisations. These groups exhibit free of charge and relish the opportunity to network, advertise their activities and recruit new members.  

Showcase for Small Businesses 

Alongside these community groups are dozens of small business stands, many of them run by internationals who themselves moved to The Netherlands as an expat. They take great pleasure in animating the Fair with activities, tastings and performances which help them to connect with fellow internationals. 

A Free Seminar Programme

This year, Education will be the central theme, covering the range of educational choices from pre-school to adult education. Contributors to the Education Programme of talks, seminars and workshops  include many of region’s international schools and universities, and visitors will also have the opportunity to meet the speakers and panelists informally in the Education Zone.

There will also be a complementary series of seminars and workshops on all aspects of life in The Netherlands, from buying a house to learning about Dutch culture. Attendance at all seminars and workshops is free.

Entertainment and Food 

The day is made richer through a lively entertainment¬†programme¬†provided by our international schools, amateur clubs and local professional cultural¬†organisations. This year, with its focus on culture, the Fair will be especially animated, with three different performance spaces ‚Äď The Podium, Central Park and STET‚Äôs Children‚Äôs Theatre.¬†

Furthermore, The Feel at Home in The Hague Fair will be taking its entertainment programme out into the city centre, with some performances being repeated in De Bijenkorf department store. 

The icing on the cake is an International Food Court taking a culinary trip around the World, from Africa to India, Peru and back to Europe . The combination of these elements  gives the Feel at Home in The Hague Fair a unique flavour, which explains why the event plays such a special role as a meeting point for the entire international community. 

A Dynamic International City

As you might expect, around a fifth of our visitors last year were newcomers to The Netherlands, but perhaps more surprisingly, over a third had lived here more than 10 years! What these two groups had in common was a desire to learn more about things to do and events and activities happening in their region.   

 By showcasing the huge range of clubs to join and things to do locally, The Feel at Home in The Hague International Community Fair is a celebration of the region as an interesting and dynamic place for internationals to live. 

For Internationals and internationally-minded locals to come meet with friends and share in the pleasure of the great city of The Hague. 

Registering for Free Tickets 

Entrance is free for visitors who register in advance on our website: 

On our website and  Facebook page visitors  can also keep up to date with developments on the Fair. 

Mirusia returns home to tour Australia: April to August 2016

Mirusia_Pic_Karl Neilson (2)

Mirusia Returns home to tour Australia April to August 2016

Tickets on Sale Wednesday October 7, 2015

Brisbane born soprano Mirusia is now based in the Netherlands but will return home with her new solo program This Time Tomorrow, which will tour nationally from April to August 2016, preceded by a concert on November 28, 2015 and two on January 9 & 16 next year.

For the past nine years the thirty year old Australian, hailed the angel of Australia, has toured extensively around the globe as Star soprano for André Rieu.  She has achieved recognition as a true international performer, singing many styles of music including opera, musical theatre, pop and jazz. Mirusia has come a long way since studying opera at the Queensland Conservatorium, who, at the age of 21, became the youngest ever winner of the prestigious Dame Joan Sutherland Opera Award.

Mirusia_Pic_Karl Neilson- - Copy

Having established her career worldwide as an accomplished international performer, Mirusia also tours solo, working the culturally rich European Theatres with her Chamber Orchestra and Australian MD Graeme Press (MD for The Seekers 50th year celebrations, Judith Durham & Carols in the Domain).

In 2012¬†Mirusia¬†performed to sold out audiences around Australia on her ‚ÄúHome Tour‚ÄĚ, including a highlight performance at Sydney Opera House.

2016 sees Mirusia returning to home shores to present a two hour classical-crossover program with the backing of her Chamber Orchestra which includes a Strings Section, Harp, Percussion, Double Bass, Grand Piano and Choral Singers. Her repertoire features songs from her Award Winning Albums, including Ave Maria, Romanza,  Memory, Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again, All I Ask Of You, and her own compositions.

‚ÄúOften hailed as ‚Äėthe voice of an angel‚Äô¬†Mirusia¬†sings with a translucent, crystal voice that leaves audiences with ‚Äėgoose bumps on goose bumps!‚Äô” says Press.”¬† “It has been my pleasure to work with¬†Mirusia¬†on her solo tours and she delivers an exquisite performance of the best of the classical, music theatre, cross-over repertoire. Whether¬†Ave Maria, Panis Angelicus¬†or¬†Joe Cocker‚Äôs ‚ÄėYou Are So Beautiful‚Äô,¬†the discerning listeners are quickly aware that they are in the presence of one of today‚Äôs most inspirational, versatile and soulful voices and personalities.”

