The DIMEX (1) Project undertaken by the volunteers of the DACC in 2004, covering: main reasons for emigration; % house ownership, % naturalised, when and why; membership of clubs; active in Dutch community work; church affiliations; when did the post-war migrants of the 1950s and 1960s leave Holland why; and how did they travel, etc. (altogether 23 questions, 1950 questionnaires distributed, 307 responses). The research was made possible by a major grant provided by the industrialist Gijs Kommer. In 2011 further work was done with the material by DACC staff to make it more available digitally. Additional work was done in 2018 by gathering information about post 1990s Dutch migrants (DIMEX 2), a much smaller number. The later migrants were motivated by different reasons, often spoke English reasonably well, had higher expectations, and often good educational qualifications as well. They arrived in a different Australia as compared to the 1950s. Multiculturalism had become a mostly positive reality of life. Several had travelled in Australia as tourist before deciding to migrate.
The earlier DIMEX research shows that the early Post-War Dutch migrants found work in a very wide variety of jobs. Many have had two or three careers, in different branches of industry, showing great adaptability to changing circumstances.
What the research does not show is why many of the immediate Post War migrants returned to the Netherlands. By the beginning of the 1970s approximately one third of the Dutch Post War migrants had returned to the Netherlands, apparently one the highest return rates of European migrants. Their views are not included here. A number of reasons have been suggested for this trend: Economic recovery in the Netherlands/Europe, lack of recognition of Dutch trade and other qualifications, disappointment by some women with what was experienced as lack of social acceptance as migrants, and the gradually disappearing threat of a third World War. No research has been undertaken by DACC but awareness of this reality colours the findings of course and should be kept in mind.
The research also does not show the experiences of Dutch expats, that is people of Dutch nationality who are employed by mostly Dutch multi-national companies, a growing number probably. These are people who are employed on a contractual basis in Australia. They are here temporarily. Request to the Embassy to provide details of their number suggest that these are not kept apparently. We know many of these people and some of us are members of Clubs they have formed, for instance Dutch Link. Some actually do become migrants and stay in Australia with their families. It would be interesting to find out what percentage of expats actually decided to stay in Australia.
Below are the results of the survey.