Posted by Hakim Gassiep on Mar 29, 2019
The Holland Festival,like so many ethnic- based festivals throughout Australia, is a tribute to the rich cultural heritages of the respective groups. It is also a tribute to the rich harmonious multi-cultural fabric of a forward- looking open society.
The Holland Festival,like so many ethnic- based festivals throughout Australia, is a tribute to the rich cultural heritages of the respective groups. It is also a tribute to the rich harmonious multi-cultural fabric of a forward- looking open society.

THF, like the Greek festival, and the Eid Festival, is symbolic of the tolerance and inclusiveness of a healthy and constantly evolving Australian democracy. THF this year was characterised by a relaxed atmosphere , facilitated by THF team, ably led by the veteran of Holland Festivals -  Casey Rtn. Paul Rubens and his indefatigable assistant Casey Rtn Trisha Portbury. They were supported by a host of volunteers from a broad spectrum of the local communities, and enthusiastic Rotaracters led by Ben Hill. A great entertainment program was organised by PDG Lynne Westland.

There was something for everybody, from rides for the bouncy and excited kids, to Sjoolbak  ( a popular Dutch board game) for enthusiasts. Although the ambience was distinctly Dutch, many other interesting stalls were also tolerated : the alpacas, the canines and the  equines  were there too, to enthrall and entertain.

The indoor displays of Dutch books, ornaments, history and other paraphernalia was a treat and the Dutch costume display was brought to life by people in traditional Dutch costumes roaming the area. (there is somewhere a photo of Trish and such a couple - Barry - please forward to Janne)

The festive atmosphere was enhanced by the aroma of various Dutch foods,snacks and delicacies, and the restauarant  area was a hive of conviviality - a most appropriate setting where Rtns. Dennis Heslin, Barry Erlenwein and I hosted for lunch (Dutch food of course) our major sponsor and fellow-Rotarians John and Judy Berends .

The senses were treated to a mixture of tempting aromas, the background music and singing of a soothing program and the reassuring hum of excited and happy social chatter. The smooth unfolding of the event belied the intense and rigorous behind-the-scenes input of volunteers Rtns. Ian Donald, Ritesh Prasad,Margaret Heslin, DPDG Dennis Heslin, Malcolm Kennedy,Trevor Rebello and many more who will be thanked again in another forum

It was the totality of the above that reflected the true nature of Australian society, which is one that encourages a tolerance of difference and diversity, such that the "other" is not dangerous because different; one that encourages each "other" to mingle in such festivities to discover our common humanity, to get to know each"other" in order to strengthen the bonds of our common humanity.

The cooperation and teamwork displayed during the months of preparation is a credit to all involved and a reflection of the Rotarian spirit of teamwork and the Rotarian credo of ' Sevice above self". I have been honored to have been a part  of this event and look forward to what Paul Rubens - the Event Manager had promised for this Festival  ie " Bigger. Better, and More".He certainly delivered.
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