Throughout  2016  Mirusia will continue on with her Solo Tours in the Northern Hemisphere and her work as the Star Soloist of André Rieu around the world.

Her new album¬†This Time¬†Tomorrow¬†will be released in 2016, containing classical and musical songs.”The focus of the album and the tour is offering a brighter¬†tomorrow” says¬†Mirusia.” Music can transport people and help them in times of struggle, sadness and stress. So many of my fans who have contacted me, feel like they are whisked away momentarily from the world, when they listen to my music. This is why I love what I do. I want to help people, and to do this through music is magical.”

  • Full name:¬†Mirusia Louwerse
  • Australian-Dutch nationality speaks English and Dutch fluently
  • Released five solo albums
  • Studied at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music
  • Her version of¬†Ave Maria¬†has over¬†27 million¬†views on YouTube
  • Only classical artist with an ARIA No. 1 Chart Award
  • International Ambassador of the ‘Australian Children’s Music Foundation’
  • Youngest winner of the Joan Sutherland Opera Award
  • Title latest album:¬†My Favorite Things
  • Named¬†The Unconventional Pop Star¬†by Australian media

Tour Dates and Venues:

Mirusia _Photo Karl Neilson

2015 Koningsdag (Kings Day) Celebrations in Australia

1-So what s everyone in NL up to for the last Koning

Koningsdag (Kings Day) is huge in the Netherlands on 27th April and of course Nederlanders in Australie will celebrate in orange as well!

Here is a collection of events happening around Australia in 2015.  (Updated post on 2016 coming soon!)

Please check directly with the event organisers for tickets or more information as well as any event changes.  This is not an extensive listing, if there is nothing listed below in your region, try checking with any local Dutch clubs.  Have something to add?  Please contact me or comment below.


Oranjefeest: ¬†The ORANJEFEEST MELBOURNE 2015 is on again on Friday 24th April.¬†Please join us in celebrating Dutch Kings Day.¬†We have organised for the 6th year the Oranjefeest. The night will be filled with DJ with Dutch music, bitterballen, Dutch beers and lots of orange.¬†There will be a BEST DRESSED COMPETITION so dress as Orange as you can and win an amazing Orange Hamper.¬†The first hour (8-9 pm) there will be Happy Heineken Hour with stubbies Heineken for $5 each.¬†OP=OP. ¬†More information…

KLM Dutch Orange Day: ¬†On Sunday 26th April, 2015 it‚Äôs the 11th annual KLM Dutch Orange Day in Melbourne. ¬†Whether you are Dutch or not,¬†join the Dutch community in celebrating their national holiday, King‚Äôs Day (‚ÄúKoningsdag‚ÄĚ).¬†The theme this year is¬†‚ÄúTaste of Holland‚ÄĚ.¬†The festival will showcase a wide range of Dutch culinary delights. Dutch street food on offer includes the well-known Dutch pancakes (‚Äúpoffertjes‚ÄĚ), seafood (herring, mussels and fish nuggets), traditional mash-pot dishes, pea soup, beef croquettes, cheese toasties, sweet treats and imported grocery products! More information…

Koningsnacht (Kings Night): Dutch Orange Day have teamed up with the head sponsor Bavaria Beer along with Veuve Cicquot and Pulse Radio to bring you the largest ‚ÄúKingsnight‚ÄĚ event in the Southern Hemisphere with a very special mystery guest, who we will be announced on the day.¬†The night will take you on a Royal journey filled with music from Dutch producers and DJ‚Äôs ranging from house, techno, progressive to trance.¬†This is a one-off event that you don‚Äôt want to miss and is likely to sell out beforehand! ¬†More information…


The Consulate General will be celebrating King’s Day on April 30th in the Sydney Masonic center, starting 6:00pm. There are only a few tickets left, so if you feel like bitterballen, music, and fun stands with Dutch products and activities, make sure to get your hands on them by clicking on this link!¬†You can also follow the Consulate General of The Netherlands in Sydney Facebook Page¬†for more information.


The Dutch Club Brisbane will be celebrating Kingsday (Kongingsdag) on Sunday 26th April 2015 at 123 Pine Road, Richlands from 10am-3pm.¬†Traditional Dutch games and food will be available. For more information, please email¬†There will be a ‚Äėvrijmarkt‚Äô for children (second hand market) as well ¬†starting from 10am onwards. Kids can bring their things to sell. ¬†More information….

