Founded in 1978

We are open every Wednesday from 10am till 1pm and every Friday from 3.30pm till 8.30pm.

Our Club is run purely by volunteers, from the barman to the cleaner, the chef and the gardener.

The Club has several interest groups: Klaverjassers and  Scrabblers. It’s a friendly place to meet friends and… no noise from poker machines, as we don’t have any.

We also have a well-stocked shop with lots of Dutch goodies. Dutch licorice, yum, there’s nothing like it!

So why not pop in on a Friday and enjoy a traditional Dutch meal, such as boerekool or hutspot, or just enjoy a cup of coffee or a drink in our relaxing friendly atmosphere.

The following business days & times will be at our new premises Mt Druitt old cinema hall. Mt Druitt Rd. Mt Druitt

Every Wednesday from 10am – 1pm coffee and cake time.

Klaverjas players are welcome to join and the game starts at 10am

Bring your craft work and relax.

Bring a board game and a few friends to compete.

The mobile lolly shop will be there every Friday from 3.30 – 8.30 pm

Kitchen is open for krokets and more.

Dutch goodies are available from the shop

Video: Rembrandt Club op het Holland Festival 2014

How it all started.

Early in 1978 when we were living in Hoxton Park our friend Frans Klaassen visited us. He was very excited about the fact that a group of friends were starting a new Dutch club.

Q; New? What’s wrong with the existing one ‘Wilhelmina’?

A; It was the fact that there were poker machines installed and a group of members was totally against gambling.

Q; So, if this new club you are starting does something you don’t agree with, will you be starting another club again??

A; No, no, no, it is the gambling we are against. It will be in the constitution of the new club that this is not ever allowed to happen.

We, Jan and I (president ) were thinking hard about this answer and left it up to the original group to start the Rembrandt Dutch Club how they wanted it. We did however become members.

The Foundation members were; K & J Dooms, N & B Boersma, J & A Geluk, J & W Grabijn, W Holmes, F Klaassen, H & A Klijmij, G Langenberg, A & L Maasland, P & B Maasland, W & I Matzer, W & I Matzer jnr, L Pennings and G van Bergen.

While writing this I also like to reminisce about the Wilhelmina Club. We migrated in 1971 which was well after the Wilhelmina Club settled in Auburn. It was a ‘gezellige’ club. That is where I met Beppie Boersma during one visit, when we managed to get a baby sitter, and Jan and my Dad, who was here on holidays played billiards. Beppie showed me the card game Solitaire. We became friends with many club goers. One day there was a family night with a singing contest. The Sunrise Choir was also involved. Our 5 year old daughter sang; De Speeltuin. She won a club-souvenir spoon.

Then one day the Wilhelmina Club moved to Rooty Hill, to the old Rooty Hill RSL Club building. Jan helped with the move. (Years later a young man visiting the Rembrandt Club recognised Jan and said: I remember you helped my Opa with moving Wilhelmina. That was a grandson of Koos(je) Dooms.) We visited Wilhelmina in Rooty Hill a few times. The board tried to improve the club, but the noise of the poker machines overruled. We went to our very first Sinterklaas party with friends and children. Sinterklaas arrived by train and his horse was waiting for him. Everyone walked from Rooty Hill station to the club. There were people dressed in Dutch Folkloric outfits. It was all very exciting, especially for the little people. And now we are back to where we started. Decisions were made. Rembrandt was born. The first couple of years the club was at Lee Holm Drive on the other side of Dunheved Industrial Park. The Pennings Brothers rented us (Rembrandt) a unit to help out. The inside of the unit was dressed up with huge paintings of Dutch sceneries, framed and covered with curtains. It was like looking out into the Dutch streets and fields of flowers. The coffee was free for visitors and there was almost always a person playing the piano. This was an excellent meeting place.

The inside of the building at Dunheved Circuit was looking good. The bar and the stage were built with Dutch tradesman-ship. On the outside a couple of beautifully painted signs decorated the front.

Slowly but surely concrete slabs were being poured. One of the committee members had an acquaintance in the concrete business. The deal was; every time they were stuck with a decent load the club would take it at a fair discount. Over the years this was where our “Dutch-ness” would shine. There is no business like dealing with the Dutchies. By now people might wonder how the picture of the NIGHTWATCH ended up on the wall. One of our members went for a holiday overseas and brought it back. The picture was printed in panels like wallpaper. No shortage of wall hangers in this club either. It has always been the most famous wall of all.

