The Weekend: National Multicultural Festival

by The Editor

The temporary stalls have been under construction for a number of weeks now.  Come Friday night City Walk, Garema Place and the Theatre forecourt will be jam-packed with revellers making the absolute most of a warm summer’s night, singing, dancing, food and drinks and all that we’ve come to love of the National Multicultural Festival.

It really is one of the most fun weekends of the year.

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This is the Dutch flag

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This year though, rather than loitering around the Eastern European tents in a binge of dedicated beer research, we’ve decided to stride across the continent into the Lowlands.  We’re most excited indeed to get behind the Dutch.

Located just outside Medicare (up from the Canberra Centre Fountain on Ainslie Avenue towards London Circuit) the Dutch tent promises all that’s good in Dutch culture.  Here is the good word direct from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands:

As previous years, the young and the young at heart will have the opportunity to catch up on their skills in ‘sjoelen’, a traditional Dutch game in which wooden disks will need to be slid across a wooden box in order to get them into the right slots. Experience shows that many get very competitive in this old but fun game.

Furthermore, visitors can travel back to the days of the ‘boerenkiel’ (a loose coat or frock – Ed) and ‘klederdracht’ (traditional costume? – Ed) : they can have their photos taken in traditional Dutch attire, by means of a cardboard cut-out.

This year’s highlight of the Dutch representation at the Festival will be the performance of the Dutch Folkdancing group from Sydney. This group, who originally consisted of Dutch immigrants who arrived in Australia in the early 50s, have been performing for many years, and are thereby keeping Dutch traditional culture alive all over Australia.

Indeed.  In fact, here are some of the dancers in action:

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They’ll be on Stage 3 (The Akuna Stage) from 1.35 – 1.55pm on Saturday.

What more could you want?  Well, if you’re hungry, why not try Poffertjes Dutch Pancakes just near Subway.  To work up an appetite, feed upon these Dutch facts sourced from

  • one quarter of the Netherlands is below sea level
  • the Dutch are the tallest people in Europe
  • Amsterdam is entirely built on piles
  • almost every Dutch person has a bicycle and there are twice as many bikes as cars
  • people in Holland eat raw herring with onions on top
  • about 30% of all Dutch babies are born at home
  • the Netherlands’ highest point is 323 metres high and is therefore called a ” mountain”
  • you’ll find a bunch of flowers in almost every Dutch living room
  • after Scandinavians, the Dutch are the world’s biggest coffee drinkers
  • Amsterdam has 1,281 bridges

As fun as all this sounds, this represents only one country’s efforts over the weekend.  There is an extraordinary amount to see, learn and taste.  Whether attending the day session or partying on at night, this marvellous event offers something for all Canberrans regardless of age, culture or interest.

Long may this event continue.

National Multicultural Festival website

Kingdom of the Netherlands Embassy Canberra