The Down Under Bar

The day where its acceptable to wear nothing but orange and listen to dutch house and hardstyle could only mean 1 thing! Thats right! Its Koningsdag or in english the kings day at Down Under.
Down under is throwing a party in conjunction with Dutch Brisbane for all the Dutch!¬†So come on down from 6pm where we will have traditional food (Poffertjes, Kroketten and Patatjes Oorlog) and a special guest dutch DJ – Anna Somerberg – playing all the funky house and Dutch favorites! More information…

Sunshine Coast

Koningsdag 2015 will be celebrated on Sunday 26th April 2015 on Moffat Beach from 10am. ¬†Come and play traditional old Dutch games such as Sjoelen, Langlaufrace, Spijkerpoepen, Stelten open, koek happen, blikken gooien and more! ¬†There will also be a children’s clothing market. ¬†More information….


Celebrate Kings Day 2015 with ADBC:¬†Friday 1 May 2015 we will celebrate the birthday of our King Willem-Alexander at Little Creatures, Freemantle.¬†We have been able to book the Dutch DJ ‘Goldfinger’ again, so join us and let’s party!¬†Dress code: Orange.¬†When:¬†8 pm – midnight, Friday 1st¬†of May 2015. ¬†More information…


Celebrations begin at 10 am on Saturday 2 May 2015. It will be a fantastic, busy festival for all ages. It will continue well into the night with an amazing Oompah pah band from Sydney at the Harmonie German Club, Narrabundah.¬†Entry to the event is free! Enjoy the traditional flea market and Dutch games, cultural displays and great prizes with lots of Dutch food stalls. ¬†More information…


Dutch SA are hosting a 2015 Koningsdag (Kings Day) Borrel on Monday 27th April from 6pm-8pm at the Belgian Beer Cafe Oostende.  At 7.15pm, there will be a consular update by the Honorary Consul Willem Ouwens, followed by a formal toast to Koning Willem Alexander.  Stay and dine afterwards?  Please pre book your table.  Visit Dutch SA for more information.


Kingsday is coming around fast! Let’s all catch up during our yearly bbq at Easpoint. On Wednesday the 29th of April at 5.30pm at the public bbq near the military museum.¬†See you there!¬†The Dutchies in Darwin Facebook Page has more information…

Do you know about a Koningsdag event happening in Australia that isn’t listed here? ¬†Please comment below!


2015 Oranjefeest Dutch Kings Day Festival Melbourne

Oranjefest Melbourne
The ORANJEFEEST MELBOURNE 2015 is on again. Please join us in celebrating Dutch Kings Day.
We have organised for the 6th year the Oranjefeest. The night will be filled with DJ with Dutch music, bitterballen, Dutch beers and lots of orange.
There will be a BEST DRESSED COMPETITION so dress as Orange as you can and win an amazing Orange Hamper.
The first hour (8-9 pm) there will be Happy Heineken Hour with stubbies Heineken for $5 each. OP=OP.
Time & Date:
FRIDAY 24th of April, 8 pm ‚Äď 1 am
Ormond Hall, St Kilda (behind The Village Melbourne, former the Belgian Beer Cafe on St Kilda Road)
Ticket price: 
EARLY BIRD FEE (6 March ‚Äď 6 April) $12.50 pp
(max 8 tickets per booking)
NORMAL TICKET FEE (7 April ‚Äď 24 April) $15.00 pp
(max 8 tickets per booking)
For bookings go to
The Dutch Ladies, Manita & Petra
Oranjefeest Melbourne


2015 Rotterdam Expat Fair

rotterdam expat fair

On 7 February 2015, I took part in the first Rotterdam Expat Fair, which was designed to help internationals build a Home away from Home in Rotterdam.

Based on my experiences moving from Australia to The Netherlands (and back again – twice!), I gave a presentation on Building Your Network in The Netherlands.

I have written a much more detailed blog post over on my Zestee website: 2015 Rotterdam Expat Fair Event Highlights.

You can find out more about the Fair on their website here:

Rotterdam is a city that I’ve spent very little time in, even though it’s fairly close to where I now live in Ypenburg, The Hague. ¬†I collected some brochures from Rotterdam Info¬†and may have to do a day trip soon I think. ¬†I’d particularly like to see the new market hall.

Visit Rotterdam

Below is a video slide show with photos of the day:

Have you lived in Rotterdam?  Considering moving there?  Would love your thoughts on the city in a comment below!