The cleaning of the building was done on Tuesday mornings by a small group of volunteers. The idea came up to sell some Dutch goodies. To start with, there was a draw in a filing cabinet standing in the kitchen. The lady looking after it then had no drivers licence so sometimes, I took her to the Dutch shop. Members would have to ask if there was anything available on Friday. It was mainly biscuits. Later there was liquorice and jars of vegies and one drawer was not big enough.

A pool table was put in the little side room, later known as the choir room. If there was an event when children were allowed to join, they could play pool. In the early years young children were not welcome on Friday night. Our son was not old enough to stay home by himself, so we made him comfortable in the car and he could sleep while we would go inside the building. We were not the only ones to do this. The kids were safe, sleeping in the car on the side parking of the building. The only thing was, he would wake up as soon as the car stopped, and we would have to go for another ride around the block. During dance nights there’d be typical Dutch food prepared by the ladies in the kitchen. There was also a ‘special event’ when the members were asked to cook a dish and would be reimbursed for the cost. It was a buffet feast with many dishes from international cuisine,since some ladies were not Dutch at all. Most dishes were donated to the club. It was a fundraiser with a difference. Call it a ‘Tasty’ one. The Christmas dinners/buffets would also be set up in the little side room. The pool table covered and decorated was an excellent serving table.

On Friday nights there was always fresh coffee and bread rolls. Slowly but surely the krokets and bitterballen became famous, because there was no other Dutch Club in St Marys. Few people know that these goodies were actually manufactured in St Marys. A family business that had the same business in Limburg. The same person manufacturing krokets and fricandellen then is still doing this today. However, the business has changed owners a few years ago.

Back in 1985 my first trip back home. Our 2 youngest came with me. Tradition in my family circle was; one night every week the ladies come together to catch up while ironing, doing any craft or just enjoying coffee and a drink after. Daughter Petra was only 16 at the time and enjoyed these evenings with her aunties. When we came home it was decided to start this to and name it the same as in Holland; TRUTTE AVOND. The Dutch ladies reading this would at this moment just smile or go OMG. After a few months of these nights we came up with the idea of ‘doing something productive’. So, we practiced some songs and decided to perform at the Sunrise Christmas party, as well as the Rembrandt Dutch Club. We made all the costumes our self. This was the start of many entertainment nights. Together with my sister in law we imitated the Alpen zusjes. It all started as a joke, but after some practice people actually believed that we were the singing artists. We had a TV crew from Holland at the club ones, to do a write up about the Rembrandt Club and film some moments. There was some good fun to be had.

Petra decided that she would like to go back to Holland for a year. The deal was; go in the NSW Holland Festival quest and raise enough money to win. The decision was made for the 1987 Festival and we had a family night at the Club. Every person paid $10.00 entry fee and received 10 tickets in the lottery. During the night there were more tickets sold. This was the first of many Holland Festival quest nights. For entertainment we organise a ‘commercial’ show and an ‘out of tune’ singing contest. The funniest commercial was the one about that wine CARTE D’OR, famous on TV at that time. On the floor was a customer (Beppie Boersma) sitting at a table asking the steward (Wayne Clemens) for a bottle of wine. The Steward asks: What brand would you like? And the customer says: Cart’door. The Steward is confused and keeps asking of she is absolutely sure about that. Yes!!!! So, he goes out and comes back with a car door. (This car door was on loan from a detailer). The out of tune contest was complete with judges. The contestant with the lowest points result would win. There were some good (bad) singers. I really wanted to win this contest and did my best playing guitar and singing the Italian song Quan do Quan do Quan do. With the guitar out of tune there was no way of singing properly. Yes, I did win with a below zero score.

After Petra won the Festival quest, I wanted to do some more good work so the Heart Foundation was my choice. Again the Club opened the doors to a good course. This time it would be professional entertainment. The aim was to organise a “Pot of Gold” night. I wonder how many members remember this night. Looking for a jury panel was easy. Bernard King was replaced by Johan Wewer and of course he was our main man on the panel. To get some good artists together Petra and I went to Studio B in Sydney. There were artists of any kind and after explaining my Heart Foundation event they were all keen to perform for free. However, Petra and I had to sing for them. We picked this one; Take me home country road, but with these words. TAKE ME HOME POT HOLE ROAD. TO THE PLACE I COME FROM. WESTERN SYDNEY, BLUE MOUNTAINS. TAKE ME HOME POTHOLE ROAD. They had a chuckle about this alright. On the night the entry money went to the heart Foundation. Every guest would bring a cake. We sold coffee and cake galore. This was my main event and took me to the Heart Foundation final. I didn’t win but won new Club members.

See also: Rembrandt Male Choir St Marys

The following text is from a booklet published by the Federation of Netherlands Societies Ltd. in February 1985. The research for this booklet was done by Mijntje Hagen.