With an official opening by Australian Ambassador Dr. Greg French and State Archivist Afelonne Doek, the temporary exhibition People Movement Stories has been opened in the Netherlands National Archives in The Hague.
In the exhibition, twelve people tell the story of their migration to Australia and the Netherlands, about their motivations, about the journey and reception in their new home. The visitor discovers more about the migration movements between the two countries that have changed in recent years and how migrants reshaped their lives after arrival. People Movement Stories connects that story with films, photos and the migration registers kept by the Dutch government.
These registers were actually discovered by chance by researcher Marijke van Faassen of the Huygens Institute, which plays an important role in the content of the exhibition. She found the migration cards in metal boxes in the basements of the Dutch consulate in Canberra. After the termination of the bilateral emigration program, the administration was no longer necessary. It turned out to be a rich source of information about those migrants: names, dates and places of birth, but also how they fared in the country of arrival.
The success stories could be used for bilateral migration policy and the promotion of migration to Australia. That campaign material is in the Australian archives. The migration maps are now kept at the National Archives in The Hague.
The opening of the exhibition marks the kick-off of expanding the website www.migrant.huygens.knaw.nl
with five new stories and digitised collections from the National Archives Australia and the National Archives the Netherlands.
Within the International Heritage Cooperation Program, the National Archives is working with the National Archives Australia to digitise these archives and make them accessible online. With the Migrant, Mobilities and Connection (MIGRANT) project, the Huygens Institute is developing methods to digitally connect these scattered migrant collections.
People Movement Stories was created to commemorate eighty years of diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and Australia. She was previously seen in Perth, Australia. The exhibition was made financially possible by the Australian Embassy in The Hague and the Dutch Embassy in Canberra.
The exhibition is freely accessible and can be visited until February 2, 2024 from Tuesday to Friday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. in the public centre of the National Archives.