Australia celebrates Dutch ties
18 January 2006, AMSTERDAM — Australia, the land first put on the map by Dutch explorers, has opened a year of celebrations to mark the 400-year history between the two countries.
18 January 2006
AMSTERDAM — Australia, the land first put on the map by Dutch explorers, has opened a year of celebrations to mark the 400-year history between the two countries.
Australian Ambassador Stephen Brady outlined the jubilee events for the year during a press launch in the 'Des Indes' hotel in The Hague.
The countries have been linked since the Dutch East Indies vessel 'Duyfken' sailed from the port of Batavia (now the Indonesian capital Jakarta) 4 centuries ago to map out the unknown territory south of the Dutch Indies.
The official launch of the jubilee takes place in the Ridderzaal hall at the parliament buildings in The Hague on 30 January.
Prominent political figures attending include Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer. Dutch and Australian sports stars have also been invited.
"We would have liked to have Ian Thorpe, our swimming champion and the biggest rival to Pieter van den Hoogenband (Netherlands)," Ambassador Brady said. "But he has an important contest on that day. We have arranged a video link so he can have a talk with Van den Hoogenband".
Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and his wife, Princess Maxima, will represent the Dutch royal house on 30 January. They will also make an official visit to Australia this year, as will Balkenende.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news